In this blog series we previously gave an introduction about NOC services and the related operational and financial benefits. This new and final blog post in this series deals with the question which type of outsourced NOC is best suited for most organizations.
When companies choose a NOC, they also have to decide which delivery model to choose (outsource or not). What are the main characteristics of the different delivery models and what are the benefits for organizations that choose an outsourced NOC?
We usually distinguish between 4 types of NOC, which differ in the degree of ownership an organization that uses the services of the NOC has. These 4 types are the inhouse NOC, the on demand NOC, the co-managed NOC and the outsourced NOC.
The inhouse NOC is the most straightforward NOC model. An organization in this case builds its own NOC, within its own walls, to monitor its own IT infrastructure. An official is appointed that is responsible for all things NOC, ranging from recruiting the right employees to man the NOC to taking care of training, tooling, processes, certifications, growth opportunities, business continuity, the business case and all other relevant aspects of a NOC. This officer then has full control over the ins and outs of the NOC. For most organizations, this type of NOC requires too much from company resources to be a feasible option.
On demand NOC
In this scenario, an organization also runs its own facility for monitoring infrastructure. This can be done through an existing team of infrastructure specialists/engineers or a inhouse NOC. For specific situations a provision has been made with an external service provider for NOC services. These specific situations can vary greatly from, for example, daily from 18:00 hours to 09:00 hours, or at weekends, or when there is a great deal of traffic or during the peak season. The external supplier and the internal team coordinate the processes and have paid sufficient attention to shift transfers.
In this is a variant a third party operator and an internal team work together to make the infrastructure work under all circumstances. Both parties devote time and attention to creating procedures so that it is clear who is responsible for monitoring and troubleshooting the network, for what purpose and at what time. Matters such as mandating, processes and liability are important points of attention in the co-managed variant.
The outsourced NOC is completely managed by a third party that is responsible for the complete monitoring, maintenance and incident response the NOC provides. The critical success factor is a clear description of objectives, SLA, KPIs, work processes, reports and communication protocols. Although this form of delivery offers the most flexibility and all the benefits that have been worked out earlier in this series, it is particularly important to think carefully (preferably thinking ahead) about what exactly an organization wants to achieve. Whether or not you opt for outsourcing: a problem remains a problem. So select a supplier who will act as a partner with genuine commitment to your organisation. A good collaboration starts even before the implementation.
Outsourced NOC is most flexible
When weighing the delivery models described above, the factors cost, personnel and operations play an important role. The financial and operational advantages of an outsourced NOC have also been discussed in other blogs. I would now like to make a plea for the aspect of flexibility. Of the models described earlier, the outsourced NOC model provides the most flexibility.
An outsourced NOC, or an NOC as a Service (NaaS), gives the possibility to flexibly tailor NOC support to the needs of the organization. This flexibility may be needed on the basis of short-term fluctuations (seasonalities). An example of this can be a temporary increased monitoring during periods when the organization experiences peaks in primary processes.
An example may be the peaks ecommerce platforms during the holiday season, or peaks in travellers at airports during vacation time. But flexibility can also be desirable because of medium- to long-term fluctuations. Think of an organization that goes from start-up to scale-up. Or a changed business model in which the focus shifts to the core business with divestment of support functions.
In all these and many other cases, an outsourced, professional NOC as a Service (NaaS) may offer a better solution than one of the other three forms. In these times of market dynamics, rapidly changing customer needs and the need for an organization to respond to them, it is still a safe feeling that the monitoring of the infrastructure grows along with the needs. In this way, organizations have one less worry and can focus all their time and attention on accelerating the excellence of their own core business.