Managing the Network or Managing the NMS

managing Latin AmericaI was recently in Latin America meeting with a division of a very large manufacturing company.  They were interest in what Entuity had to offer, though they already had a competitor’s technology in place.  The conversation was intended to focus on functionality: “they can do this, can you do this? What can you do that they don’t”, etc.  At the enterprise level, there is lots to talk about here.

In order for me to understand the frame of reference, I asked them to describe to me their environment – how big is their network, which vendors equipment is in use, the overall topology, which management technology is in use now, and how large the IT and network operations teams are.

Professional courtesy prevents me from naming the competitor they were using, but there aren’t many enterprise class solutions, so you CAn probably guess who one of the CAndidates might be.

They told me that this division’s network was about 12,000 devices big, and that they had 100 people in the network support group.  Now, I don’t speak Spanish or Portuguese, but their English was very good, so I was sure something was misunderstood.  The conversation proceeded like this:

Me: “So, you have 100 people in IT.  How many are in the network operations group?”

Them: “No, there are 100 people in network operations.”

Me: “Really?  What are those 100 people doing?!”

Them: “Keeping the network tool running, and then fixing problems on the network once we find them.”

Me: “I’m sorry but I’m still confused.  How many people are keeping the network tool running, and how many are fixing problems?”

Them: “We have 10 people dedicated to the tool, and 90 for in-field issues.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but I must really not be understanding.  You have TEN people just keeping the tool up and running?  On a 12,000 device network?!  This sounds really strange to me.  We have many customers – enterprises and MSPs – with networks of 10,000, 20,000 devices or more, and this number to me sounds crazy.”

Them: “Well, Mr. Jannery, how many people would a typical 12,000-device Entuity customer need to run ENTUITY managing their network?”

Me: “One.  Sometimes part-time.”

This trumped the functionality discussion.  They are piloting our software now.

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