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  Mike Silberman – Managing Director, netage solutions
  Mike Silberman – Managing Director, netage solutions

Get Your Business boomING

The whole benefits of monitoring innovation: Robert Alcock talks to Mike Silberman from netage solutions

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An innovative player in telecommunications, netage solutions GmbH is the software developer behind boom, business open operations manager, an enterprise-class distributed client-server systems event and fault monitoring solution made in Germany. With its powerful filtering and correlation engine, boom helps OSS organizations to prevent, detect and solve problems in real-time on their managed systems, hosts, applications and services. The netage architecture uses a lightweight polyvalent agent that provides local intelligence, reliable operations, and minimizes network traffic in firewalled and DHCP environments. As a TM Forum Catalyst participant, netage is demonstrating boom for Resource Alarm Management with leading Service Providers.

Michael (Mike) Silberman began his professional career at IBM more than twenty years ago. After various positions in Switzerland and the IBM Europe headquarters in Paris, he was elected partner in the IBM consulting organization in Germany. Since 2009, he is the managing director of netage solutions GmbH, which he acquired at the time.

Q: One of the main challenges facing CSP’s is decreasing customer churn. How does boom help them address this problem?
A: Although there may be a number of reasons why a customer would switch providers, much churn is based on service dissatisfaction. If a customer is happy with the service he or she is getting, they are much less likely to want to change. boom, business open operations manager, helps service providers to pro actively address performance and availability issues.

Q: Don’t most providers already try to fix problems quickly?
A: The concept of detecting problems early and fixing them quickly is nothing new. Monitoring solutions have been available for nearly 20 years and that is where the problem starts. Most of those tools were designed years ago when the monitoring requirements and technologies were very simple. As requirements became larger and more complex, they added features or integrated new point solutions to try to cope with the increased complexity. But there are limits to what changes you can make to an old design. You would never add MMS functionality to an analog telephone.

Q: If the giants of the industry have failed, how have you managed to succeed?
A: It was actually not that difficult. We have been helping customers manage their IT systems for nearly 15 years and we know what the requirements are. We also have more than 20 years experience developing software products. We have taken these requirements and built and used our software development experience to build a solution with all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses of the older tools. This has resulted in a tool which is much easier to administer which leaves more time to improve the quality of the monitoring.

Q: Aren’t the costs of migration prohibitive?
A: Not really. Most of the legacy monitoring systems are very expensive to operate. Not only is the annual support cost extremely high, but they often require numerous add-on products, expensive hardware and data base systems and naturally more manpower for administration. One of our major Telco customers was able to reduce the annual support fee by 70% and that alone was enough to justify the change. All of the other cost savings were just a bonus. But don’t forget that an equally important goal is to improve the quality of the monitoring which brings us back to your first question: improving the monitoring helps reduce customer dissatisfaction and reduce churn.


Q: If reducing cost is a major reason to replace the current fault management system isn’t 0pen source the logical answer?
A: Nothing is free! Open source solutions may be OK for those companies with a large staff and plenty of skilled resources, but these systems often lack the functions required to manage a very large, distributed environment economically. We have seen companies invest tremendous amounts of money trying to add functionality that we have off-the-shelf. And this investment in new functionality to enhance open source solutions does not stop when the system goes into production. Usually, there will be a full-time team to maintain and enhance these “free” tools.

Q: So, in your opinion, boom is the ideal tool for agent-based monitoring of enterprise environments?
A: I suppose you expect me to say “yes” but that is only half of the story. Many organizations also have requirements for agent-less monitoring and also for End-to-End monitoring. Today they have two or three different tools to meet these requirements. This is inefficient, expensive and requires more tools to correlate the results from these tools. Today, boom already provides both agent-based and agent-less monitoring in a single tool. We are continuously expanding our capabilities in the area of End-to-End monitoring. Our goal is to provide complete infrastructure, application and service management in a single tool.

Q: Why do the legacy vendors offer so many tools?
A: Because we are newer to the market we have the advantage of seeing requirements that did not exist 15 years ago. What the legacy vendors have done is buy new products to meet new requirements. They have not always been successful in integrating those solutions into a single tool. Besides, they can generate more revenue with four or five tools than with one.

Our vision is high functionality with a minimum of administration overhead. We have already made great strides toward reaching that vision.

Q: Is your ultimate goal to be a full line supplier of IT management solutions?
A: No. Our vision is clearly focused on being the undisputed best event monitoring tool for small, large and very large organizations. Naturally, there will be some additional functionality to support automation, reporting and analysis requirements but everything is focused on monitoring and rapid problem resolution. Everything is focused on increasing customer satisfaction to reduce churn and increase revenue. Unlike many of the legacy vendors, we are investing heavily in event management because that is our business.

Q: Do you have any secrets that are going to help you reach your goals?
A: I would not say it is a secret, but we are proud to put the stamp “Made in Germany” on our software. Our mentality is not to build a simple product, get it out the door and sell it. Our philosophy is to pay attention to details; to build a product that solves the problems of our customers; and to provide the support that keeps adding value to the product. All of the best automobiles are built in Germany. Thanks to boom, that is also true for IT event monitoring.

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