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3 Tips to Reduce MTTR with Automation

June 7, 2020

Troubleshooting is a journey, not a process

In this blog, you’ll learn why network automation is a key factor to increase the efficiency of IT operations and ultimately improve customer experience through reducing MTTR.

“Nearly 70 percent of workers say the biggest opportunity of automation lies in reducing time wasted on repetitive work,” says the report Automation in the Workplace. But where should you start the journey within IT operations?

Tip 1: Fully automate the diagnostics of common problems

IT Service Management (ITSM) platforms give you deep visibility into the incidents your service desk works on, day after day. These reports give you the right insight to identify the most common problems you’d like to focus on. When you have identified the top 3 or 5, investigate on how to automate them. Do not take the most complex ones, which are difficult to automate, but the ones with which you can demonstrate the first successes in that journey.

By integrating NetBrain with your monitoring or ticketing systems, like SolarWinds or ServiceNow, your service desk agents are armed with instant visibility (via Dynamic Maps) and analytics (via Executable Runbooks) into the problem area. We call that Auto-Initiated Troubleshooting. The “crime scene” is auto-triggered at the instant the alert is created. The support engineer has all the data to isolate the root cause.

ServiceNow NetBrain integration application slowness database server

Ticket enrichment in ServiceNow

Now it is time to reiterate this phase with the next 3 to 5 candidates for automation. And so on…

To understand how that works watch our video: Event-Triggered Automation.

Tip 2: Enable engineers with interactive automation and easy handoffs for less common problems

After some iterations of the first tip, you’ll move to the next phase and identify problems which are less common, but time consuming.

For this kind of incident, NetBrain can easily map on demand the problem, based on the information found in the monitoring or incident system. This map is at the core of the diagnostic process. The engineer working on the incident will use interactive Data Views to display additional information (routing protocols, interface information, QoS metrics, …) on that map. So, he has visual support to understand easily the state of the network, without having to telnet into a multitude of devices.

NetBrain Data Views - NSX Fabric Stats

NetBrain Data Views – NSX Fabric statistics

All the work that has been done through the process is automatically documented. Therefore, in case of a handoff, the Level 2 or Level 3 engineer can start where Level 1 stopped.

To learn more watch the short video: Simplifying Network Complexity with Interactive Automation

Tip 3: Getting specialists on the same page enhances collaboration to solve complex problems

Sometimes many specialists are needed to solve complex problems. Perhaps a security, an application, and the network expert need to collaborate to identify the root of a problem.

Maps enhanced with Runbooks — automation of virtually any network operation — make it easier to share insights. The issue with the findings can be escalated within a disparate team, when collaborating on an event.

Troubleshooting Is a Team Sport: Automation That Promotes Collaboration

To conclude, at NetBrain we think that troubleshooting is more than a process! It is a methodology with simple goal: reducing MTTR and improving customer satisfaction.

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