Communicating any deviation from normal parameters or escalating an issue on a food processing line as or before it occurs is critical for maintaining efficiency and avoiding downtime, explains Randi Barshack, chief marketing officer of xMatters.
“The Internet of Things means that everything is monitored. Condition monitoring is a ‘big’ data issue and much of the time, all the money is invested in monitoring with real time analytics. But you need to communicate to the right person at the right time in order to tackle any issues arising,” said Randi. “Developing timely communications is vital. If you have 50 people in an IT department and the network goes down, you only need the right person to respond and fix the issue, but you need to contact that person rapidly to avoid downtime or worse. And, you need to know that they have responded!”
xMatters has created a solution that manages the communication effectively, so that there is no time lag between a machine indicating a problem and the correct person responding. Based on a ‘ticketing’ system, a communication is assigned to a person, who must actively accept or reject the invitation to respond. There is a finite period built-in for responding. If a ticket is rejected by a respondee, the system automatically communicates directly with the next person on the list for such an issue.
xMatters chief marketing officer Randi Barshack.
“Not having this intelligent layer in place can lead to downtime or disruptions, which, if avoided, could pay for the implementation of our system with just one incident,” said Randi, who explained that digital telecommunications has made such a solution possible.
“At the core of xMatters’ solution is a cloud infrastructure, which can make 50 to 100 calls or 5,000 texts at once. A fundamental change is that telecommunications have become untethered from the physical components that restrained them. With mobile apps, it all happens via the internet; and everyone with a mobile phone can be contacted instantly. 50% of the time it takes to fix an issue can be the time it takes to find the person needed. Using xMatters, it’s possible to alert the right person at once.”
It is in the realm of monitoring and responding that operations and IT experience their greatest crossover. Whereas in the past, machine operation was purely a matter for operational personnel, today, IT can play such a vital part in sensor and control technology that the two worlds are coming increasingly close together.
“IT departments are still ahead of the game in terms of how things are monitored as they have greater experience of monitoring technologies and the requirements for alerts. However, operations can learn a lot from IT departments. It seems obvious to me that they should be run together,” said Randi.
Kellogg Company has already adopted xMatters’ on-demand cloud IT communications solutions as a strategic part of its enterprise-wide IT infrastructure redesign.
Looking to improve its IT efficiency, Kellogg implemented a more modern, multi-tiered monitoring solution from ScienceLogic deployed to gain more granular insight into its entire IT structure down to the application level. This in-depth visibility resulted in an exponential increase in the number of managed and monitored devices from 1,100 to more than 8,000 – in turn increasing the already overwhelming number of alerts received by the IT department, and increasing the number of people required to become involved in the event of an IT issue and disruption to the business.
With the xMatters on-demand cloud communications layer in place, in the event of an incident, the technology automatically pinpoints and alerts the required individuals or IT teams and external service providers needed to coordinate and collaborate quickly to rectify the issue. Whether it be assigning a ticket, setting up an instant conference bridge or escalating communications in alignment with pre-defined processes, xMatters facilitates two-way communications to the relevant internal IT teams and external service providers responsible for a rapid resolution.
“Today’s IT departments require more granular and modern monitoring tools for complete visibility into each and every distributed IT environment due to the fact that problem isolation and root cause analysis in the area of IT are becoming more and more difficult. However, more granular reporting of more IT environments causes an exponential increase in the number of alerts received by the IT department, causing those alerts that require immediate attention to fall through the cracks. At xMatters, we’re working to cure the problem of alert fatigue with our intelligent communications solution, alerting only those individual IT teams responsible for the technologies under fire, and helping them connect faster and work together better to solve IT issues quicker,” said Troy McAlpin, CEO of xMatters.
More information on communication and condition monitoring can be found in the September issue of Food & Beverage International. Click here to subscribe.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019