Ok, here we go with the lists again…(if you hate our lists, blame David Letterman and not me). At Graphical Networks, we make netTerrain OSP (outside plant software). Therefore, we get our fair share of folks who think they may need OSP/fiber plant software…but aren’t confident (we also get our fair share of folks who know they need it as soon as possible). To help out the folks on the fence, today’s blog post will look at some warning signs that indicate you just might need outside plant software….’for real’, as the kids say.
#5 Warning Sign You Need Outside Plant Software
Let’s face it: that Excel tracking sheet takes minutes to open. Yeah, you have so much data in the spreadsheet for tracking all those cables and strands: from path patch panels inside buildings to splice boxes in manholes (or pits, as our friends on the other side of the pond call them). Using Excel for all of that outside plant stuff can be a tracking nightmare. I know firsthand: I have seen them…some real nice spreadsheets that takes a really smart person to navigate.
That one person who can navigate them? Don’t let her or him go on vacation forever. Complex spreadsheets are not all that easy to figure out if you are not familiar with it. With a proper OSP tool, it’s not just one person’s Excel sheet: it is shared knowledge everyone can access when needed. It’s one place to have all this data in a system that is built just for that. So, if you’re tracking in Excel and you have one person who can use and understand the sheet, it’s time to stop that and get something purpose built.
#4 Warning Sign You Need Outside Plant Software
The only way to answer the question of ‘do we have strands available for this…?’ is to jump into manholes/pits and start checking. That’s a warning sign you need OSP software.
Why do you have to jump into a manhole? You may not even have any documentation. It’s one of those things that never happened and at this point is overwhelming to start. But is it really? Every time you need an answer to a question about the OSP environment you have to go do some manual audit. Not exactly a time saver. Maybe it would be best to put a plan in place and get that stuff documented.
#3 Warning Sign You Need Outside Plant Software
Your inside plant and outside plant don’t seem to connect together: they may as well be two separate planets. You may be tracking outside plant like the splices and cables and conduits. But do you have a good picture of how this all ties into the inside of your plant? How about those cables running into your buildings? It might be nice to see all these in one view versus in different and disparate software systems or, gulp, spreadsheets…all those tabs.
#2 Warning Sign You Need Outside Plant Software
Ever noticed that your fiber contractor always seems to be driving new cars? Yeah, because every time you need to answer a question you have to get your contractor out in the field for a day or two. That’s a lot of wear and tear…not to mention the associated costs. What would happen if you took the knowledge gathered and put it into a system you could access whenever, wherever?
#1 Warning Sign You Need Outside Plant Software
And, in true David Letterman style, the #1 warning sign you may need outside plant software? You have nightmares about backhoes and cut cables.
You know when a catastrophe strikes you are not going to know what is impacted and the pieces that need put back together. Now…if you just had some good documentation. Think ‘humpty dumpty’ but with instructions on how to put him back together again.
To sum up, if any of the above scenarios rang a bell, it may be time to look at exactly how outside plant software can benefit your organization and make your job easier (and more effective). We’ve written many blog posts about our OSP software netTerrain OSP, so you may want to dive in below: