Go back

Leverage Your Existing SMEs for IT Operations

by Mark Harris Aug 23, 2022

Passing on Tribal Knowledge Through No-Code

One of the best ways knowledge is passed to others is when a current subject matter expert shows a team of less experienced people how to solve a problem so they can replicate the ‘perfect’ recipe of steps by themselves at a later point in time. This strategy allows groups to “scale up”, since now everyone who has seen the expert’s step-by-step process can repeat it to solve additional, similar problems.

While you’ve likely seen this sort of teaching before, what if you could add automation to the story? What if the ‘perfect’ set of steps could be executed at the push of a button by any staff, not just those that had been trained by the experts? When you eliminate the need for programming and writing code of any type, knowledge capture of problem-solving is quite easy and can be transported across an entire organization. In the past, automation has been considered for the largest of problems, but if we introduce no-code as the means to capture knowledge, automation can be applied to every problem, big and small. In fact, if we group all the network problems that occur in a typical enterprise, we end up with a few dozen types of similar problems, each repeated hundreds, or thousands of times per month.

So, if your subject matter expert can solve any one of these common problems once, it’s quite possible to make that perfect set of tasks available to all subsequent operators in the future, essentially giving them the knowledge and expertise of all of their peers and predecessors. The team becomes stronger, more scalable, and can leverage each other’s work over the long haul. The problem-solving knowledge base grows over time, regardless of the specific staffing that exists at any single point.

Using Automation to Solve Problems at Scale

Network operations teams, or NetOps, see a lot of problems every day… in large enterprises, thousands of times per month. Today, each problem is treated as a unique occurrence and largely is handled by the assigned operations staff individually. It’s just the culture we were all raised in, and the inherent complexity of networks.

Overlooked from most discussions about operational efficiency, the similarity of problems is a huge untapped opportunity for operational scale and efficiency. Remember, while the thousands of network problem situations aren’t identical, they are similar enough to allow many of the same ‘perfect’ steps to be taken to solve each kind of problem. Consider a very basic example that nearly everyone has encountered: the process of resetting a forgotten password on an account. Each website will have its own screens, prompts, and look and feel, but the overall process of completing this task is similar whether you’re changing your password on Google, Microsoft, or any other site. That same kind of similarity exists for network problems across routers, switches, firewalls, etc.

It’s simple: A subject matter expert solves any network problem once (step by step, as if they were showing a team member how to do it). These steps are captured and recorded through a no-code engine, and then stored in a sharable library for use by anyone in the future. And when those stored steps are retrieved, the operator or engineer doesn’t even need to know the details of every step, just that the steps took care of the lion’s share of the work they would otherwise have to figure out how to do themselves. This means you won’t need an experienced IT operation professional to manually go through the steps of solving each problem every time it occurs. This frees up resources and allows NetOps to be scaled through automation.

Scaling NetOps: SMEs, “No-Code” and Automation

Of course, if manual coding was required each time the steps of a process were captured, this could quickly get very complicated, and experienced programmers would be required regularly. That would almost defeat the purpose of automating solutions and fixes.

This is why“No-Code” is so important and coupled with network automation, changes the entire NetOps game. With it, Subject Matter Experts are solving network problems in real-time and the No-Code platform is capturing their efforts for re-usable future reference. This “perfect set of steps” can then be stored in a central library and leveraged by anyone else at any time in the future.

The result of using No-Code and Network Automation is a scalable NetOps function that directly supports business growth initiatives, without the traditional need to scale the operational staff at the same rate and provide new hires with all of the comprehensive training needed for all situations. For more information, please contact the team at NetBrain today.