|To Purchase Thawte certificates click above|| 'Plan, Plan, Plan – Train hard, expect the worst and you’ll be surprised at how you grow and what one's team can achieve.’ |
B. Mc Mahon
|Data Centre/Site Builds & managed site moves: | concentrate of generating revenue from its core business without multiple distractions from disparate project management. Understanding the full requirements of management & the business in terms of the project scope; providing input based on experience to strengthen choices and options.
Engaging of Fourspiral partners to form a virtual turnkey project team to deliver key services and infrastructure:
1. Sourcing a suitability of new building.
2. Negotiate terms and conditions of Lease to suit you.
3. Design & agree project schedule of works, milestones & resources to achieve on target, to budget delivery.
4. Overseeing of each technical element of project delivery: summarized below:
• Data-centre design
• Electrical/UPS & Genset design
• Air Conditioning requirements & failover
• Local and Wide area circuit/cabling commissions
• Physical & Logical Security design
• Alarm and CCTV installations
• Server room Rack Layout and user-base layout
• Commissioning of Voice systems
• Fire detection & suppressant system design for data centres
• Fire & safety compliance certificate liaison
• Facilities monitoring and remote alerting
5. Liaison and interface with all third party vendors responsible for power, data and voice lines into new facility.
6. Secure & controlled move of all server and communication equipment from legacy location to new site.
7. Commissioning of equipment at new site or in a parallel bring up of new equipment from phased services cutover from legacy location to new. Controlled & precise redirect of key WAN, internet, e-mail and voice traffic, scripted call flow for move.
8. Contingent planning for staff, machines, communication & service failures during period of move.
9. Desktop and specialist support for user-base at new site to ensure that education and briefing of all staff in new location.
10. Follow through for 1 month after project to resolve minor system related snags.
11. Specialist induction for support staff on new site and mentoring a period of 3-4 weeks where required to ramp productivity.
12. Ensuring Total Quality management at each phase
Technical/Support Team, optimization & motivation Fourspiral staff have decades of experience in setting up, training, working in and managing support teams in complex enterprise environments. Our approach is to intensely mentor teams for short periods to allow themselves to palpably raise the level of professionalism in an enterprise which they support.
There is no prescribed formula, each environment is unique, however, what is common to great support teams is dogged professional pride in support excellence. Changing the perception and winning the respect of a user-base is not easy – but it can be done.
Fundamental to all levels of support is to try one’s utmost to resolve the cause of a user’s problem with a single touch and not frustrate the individual with multiple repeat visits that address only the problem symptoms.
Pre-requisites for working well within a Support environment All of the following are required for a well oiled support environment:
Staff, who are challenged, growing and have an endemic passion for what they do and what they can aspire achieving to up the support chain.
Technical Knowledge and –e-documentation of your environment and its workings
Procedures and policies (but not so the spirit is stifled)
Support staff must gain the trust & respect of the user-base in the environment
Outstanding Inter Team/department interaction & liaison for problem handling
Cover for individuals and even team level where one team may relive another.
Give people a chance to better and prove themselves for more senior roles: maintain the experience and promote staff from within the support team where possible.
The importance of theses points increases exponentially with the levels of stress experienced on a daily basis. Support Requisites from a staff/management perspective
A passion for one’s subject / area of expertise
What sets the great support staff that you know apart from the average?
Easy – 3 attributes:
Coolness under Pressure
The speed and urgency with which they operate
A passion for people and their job
& an intellectual and emotional stubbornness to wrestle with a problem to determine not only the fix but a failsafe resolution to the future that addresses the root cause.
An ability to stay cool under intense technical and business pressure – this is easier said than done – this comes from cultivating the following attributes:
• Experience (very little substitute for this)
• Knowledge of your subject
• In depth Knowledge of your (and your clients’ environments)
• Creative work around (lash ups): Adapt, overcome obstacles Coolness comes from the knowledge of one’s subject, a calmness within one’s self, the ability to wrest control of a difficult situation and problem form a demanding client (either external or internal clients) and most importantly engender confidence in the client that you are doing your level (professional) best in order to resolve the issue.
The most impressive support engineers I know are the one’s who get even cooler as more pressure is applied (gained only through raw experience). They view a problem as an intellectual challenge to resolved and not an emotional crisis where you have introspective self doubts. Younger engineers and support staff need to push through these pains and by using logic, undisputable fats and the grey matter that God gave you learn for stressful response incidents. Pattern awareness and analysis (with a technical environment) is something that is very often missed as a core element in catching reoccurring side affects on a server or network/network core… paying attention to detail can give you the invaluable clues to tracing intermittent problems..
Custom Network & environment monitoring logging and alerting tools are crucial to pattern identification.
Expectation management is crucial to keeping customers happy (and managing relationships) – in my experience 90% of customers are happy if they know exactly what the problem is and (roughly) When it can be fixed.
IF YOU DO NOT know when it can be fixed – then be absolutely honest to the client about this – the worst he can do is shout at you (but then again he is probably doing that anyway). ‘Smile at the customers and users – you’ll be surprised how many will smile back despite being frustrated with a technical problem. Team Selection, Happiness & Motivation This is a fundamental part of a technical (or any other) manager’s job: – Fourspiral’s contention is: the more robust (and content) the individuals are in a team the more likely they are handle unusual and difficult problems without too much pain to them, your customers, you as a manager or ultimately for the business. At 2nd and 3rd levels of support specialised individuals perform better when they are given the scope to flourish and to think and act with their own mandate. This clearly requires that engineer’s and staff demonstrate that they can be trusted fully and are wholly responsible for their actions. Nothing will stagnate a talented individual more constricting him or her to watching alert screens all day long – offer progression for those clearly want to and show potential and drive to progress to higher levels Listen carefully to your staff – their expertise and unwritten knowledge is your business -
Especially is Business continuity sense . (No matter how good you DR plan is your staff are fundamental to growth … they need to be properly incentivised or one day you will find technical mediocrity prevails under your company’s roof. Have rotational policies in place for the positions highest stress levels. These rotational policies are great for cross polarization of skill bases between core teams – they serve also to rest and rejuvenate your key staff - ‘ a change is as good as a rest’.
Seconding key staff to project environments around these helps to keep people’s minds fresh and is of key importance to the business. Very often these key staff can be invaluable in a Business Continuity team as their knowledge of a network and how to work quickly around problems can save the company serious money in a contingent situation. Fourspiral can evaluate your current environment from a clear, uninvolved perspective, work with your staff and managers to put a definite and unambiguous plans in place to improve efficiency, morale, customer satisfaction, call resolution times and staff role definitions. We can periodically return to site to assess progress and oversee achievements.
Location – Netherlands Europe
Company: Intrum Justitia BV www.intrum.com
Project Description : Design, Build, of New Network Operating Centre In Den Haag, Netherlands.
Move of all Server & communications equipment from Amsterdam to Den Haag
Objective: Achieved - 1 hour down time for all centralised Group IT services within the group
Description: The brief was to entirely redesign and build an enterprise class data centre to house key group services in a centralised form at the heart of the IJ wide area network.
The project scope included data cabling, air-conditioning, provision of UPS, protected power ring, installation of racks, servers, layer 2 and layer 3 technology, entire remodelling of frame relay to MPLS network core, the movement of the regional service desk and upgraded internet bandwidth provision.
Result: Delivery was achieved on target on budget with no impact to any of the operational services.
Description: The brief was to entirely redesign and build an enterprise class data centre and location for the growing staff and business. Negotiate lease contracts, and own program from inception to completion.
Location – Cape Town RSA
Company: Thawte Consulting www.thawte.com
Project Description : Move the entire business from old premises no longer suited to an world class and rapidly growing (worlds 2nd largest) Certificate Authority.
Objective: Parallel bring up of new site and phased machine and equipment move no downtime for core business. Move of all staff equipment and bring up of userbase in their new departments over weekend.
The project scope included data cabling, air-conditioning, provision of UPS, integration to Scania Genset, protected power ring in datacentre, installation of racks, & servers, and network switching equipment, VLAN restructuring and upstream internet bandwidth triangulation into the ISP’s cloud at different regional node points, and backup and additional failover microwave link for business continuity. New physical security, cctv and alarm infrastructure. In addition fire detection and gas suppressant system installed in datacenter. Environmental monitoring equipment (M24C panel) was installed to alert duty staff to unusual events. Special Considerations: Owning to the nature of Thawte’s role in the security business armed escorts for all of the 55 servers was a prerequisite. Special attention to getting voice numbers redirected with a temporary PBX at old location required accurate timing and significant reprogramming. Information Systems & Technical Service Service-Desks were not allowed any downtime to impact customer queries. Result: Delivery and objectives & special considerations achieved on target, to budget with no impact to any of the operational services.
This project was delivered in conjunction with our partners ( Molotek)
'Plan, Plan, Plan – Train hard, expect the worst and you’ll be surprised at how you grow and what one's team can achieve.’
B. Mc Mahon