Network Monitoring Within A Utility: Not A Cookbook Task

Monitoring end-devices on a network is an idea that is not novel, and many Network Monitoring System (NMS) solutions are available for traditional IT implementations.  However, the deployment of an NMS to monitoring non-traditional Operational Technology (OT) devices such as those used to support power grids presents a number of unique challenges.  Recently, West Monroe Partners was engaged to deliver such a solution to support the monitoring of OT devices for a central United States electric utility distribution company.…

Service Level Agreements: How are you using them?

SLAs, all organizations have them in one form or another. When I say SLA or Service Level Agreements, I am referring to them as a measurement used to ensure that that a task reaches an end condition within a certain amount of time.  SLAs are used differently across organizations – for some, SLAs are what they manage their tasks against every day, others follow when necessary, while some don’t even follow them at all. Where do you and your team fall?…

MAS Migration: Options and keys to success

In Part 1 of this blog series we looked a bit at the history and importance of Multiple Address (MAS) radio systems. Now let’s talk about how we deal with large amounts of aging MAS infrastructure that are at or nearing the end of their useful life.

The good news is that there are a variety of solutions available.

  • While some of the legacy vendors have disappeared from the market, a few have continued to develop their solutions and currently offer solutions that allow an “evolutionary” migration of legacy infrastructure.

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Leaf-Spine Network Topology

There is a new trend for network topology design standards — creating a fast, predictable, scalable, and efficient communication architecture in a data center environment.

Why Leaf-Spine?

With the increased focus on massive data transfers and instantaneous data travel in the network, the aging three-tier design within a data center is being replaced with what is being called the Leaf-Spine design. Leaf-Spine architecture is adaptable to the continuously changing needs of companies in big data industries with evolving data centers.…

How hard is it to do business with your bank? 2015 Customer Effort Index in Banks & Credit Unions Results

Dave Nash_120

In the financial services industry the banking sector is seeing positive yet modest growth, and  many firms are zeroing in on customer experience as a means of fueling growth and competitive advantage. Their approaches to elevating customer experience, though, vary significantly.

We have found that rather than simply trying to “wow” customers/members, banks and credit unions can gain more by making customer interactions as “effortless” as possible across channels.  This cross-channel view is highly important as consistent ease across all channels is what creates differentiated value and what customers will most remember.…

Recent Healthcare Data Breaches Should Serve as a Call to Action

The trust behind the physician-patient relationship has always remained a cornerstone of patient care.  In order for a physician to make proper diagnoses and provide optimal treatment, the patient must feel comfortable providing all pertinent details about his or her condition.  The physician’s obligation to keep this information confidential is laid out in the code of medical ethics, underlining the unique nature of this relationship.  As care for a single patient has evolved to often include multiple specialists and multiple institutions, the requirement of trust has expanded to the entire system. …

Provide a Better Customer Experience Through Automated Underwriting

Is your bank still reaching out to customers and asking for them to send in physical applications or copies of financial information? Does it take your organization longer than 24 hours to decision a loan or line of credit? Are the underwriters at your organization using consistent metrics and risk ratings?

As banking progresses to a more customer-focused industry, your underwriting process should be evolving as well.  Today’s bank customer, whether an individual seeking a single family home loan or a manufacturer with a multi-billion dollar asset size, is looking for an easy and quick way to obtain the capital they applied for. …

Keeping Retail Banking Relevant – Ever thought of your local bank branch as a Starbucks? Part 2 of 2

Tammy Wu

In Part 1 of this blog, we mentioned that the key to making retail banking relevant again is a seamless omnichannel experience. We also used Umpqua Bank as a successful example. In this second part of the blog, we will discuss the challenges and the steps that should be taken for organizations to achieve the omnichannel experience.

Most banks have an operating model where products and channels function in silos, and business processes that require layers of signoffs from legal, marketing, finance, and operations.…

Enterprise Guide to Networking the Public Cloud – Part 1

Part 1 – Cloud Use Cases & Connectivity Options

A news release popped into my inbox last week publicizing a carrier’s new and improved solution for Amazon Web Services (AWS) connectivity.  Reading about the new offerings available for connecting to AWS peaked my interest as they are increasingly critical to our clients’ daily operations. This blog will provide an overview that is useful for both those new to the topic and people who have been involved with implementing these services since they have become more prevalent.…

What Can Healthcare Learn From Other Industries’ Best Practices?

Many industries have suffered the pain of transformational change. In doing so, they provide insight into how to effectively overcome a variety of obstacles. If the healthcare industry can leverage the experience of others’ past failures, their own transformation will be accelerated. 

In recent years, stories about healthcare often portray the industry in a negative light, including the following characterizations:

  • Broken: “Ten years ago, the US healthcare system was declared ‘broken’, and it has not improved.”
  • Expensive: “More than one-sixth of the U.S.

Dream Crushing Mistakes: The importance of testing and quality assurance

Tory Paez

A few weeks ago, Carnegie Mellon University released a statement that one of their programs mistakenly sent acceptance letters via email to about 800 applicants. What department would make such an error? None other than the Computer Science Department.

We operate in a world where automation, speed, and ease are characteristics we want to apply to our daily work. But if the proper operating standards are not agreed upon and then also followed, terrible errors can occur – potentially depleting the reputation of your product, brand and organization.…

Although Lagging, Healthcare e-Commerce Maturing

People are buying online, now more than ever.   An eMarket report estimated that e-Commerce sales were near $1.5 trillion in 2014. The combination of rising online purchasing confidence and passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created a foundation for a maturing landscape of healthcare e-Commerce.

As a method of adaptation, and to help facilitate purchasing processing, many industries are leaning on “exchanges” to assist buyers and promote choice (both of which are largely beneficial to the consumer). …

MAS Radio: A critical but aging link for SCADA – Part 1

For years, Multiple Address (MAS) radio has been a popular solution used by utilities to reach and aggregate remote terminal units (RTUs). It is widely used by electric utilities, the oil and gas pipeline industry, water and wastewater systems, and railroads – allowing communications with remote devices that are critical to the reliable and safe operation of the systems which they are part of.

The typical MAS radio system consists of a master radio that communicates with multiple remote radios on paired transmit/receive frequencies in the 900 MHz band.…

This Is (Was) My Consulting Nightmare…..

This is (was) my consulting nightmare…..

For anyone in consulting (or any line of work requiring business travel), the ability to travel and earn hotel points is the number one perk of being on the road. However when I chose this profession, what I didn’t fully understand is the mayhem (and stress) that can ensue when booking travel and managing expense reports.

Over the past five years, I haven’t managed to control the weather or eliminate flight delays, but I can say (with confidence) that I have learned to minimize the travel mayhem that can be part of the consulting lifestyle.…

Receiving Standards Made to Work Part II: Job Setup

In my last blog, I spoke about inbound processes that will set you up for success on the receiving end. Now let’s talk about the actual receiver’s job setup and how that can further your success.

The operating plan and tools provided to receivers will ultimately determine the success they are able to achieve during the work day. Receivers, who are usually employees with long standing tenure, can sometimes have their own ideas on how to perform a job, creating movements and tasks that are not productive.…


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