The client, a provider of digital cable television, telecommunications, and home automation services, is one of the largest cable television provider in the United States. They serve more than 6.2 million customers, including 2.9 million digital cable subscribers, 3.5 million Internet subscribers, and almost 3.2 million digital telephone subscribers; making the company one of the ten largest telephone carrier in the country. A few years ago, they began using Multitel’s FIRM Suite as part of their vision to bring standardization to the company.
They soon realized that FIRM Suite could be a major asset for planning and budgeting their power, space, and cooling capacities.
NO ONE-STOP SHOP FOR INVENTORY
A few years ago, The company was facing several challenges. In most sites, they had no visibility of their different power plants, or of power equipment like DC load, UPS, and inverters. Moreover, they didn’t have a one-stop shop for inventory. They had several tools, ranging from spreadsheets and ticketing systems, to inventory databases that were created for network elements, but were not necessary suitable for power elements. None of their tools had the ability to capture real-time data or snapshots of load information. The tools that were being used could not offer intelligent analysis. It had to be left to the individual engineer. Finally, they didn’t have any standardization in the company that would indicate what tool to use, what procedure to follow, or what data to measure.
That was before FIRM Suite came along.
NO NATIONAL VIEW OF BATTERY
The lack of a consistency in collecting and analyzing battery data created two problems: first, calculations had to be constantly rebuilt when looking at data coming from one region versus another, and second, it was impossible to prioritize batteries needing replacement across the network. This resulted in significant administrative costs and delays in getting a clear and prioritized yearly battery replacement plan for the network. The client had calculated that implementing a new, standardized process could save up to 30% from their annual battery CapEx and OpEx budgets.
« The other proposed options came with a perspective of cubicles, chairs and light. That was more in the administrative facility world. They were worried about how much cubicle space we could save. We were more interested in a technical facility standpoint. It suited more the need of our industry sub-culture. »
USEFUL, BUT NEEDED?
The client first heard about FIRM Suite at Battcon in 2008. They were impressed by the number of features that had been assembled into one software. They knew it would be useful, but would it be worth the investment? At that time, the management team was not sure they needed such a tool. Management had, however, a vision to standardize all processes across the company. They wanted to support their field technicians and to make things better and more straightforward for them. Therefore, they did their due diligence, tried other tools, and looked for other solutions. They then came to the conclusion that FIRM Suite had the required specifications to successfully bring standardization to the company. Here are the reasons:
SOLUTION COMING FROM A POWER FACILITY PERSPECTIVE
The client looked at several other options, but nothing was suited to their requirements, even the tools that could have been modified. Since FIRM Suite was coming from a power facility perspective, the client knew they could work with Multitel to adapt their other needs such as their cooling and spacing capabilities
With FIRM Suite, the client could capture the telemetry in an exhaustive way and present the information in a comprehensive and transparent way. Thus, they had the ability to have different products linked to the tool and to capture the data with SNMP in real time. In addition, FIRM provided an asset database that could do the intelligence to determine utilization of different parameters.
The client quickly realized that FIRM Suite was a one-stop shop. Indeed, all of the different functions performed by other tools could be done in one place, in real time, and by a single tool.
In addition, FIRM Suite provided a customizable service whereby the management could manually enter their own business rules.
« You can use FIRM in a way where you have the telemetry but you can still manually put in entries to get the same outcome equally presented for all sites. »
“FIRM Suite is the difference between being proactive and reactive. We are now able to proactively avoid customer outages and to effectively budget for our future needs.“ Because of FIRM suite, the company now has an effective preventive maintenance program. It is always difficult to quantify what did not happen. But still, the client could compare the number of outages before and after they used the tool. In addition, they compared the money spent in credit and repair before and after the integration of FIRM Suite. The results obtained justified their investment in the product.
« If you don’t know where you are, you can’t get where you want to go. It’s a question of planning, being proactive, and having the answers to the VPs why such and such happened. It’s like running a business without having an inventory or business goals. »
INTELLIGENCE FOR UTILIZATION AND VISIBILITY
FIRM Suite calculates utilization for cooling, space, and power, which is an added value for capacity management. Moreover, because the intelligence is built into most of the products now, the telemetry is cheaper, the visibility of the products has improved, and the utilization is easily evaluated and proactively planned.
OPTIMISATION AND SAVINGS
Finally, FIRM Suite helps the client to save field time because the tool puts everything in one place: drawings, data, reports, manuals, etc. It is basically a one-stop shop that gathers all the reports, data, and information for optimisation, cost analysis, and network savings. FIRM is now the meeting point where the company’s technical facility people and management go to find all the information they need to have complete visibility of their power plants.
If you are looking for more visibility and proactivity, you need a onestop shop that comes from a power facility perspective. You might want to follow the experience described here and go for a solution that comes with intelligence and customizable features, and outstanding support.