DELTA Fiber Netherlands is a Dutch telecom company that connects almost 1 million addresses throughout the Netherlands by their approx. 50 000 km fiber network. By 2025, the ambition is to have 2 million addresses connected. Under the brand's DELTA and Caiway, the company provides Internet at gigabit+ speeds, interactive TV, and fixed and mobile telephony to both consumers and businesses. In 2018 the two companies DELTA and CAIW merged and founded DELTA Fiber Netherlands, employing more than 1000 people.
DELTA Fiber and Netadmin
DELTA Fiber (previously CAIW) has since 2011 been using Netadmin as their OSS system for automation of service fulfillment processes supporting both their p2p networks and recently also their GPON networks. Today is Netadmin Nine, highly integrated with other support systems within DELTA Fiber.
During the last 18 months, Netadmin has delivered an Application Management assignment to DELTA Fiber where the focus has been on benchmarking and monitoring the performance of Netadmin to identify potential bottlenecks, improve processes, detect and correct any potential operational issues in an early stage as well as enlighten and involve the team DELTA Fiber in their use of Netadmin.
To follow up on this, we had a chat with Wouter Herrmann, System Owner, to get his view and experience on the assignment and its outcome so far – and this is what he said.
What was the main reason you engaged Netadmin in an Application Management assignment by DELTA Fiber NL (DFN), and what was your expected outcome at the time?
When we started up the assignment together with Netadmin, we had an older version of Netadmin, which was not updated nor patched for quite some time. As long as everything worked, this was great. Still, we also experienced that even minor incidents were tricky to handle, simply because we lacked system knowledge and had limited contact with the people from Netadmin.
So, I should say that the main reason for us was that we wanted to be more involved in the operation of our Netadmin system. We wanted to gain insight into how we could improve the process with Netadmin and be sure everything works fine because we are in control and problems are prevented, i.e., not just be happy that no problems occurred.
In addition, we also wanted to be unburdened by a partner that is just as motivated as we are ourselves to keep the system running great!
Worth mentioning is also that the timing for the start of the assignment was also perfect for us since we had a new team responsible for Netadmin at DFN, were planning for a significant upgrade, and wanted to have a more ongoing and professional relationship with Netadmin.
The assignment at DFN has now been running for approx. 1.5 years. What would you say is your primary impression of the assignment and its outcome so far?
I would say that our main goal has been reached, and today we are in control and on top of the system operation, and it's very rare that problems or issues occur unexpectedly. We monitor and follow up system performance regularly and analyze if we need to act on deviations from standard patterns in an early stage to avoid potential issues down the road.
We have periodic reports prepared by Netadmin, and discussions based on these leads to a stable system and continuous improvements. In addition, we have a close and very constructive, and proactive working relationship with Netadmin experts today.
So, I would say that the assignment indeed unburdens us. We monitor and have that extra pair of eyes looking after our system that feels ensuring, and if something unexpected happens, the collaboration when solving it is outstanding.
Finally, the only thing hard to quantify is the business case on our side. Previously, we had a stable system on which we spent almost no money in terms of Application Management and maintenance. Now, we do spend money on this, and we still have a stable system – but our insight, understanding, and awareness of the system and the way it operates is much higher, and we are more ensured that the system will perform and cope with tomorrow's requirements as well.
Have you experienced any outcome from the assignment that you didn't expect from the start?
Yes, I think the feeling of a partnership is more robust than expected. Sure, it is simply just a business agreement, but the commitment from both sides is just as important as what's on paper, maybe even more so.
Would you say that the assignment impacted your organization and way of work? And if so, could you please elaborate a bit on this?
As system "owner," I can say it is easier to serve my internal customers today when I have a deeper insight into Netadmin and related processes on our side. Of course, I don't have all the answers myself, but I have an easy way of getting answers. I also believe that our understanding of the system at DFN has increased due to the AM assignment and that we now use much more of the built-in options, screens, logs, and features.
At the same time, we have completed two major projects regarding Netadmin (upgrade to Nine and our XGS-PON implementation during the last 18 months), on which others from DFN and Netadmin were closely involved. I'm trying to say that these projects have also complemented the assignment and contributed to the improved relationship and knowledge-sharing between DFN and Netadmin.
Do you see any additional areas/tasks that you believe would benefit you or other Netadmin customers to include in an Application Management assignment? And if so, could you please elaborate a bit on this?
During the past 1.5 years, we expanded the original assignment with a bit of additional monitoring and a Master/Slave setup of our Production and Test databases.
I think it can always help to think about incidents that have occurred or that could occur and come up with intelligent and generic means of monitoring to detect these incidents, or even better, take some measures to correct the root cause of those incidents. But even an alarm when something happens can be a significant improvement than overhearing about an incident from customers or our customer service. The needs can, of course, differ between different Netadmin customers based on the usage of Netadmin. Still, I believe that a proactive collaboration between Netadmin and a Netadmin customer can solve many issues, at least that is my experience.