The WIN Network Operations Center (NOC) is where our network technicians monitor, manage and maintain our client networks. Organizations use NOC services to ensure their network remains up and running as well as to handle customer inquiries.
Monitoring, managing and maintaining client networks requires the NOC team to know a lot of information. This can be difficult for even expert network technicians to stay on top of. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that document day-to-day operations equip our NOC network technicians to resolve outages quickly and provide exceptional service to our customers.
What are SOPs?
To achieve consistent results within any department or industry, processes must be understood and documented. “Tribal knowledge”, or knowledge that is “known” but undocumented, may sustain a team for a little while. However, problems can quickly arise when a senior member retires, or a new employee joins the team.
Even when a team understands how to perform a task, the way they complete that task is likely to be different depending on who is responsible for it.
That’s where SOPs come in. An SOP is a set of step-by-step instructions written to help a team perform routine operations. While some have more detail than others, SOPs document processes and may reference other materials for more information, if needed. Although network technicians still need to use their best judgement, SOPs help guide their decision making.
While SOPs are not new to WIN, as the training and documentation specialist, my role focuses on enhancing current and creating new documentation to enhance NOC performance, onboard new NOC employees and improve the experience of our clients.
A typical SOP includes:
- Purpose (why we are doing this)
- Scope (what the process involves)
- Procedure (what steps we need to take to complete the process)
To support WIN’s commitment to internal processes, all our SOPs are written internally for technicians to ensure that it is at a technical level they can understand. Additionally, when a new SOP gets submitted, it is reviewed and given to technicians to do a dry run and make sure that the process makes sense.
The Benefits of SOPs
Although SOPs may not sound exciting, they lay the foundation for successful operations across the organization. Breaking down processes makes our network technicians’ jobs easier and the NOC client experience better.
Below are just a few of the many benefits that come from using SOPs.
Better Onboarding Experience
For new technicians, SOPs serve as a helpful training tool. For example, if someone is unavailable to offer support, SOPs can supplement training by guiding new employees through unfamiliar tasks.
Each time a new network technician starts at WIN, I walk them through a three-to-four-week onboarding process designed for them to gain familiarity with the tools and systems they will use every day. Through videos and a set up guide for each employee, we help new employees get up to speed quickly before they start one-on-one training with the network technicians.
An SOP guides the technician on how to manage alarms and when to escalate the issue, if required. Knowing the next steps to take enables the network technicians to respond to network issues faster and more efficiently.
Promotes Consistent Results
By itemizing processes for workers to follow, SOPs also help standardize WIN NOC operations. This ensures our clients receive consistent results, regardless of the technician who answers the phone or responds to a ticket.
Ensures Business Continuity
By documenting everything on paper, we eliminate tribal knowledge so that if a senior member of our team retires, their knowledge and processes stay with the organization.
How SOPs Support WIN Clients
SOPs not only enable our network technicians to be successful in their roles, but they also improve the experience of our clients through tailored network solutions, optimal network performance and improved service delivery.
Tailored Network Solutions
If clients have their own standards for outages, we ensure our NOC team knows how to support their unique needs. Managing expectations and documenting unique processes where necessary ensures that we best support their organization. For example, when a NOC client brought their own set of SOPs to us, we reviewed their documentation with them. After identifying an approach to each procedure, we created our own SOPs as a reference guide to best serve their needs.
While we are interested in discussing our clients’ needs and processes, we also want to highlight best practices and suggest improvements.
Optimal Network Performance
Reliable, consistent results from our NOC team give our clients confidence that their network is running optimally 24/7.
Improved Service Delivery
WIN’s concise and easy to follow SOPs enable our NOC team to serve our clients quickly and more efficiently. This helps us build trust with clients so that if issues do arise, they know that expert technicians are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. This is true regardless of the technician who answers the phone.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about our Network Operations Services, visit our NOC services page.