What makes TelcoSI’s founder tick?

At a first job way back in the 1980s at a petrochemical company we tested a number of marine engine oil samples for the presence of different metal compounds indicating which component in the engine was showing high levels of wear and tear.

We would process the samples and eventually run them through a spectrometer. The output of this device came in raw text on paper via a dot matrix printer. We would then search through another paper printout of data from from the engine manufacturers looking for the appropriate matches of metal content with bearings, rings and thrust washers.

Being a mere lab grunt I did the lions share of this legwork but sometimes I would see PHD chemists spending hours pouring over printouts looking for the right match. Surely their time was more valuable than this?

Harbouring an inner “propeller-head”, in the evenings I would spend my own time linking the printer output from the spectrometer to the computer that housed the engine specs in printable flat text files and writing a little Pascal to receive and parse the ‘printed’ test results and look for matches in the engine specs.

Hey presto problem solved! The matches now took less than a minute – not even time to make a cup of tea!

I was summonsed to the chief chemist’s office and given a formal warning – if my bit of initiative got out he stood to lose 2 or 3 headcount – further effort was forbidden and the manual processing of sample results reinstated.

I resigned and got my first job at a real computer and networking company.

Here I was often asked to go figure out random dial up modem issues at one of many network node sites. Sick of dealing with dozens of modems myself I wrote a standalone package to test all of the dial up access lines in the UK for our public data networking business.

At last we knew about dial up issues before our customers did and I didn’t even need to get into my car!

Next step was to interface our monitoring system to our paging service – now we were told about issues via our pagers day and night – again allowing us to get things working again before our customers came in on a Monday morning.

Over the ensuing years I ended up running operations teams and network management centres around the world – always automating and always striving to proactively test to ensure everything was working.

I despised the modus operandi of network, platform and application operations groups back then being fronted by customer service operators who simply said “what is your name, what is your number, someone will call you back”

Why not empower that first point of contact and at least let them confirm there is an issue or tell the customer that we don’t see anything but will do some further investigation. “Red-light/Green-light” we called it and customers loved it.

Fast forward and here we are with an amazing suite of tools and techniques to allow us to “Know before they know”, to “Demarcate”, to perform “Proof-of-Fix” and to watch for trends.

State of the art is no longer alarm management, element managers, managers-of-managers, correlation and 5/15 minute operational measures.

It is a blend of active and passive testing, big data/machine data, human-measures and a whole lot of passionate people wanting to improve the experience we give to consumers of tech services be they staff, customers or even other machines.

Not just network-ops, not just platform-ops, not just application-ops – not even devops – user-ops is where we are at.

We have always believed that end-users deserve better from us IT&T professionals and we love to work with people that share that belief and want to be just a little bit different.

TelcoSI – When their tech-experience really matters………..

March 2015