It’s a fact: inefficiencies, collaboration, and time-dependent tasks go hand-in-hand. Different teams and different engineers could end up working on the same issue, unaware the other […]

Network Diagrams Improve Teamwork, Reduce Redundancies

It’s a fact: inefficiencies, collaboration, and time-dependent tasks go hand-in-hand. Different teams and different engineers could end up working on the same issue, unaware the other […]


It’s a fact: inefficiencies, collaboration, and time-dependent tasks go hand-in-hand. Different teams and different engineers could end up working on the same issue, unaware the other side is doing the same…and wasting valuable time that could be better spent. Mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) is arrived at by how long it takes to identify a problem and then identify the problem’s source: the less information, and the longer it takes to fix a problem…the greater the MTTR.

When you don’t have the information you need to find the problem and the root cause, you end up hunting down needles in haystacks. Network diagram software, such as netTerrain Logical, provides needed transparency: different engineers in the organization can see what has already been done and the outcome.

Some of the key benefits (which many may overlook when considering automated network documentation) include: collaboration, change management, unifying network diagram views.

Collaboration

Network diagrams break down silos. Instead of just having Bob, the guy who knows everything about the network (and who’s probably going to retire soon) as your sole source of network information, you have software that turns on a floodlight on network status, issues, and who’s done what…and when.

By having a centralized repository of your network diagrams (key for effective collaboration), network engineers can communicate with each other and quickly solve a problem. Network diagrams provide the deep insights needed to quickly bring issues to a resolution. Using network diagrams that are up-to-date, it’s easy to know what has already been done and how network devices are connected.

With network diagrams in place, when your company’s version of Bob (Jim? Mary?) moves on or retires (which will happen), all the knowledge transfer is almost immediate to your next staff member, as all of the information about the network is stored with your network diagrams (and no desperately trying to interrupt Bob or Mary’s well-deserved shuffleboard game in Aruba).

Work order management

Work order management assists your team with workflow and change management processes.

I recently wrote an article on how tools such as netTerrain can be used as an effective change management solution.

In netTerrain, for example, users can create and schedule tasks with due dates, assign to an owner, and status values. When new tasks are created, or completed, notifications are sent. Reports on tasks and work orders can be created with criteria such as past due, owners, and custom inputs. By having a work order system in place, you eliminate the guessing game of “when was the network diagram last updated?”….and “can be used as a trusted source of data?”

Unite disparate tools

Do you have data trapped in silos — for example, one team using a homegrown system or spreadsheets, and another team using Visio and a network monitoring tool, like Solarwinds Orion NPM? The data in these various tools may be invaluable to access — but, without a unified path for data access, it’s just…trapped. Network Diagram software such as netTerrain gives you the power to import files and easily connect to third-party systems such as Solarwinds and ServiceNow.

By importing third party data sources and keeping all the data and diagrams, in one repository, this what we call a visual CMDB, will help your network engineers to go home early and enough time to walk their dog, make dinner early for a change, or spend more time with their families and hobbies!

To summarize, network diagrams improve teamwork, reduce redundancies, and save time. Inefficiencies lead to teamwork issues…and teamwork issues lead to wasted time. With network diagram software such as netTerrain, you can improve your mean-time-to-repair, get your staff home on time, and save money on overtime.

Fred Koh
Fred Koh
As a seasoned sales executive, Fred Koh serves as Director of Sales and is responsible for Graphical Networks sales and channel partner program, marketing strategy, and operations.

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