Adapting Integration Approach and Network Provider Organization

One aspect that will likely influence a network provider's approach to management integration is how its operations organization is set up. The larger the network that needs to be managed, the more important it becomes how the organization that is responsible for managing the network is structured. After all, the management organization itself is an important part of how networks are managed; hence, integrated management does not stop at the technical infrastructure but needs to take the organizational dimension into account as well. In addition, because the management infrastructure is supposed to support the organization in the most effective manner possible, the way the organization is set up profoundly impacts the integration that needs to occur for the systems and applications that make up the management infrastructure.

The questions that need to be answered when setting up a management organization to run a network are very similar to the questions that concern technical issues. For example, should management be organized primarily along function, with one group responsible for equipment deployment and provisioning, another for network planning, and a third for monitoring and maintaining the network? Or would an alternative organization be preferable that revolves around network technologies, with one group responsible for the time-division multiplexing (TDM) voice network, a second for access networks, and a third for the IP and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) core? Figure 10-10 depicts a matrix of functions that have to be supported for a fictitious network provider organization.

Figure 10-10 A Roles and Responsibilities Matrix for a Fictitious Network Provider

T1 and DSL Cable Core Data +VPN Mobile Access Access Services Voice

Operations/ Monitoring

Provisioning Planning

Different network providers might answer these questions differently. Regardless of what particular organization results, a couple rules should be observed:

■ It needs to be clear who is responsible for what. Accountability must be as clear as possible; otherwise, the ability to react appropriately during times of crises will be jeopardized. Situations must be avoided in which different groups point fingers at each other, each claiming that it is not responsible for problems that have arisen.

■ The number of interactions and interdependencies between groups should be minimized. When trying to divide the overall task of running a network, the division that results in the greatest independence among the resulting pieces generally is preferable. The fewer interdependencies exist, the more robust the overall organization will be against failures in particular functions, and the more efficient it will turn out to be.

Figure 10-11 depicts this principle in a simplified manner as a graph optimization problem: Assume a network provider organization with different functions and interdependencies, depicted as a graph on the left side of the diagram. The organization decides to split network operations across two groups, each of which is to be responsible for roughly the same number of functions. Two possibilities to organize are depicted as organizational cuts A and B, respectively. Cut A is clearly preferable over cut B because it involves fewer interdependencies.

Figure 10-11 Approaching Reduction of Organizational Interdependencies from Graph Theory

Figure 10-11 depicts this principle in a simplified manner as a graph optimization problem: Assume a network provider organization with different functions and interdependencies, depicted as a graph on the left side of the diagram. The organization decides to split network operations across two groups, each of which is to be responsible for roughly the same number of functions. Two possibilities to organize are depicted as organizational cuts A and B, respectively. Cut A is clearly preferable over cut B because it involves fewer interdependencies.

Organizational Cut A

Organizational Cut B

Functions and Interdependencies

Organizational Cut A

Organizational Cut B

■ Where dependencies between different groups exist, processes need to be clearly defined that define the "rules of engagement" between the groups. Those processes need to be accompanied by clear communication paths. As in the case of establishing who is responsible for what, this increases accountability and reduces the chance of finger pointing.

Regardless of the particular way in which the network provider organization is structured, integration of the technical management infrastructure should go hand in hand with it. The management infrastructure needs to support the network provider organization in the best way possible and, to a certain degree, reflects its structure. To this end, Figures 10-12 and 10-13 depict two alternative organizations to support the roles and responsibilities matrix from Figure 10-10; one is organized along support function, the other along supported services and technology. Note in each case the differences in terms of operational support infrastructure.

Figure 10-12 Organization and Operations Support Infrastructure Along Functional Lines

Figure 10-12 Organization and Operations Support Infrastructure Along Functional Lines

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