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High payoff ideas for leveraging info resources.

When the network becomes the computer, who takes the organizational lead in leveraging the enterprise's information resources? The Chief Networking Officer, according to noted industry observer, Dr. Dixon Doll, chairman of The DMW Group.

Doll believes that advanced networks will create numerous strategic opportunities in the highly competitive, global markets of the 1990s. Organizations will need a Chief Networking Officer (CNO) to champion these opportunities and to implement the high-payoff networking solutions, he argues.

At a recent three-day forum for current and budding CNO's, Doll said their credo should be "make history or be history." His comment captures how significant the opportunities are and how critical it is for the CNO to take risks willingly.

Organizations also need to do much more to incentivize risk-taking and reward the successful, in Doll's opinion. He also advocates the formation of a creative network applications development group, unencumbered by day-to-day pressures.

Among the high-payoff networking solutions listed by Doll are wireless LANs, videoconferencing, mobile computing, broadband switching, enhanced electronic mail and the automation of network and systems management.

Killer application

On the difficult challenge of managing multivendor LANs and WANs, Doll identified a "killer" networking application that runs on multiple platforms and automates the network computing help-desk process.

The Action Request is a generic trouble-ticket application that enables end users to register their network problems on a server at the help-desk site, either directly from their desktop computer or by calling the help desk. Software automatically generates a trouble ticket and alerts a network administrator, who has access to a data base of past problems and solutions.

Having identified the appropriate solution, the administrator updates the data base and uses the system to notify the user of the fix.

The Action Request System is the first product of Mountain View, Calif.- based Remedy Corp., which was founded by two well-known industry figures. Remedy CEO Larry Garlick oversaw network products as vice president of distributed systems at Sun Microsystems, while Marketing VP David Mahler was formerly the marketing manager for Open View at Hewlett-Packard. Not surprisingly, the ARS software runs on HP's Open View and Sun's SunNet Manager, as well as Novell's NetWare Management System.

Doll applauds the software's full integration with popular management systems and the fact that it captures the organization's experience with resolving network problems.

"It also increases the real and perceived responsiveness of the LAN support staff," Doll notes, "and it provides the matrix for cost justification and support quality."

Further, a network manager can configure the system to give end users a little or a lot of power to solve their own network problems. Having users take a more active role helps drive down costs and frees network staff for other work.

Key to success

Industry support is key to the success of a multivendor management system, and Remedy has attracted an impressive list of endorsements. Besides Sun, HP and Novell, it already has the support of Chipcom, SynOptics, 3Com, Vitalink and Wellfleet.

ARS seems, in fact, to have reversed the trend among suppliers of bridges, routers and hubs to develop their own proprietary network management systems. Many are now recognizing that it makes more sense to support open platforms, such as Open View, and leave the development of foundation, or generic applications to third-party software firms like Remedy. The network component vendors are then free to focus on developing add-on management capabilities unique to their own products.

Despite the success of their initial product, Garlick and Mahler say that they will stay a small company, rolling out two new applications a year. The second application is scheduled for introduction soon. Many in the industry, both users and suppliers, are awaiting the announcement with keen interest.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Network Management; Dr. Dixon Doll, on the future of networked computing
Author:Edwards, Morris
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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