NOC Helps Reliance Life Alert Branches On Weak Links
The NOC gives a single window view of the status of the 768 branch links across India.
Reliance Life Insurance (RLIC) is currently running a major network optimisation drive for its 768 online branches in India. These branches are on the MPLS network and thus weigh high on cost. The network optimisation initiative is basically centred on rationalising the bandwidth consumption to save on cost. The IT team is using the ‘Six Sigma Three’ technique for this initiative. It is expected that the company will save around Rs 2.5 crore from this project.
Apart from this initiative, the company’s IT infrastructure team has successfully wrapped up the NOC project (Network Operations Centre). The NOC enables the networking head to track the link status of the 768 branch links across the country on a single console.
Absence of Mechanism to Alert Branches
The company branches were caught off guard on a daily basis due to frequent link outages resulting in inferior customer service. After the necessary analysis (from the MIS) it was identified that there was a lack of proactive support to the branches as far as information and corrective action about link outages was concerned. There were a lot of instances where the employees at the branch level were not satisfied with the network services due to the frequent link outages. The networking team was looking for a solution that could provide proactive monitoring. The company has already chosen one to meet their needs – it will be deploying NMM (Network Management Module) to overcome the above problems.
The Scattered Infrastructure Challenge
There were basically two implementation challenges. Firstly, due to the MPLS network, there are many routers at multiple locations all over the country resulting in scattered infrastructure and lack of consolidation. Secondly, the IT team had to figure out how to configure an ‘Alert’ mechanism on the console architecture. Reliance Life approached its vendor for a customised product rather than the vanilla version. At the POC (Proof of Concept) stage itself, the challenging areas were identified and the vendor was accordingly asked to modify the product.
Post Implementation Benefits
Now, when a link is down, the branch manager is informed about it proactively after raising a fault ticket to the vendor. Alerts are also provided in case of loss in the packet level. For example, in case if a branch is facing a packet loss of 45 percent, the NOC person will call the branch employee informing him that your branch is experiencing packet loss so there will be a deterioration in the application performance.
"We were very clear on the objectives behind the project. We wanted to monitor all the links and send alerts to the branches about the weak links," says Milind Sawant, head - IT Infrastructure, Reliance Life Insurance. The popular reason for IT project failures is a lack of clarity about the desired deliverables from the project. The NOC can monitor all the 768 links that originate across the country and aggregate at the DC.
The implementation has been done in-house by the infrastructure team. This discounted the cost element to a considerable extent for the company. "I believe in training the team rather than asking the vendors to service the implementation. It motivates them to take up projects proactively and also grooms them for bigger initiatives. Additionally, we also have the internal expertise required to carry out the implementation," says Sawant.
The company evaluated certain products and selected those that could be customised for the typical requirements. The NOC was made operational in a span of just 34 days at the Mhape office, Mumbai and has been operational since the beginning of August.
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