Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Giving potential customers that light bulb moment

When you have a solution like Local Management, that can impact a variety of IT groups and reach across network management and security processes, the sales process can be a long and winding road. One stop along that journey is the proof of concept (POC).

Thomas Edison said, "Anything that won't sell, I don't want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success." The proof of concept is a chance for us to prove the utility of Local Management with a potential customer.

Our POCs are designed to quickly demonstrate how our solution resolves some of the most challenging network problems. Each proof of concept is tailored to meet the needs of the potential customer.

A typical POC has four stages:

Planning

Prior to the evaluation, customers meet with a member of the Uplogix technical team to discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions to those problems using Uplogix. Testing facilities and equipment are identified and potential dates for an onsite or virtual POC are discussed.

Next, Uplogix drafts a POC plan which captures testing scenarios, identifying the challenge the customer faces and how Uplogix can resolve the challenge with Local Management. The POC plan also includes the location of testing, equipment provided by Uplogix and the customer, as well as the expected start and end dates for the evaluation.

The draft plan is sent to the customer for review and a meeting is scheduled to discuss the plan and make any modifications. Once the customer and the Uplogix team have finalized the plan, testing is scheduled.

Execution

Evaluations can involve 1-3 days of onsite set-up and hands-on testing with the customer and a member of the Uplogix technical team. We’ll work through all the test cases identified in the POC plan, and create the plan of action coming out of the POC.

Follow Up

When testing is complete, Uplogix equipment can remain on the customer site for a period of time to allow the customer additional hands-on testing time.

We’ll also follow up on any open questions from the onsite visit.

Closing 

When testing is complete, a meeting will be scheduled with the Uplogix account team to wrap up any open questions and identify next steps.

Example Evaluation Scenarios

POCs are built around common network management challenges and the Local Management solution. Here is one example of the dozen or so scenarios we typically pick from based on customer interests.

Scenario: Network Outage Event

Operations are dependent on the availability of a fast and reliable network. Outage events are often due to equipment or interface failures. These can be difficult to troubleshoot and correct from a centralized location in a timely manner. 

Uplogix Solution – Proactive Alerting
The Local Manager (LM) is directly connected to the console port of the equipment it manages, enabling the LM to monitor more frequently and take corrective actions when an outage situation occurs. In the same time it takes traditional network monitoring tools to discover a problem, Uplogix can find, fix, and alert that the problem has been resolved. This eliminates costly site visits, downtime and reduces Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR).

POC Actions
  • Schedule monitors to examine chassis and interface statistics as well as the system log and raw buffer streams.
  • Define and apply rules that take level-1 or -2 actions based on various conditions and thresholds.
    • Generate alerts and alarms
    • Take actions such as cycling interfaces, clearing service modules and rebooting
  • Alerts based off of permissions
    • Users/groups subscribe to resources they are responsible for to receive emailed alerts containing alarms about that resource.
    • Users subscribe to specific network device resources to receive alerts.
    • To receive alerts, a user must have permission for and be subscribed to a particular resource.
    • Each alert is sent with currently active alarms and the relevant data that matched each alarm condition.

Do you see the light?

The POC isn't the first step on the journey toward implementing Local Management in your network, but for many it's an important event. Over the years we've refined the POC process to ensure maximum value for both the potential customer as well as our highly skilled technical team. We want you to see what you need to see to make the move to Local Management with confidence. Contact Uplogix for more information.