Deploying a network reliability management system takes a great deal of expertise and time. There's physical installation, power supplies, network connections, and then the even more difficult phases of configuration and databasing. It can be a daunting task, especially for network operations managers who find their everyday jobs busy enough.
If you want a smooth, hassle-free network monitoring deployment, you should consider using a provider of engineering, furnishing, and installation services - known in the trade as EFI. An EFI provider can take care of the troublesome details of deployment for you, with guaranteed quality and results.
Installing alarm monitoring equipment is only part of the services offered by most EFI providers. Usually, alarm monitoring is included as part of a complete network deployment; an entirely new section of the telecommunications network is turned up, with all secondary support equipment included.
As the name implies, the services offered by an EFI provider fall into three basic categories:
How do you know if using an EFI provider is right for your deployment? As with any other professional service, you're paying for the use of someone else's time and expertise.
Here's some of the added value that an EFI provider can bring:
Product Knowledge: You probably know quite a bit about the equipment you use, but you haven't had the time to research everything about it. And when you're adding new types of equipment to your system, you can never be quite sure how your old and new equipment will work together.
You can turn to vendors for assistance, but while they can tell you a lot about their own equipment, they don't always know how their equipment interacts with equipment from other manufacturers.
EFI providers have broad knowledge of different types of equipment used throughout the industry, and they have deep experience of integrating different equipment during installation. That experience and expertise is difficult to reproduce or obtain elsewhere.
Outsourcing Time and Trouble: You may have been given the responsibility for a system deployment, but that doesn't mean you have the time, the resources, or the staff to oversee every detail of the project-especially if managing the deployment is an extra job that's been added to your everyday duties.
If that's your situation, you may have a classic business case where outsourcing the work will get the job done faster, more efficiently-and even more cheaply-than trying to do the work entirely in-house.
Project Management: Deployments often take longer than planned, especially if you're working with new equipment. There's a lot you have to learn to execute a successful implementation, and it's easy to make beginner's mistakes that can extend your time and budget.
The project management experience of an EFI provider can be of real value here. These are companies with years of experience overseeing telemetry deployments, and they have highly developed systems for ensuring projects are completed on schedule and as planned.
So, does this added value justify using an EFI provider for your project? Before you decide yes or no, ask yourself these questions:
If you've decided that an EFI provider is right for your deployment, here are some of the features you should compare when selecting your provider:
Quality Standard Certifications: EFI providers should have their procedures certified by industry standards organizations. Quality EFI providers will have at least an ISO 9000 certification; it's even better to check for the telecommunications-specific TL 9000 standard.
Experience and Client Testimonials: As with any business-to-business professional service, you should check carefully for your EFI provider's reputation. Find out how long the company has been in business, see if it can offer testimonials from its clients-and check with their clients to get a real sense of how they rate the company's services.
Vendor Partnerships: You're outsourcing the project, but you should still retain control. Check what vendors your EFI provider works with-you should be able to specify the vendor and equipment you want.
Compare Prices, But Don't Be Cheap: The costs of using an EFI provider should be justified by speed of the implementation and the quality of the work. By all means, look for the best value you can-but make sure you are getting value for your money. If an EFI provider can't meet your schedule or quality requirements, cheaper isn't necessarily better.