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Resource management: how two users manage the known.

It's 8:00 Monday morning--do you know where your available cable pairs are? How about all your end users with those speedy new 386 PCs purchased six months ago?

You need to install a fax machine on the third floor tomorrow. Do you have enough room on the existing jack, and which jack is it? Can you quickly define the best route for the circuit?

Managers of business communication resources should find it easy to answer these kinds of questions if they are using one of the powerful RMS (resource management systems) available today on PC platforms. Just a few years ago, limited tools were available and almost all were mainframe-based.

The incredible improvement in performance and storage in PCs, along with forward thinking software companies, has fueled the migration toward automated RMS.

Resource management is knowing, at a few keystrokes, where and how valuable company assets are deployed. It is knowing the resources available to create a new channel of communication and what resources have been used, by whom, where, and in what combinations to create existing channels of communication.

It also can include purchasing and charge-back information and a service history for equipment and circuits. Such information is valuable in making future buying decisions affecting vendors and products.

The Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. recently renovated and rewired its headquarters in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. To keep track of the new cable plant in an environment of change, they installed the cable data in the CRMS (Communications Resource Management System) from CHI/COR Information Management in Chicago.

Now they are tracking the cable and circuit records for more than 2000 employees at the site.

According to Daniel J. O'Brien, telecommunications analyst, "Prior to the renovation of our corporate headquarters, we were at the mercy of vendors for all moves, adds, and changes. Being able to track our cabling enables us to control our MACs and provide timely service to our in-house customers."

Work orders which had taken up to seven days to process without an automated RMS often take 48 hours using CRMS.

What should you look for in an RMS? The problems is inherently management of information, so the application should be built on a database management system. And not just any database management system, but an RDBMS (relational database management system).

The resource information being tracked falls basically into three categories: static, dynamic, and redundant.

The static and dynamic data, office locations, and people can be managed by most non-relational database management systems. But redundant data, information already in the system and could be looked up, requires the use of an RDBMS.

The RMS should be "voice" or "data" insensitive. You are tracking information and there is a fading distinction between these resources. Voice and data circuits often share common resources and the RMS should permit you to define circuit, component, and inventory types.

An RMS can replace the need to use separate spreadsheet programs to track expenses. The information maintained to track circuits, inventory, service order, and purchasing is already in the database, waiting to be massaged as you see fit.

You also can use the RMS to maintain the directory in a call accounting program and send detailed or summary data to a general ledger program. The integration of this information in the RDBMS helps make it all possible.

You can bring together the power of an RDBMS witht he detailed drawing capability of a CAD system by building interchangeable fields or blocks. The database can easily be exported to the drawing to maintain accurate pictures of your information. CRMS can exchange data in this manner with several CAD systems.

John Morris, telecommunications manager for the Long Island Rail Road, is using CRMS to identify and track miles of outside cable.

When he loads the CAD drawing, he will maintain a current drawing database and be able to provide technicians with work orders with block diagrams. This capability will enable LIRR to save time by not having to modify drawings manually every time a change in the network occurs.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Cincinnati Gas and Electric Co, Long Island Rail Road
Author:Hale, Melvin
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jun 1, 1991
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