Today, with the availability of totally secure connections, we are seeing our 24 x 7 remote systems management services as the fastest growing service segment within the NonStop user base. We see this growing as NonStop users look for ease of operation and piece-of-mind through proven reliability, sustainability and reduce operational cost. Furthermore, with the success of NonStop X, and virtual NonStop now a reality, NonStop is back in the news and back on companies list of must-have strategic platforms for their mission critical services. Demand for Nonstop is growing and here at TCM we find that very encouraging. We are now seeing Nonstop being considered by the wider market and this can only be good for Nonstop. However, although we see interest in NonStop growing, we are not seeing a reciprocal growth in people looking to acquire the skills to support NonStop – in fact this has been in decline for a long time now and today there is a growing skills gap.
So, as the article header asks: “who will support all the new NonStop systems?” as NonStop evolves and expands into new markets where demand for affordable mission critical is becoming the norm and where access to NonStop skills may be limited or even non-existent? The landscape for NonStop is changing and we face new challenges as critical skills become harder to find and this is something I have touched on before: “will institutions continue to be able to find, and afford, to keep NonStop support staff in-house?
Every institution we know of that relies on NonStop understands the importance of mission critical, and has done so for as many years as I care to recall, and that’s at the very root of why they continue to run HP NonStop systems as they do. But to sustain the future of Nonstop support we must also invest in our people and even though NonStop may require less care than other systems, we cannot ignore the fact that good people are required and that good NonStop people are getting much harder to find. Some of you have good people, great people in fact, but where do these people see themselves in say, 5 years’ time?
There was also a very common theme within these institutions that they needed absolute and full in-house control over these critical systems which meant close management and lots of internal, closely managed NonStop staff available to provide the day to day systems management of the systems. In true NonStop fashion, this meant a level of resource fault tolerance to ensure adequate cover was available through work peeks, holiday periods, unplanned absence, etc. This is costly but the systems are critical – so this is the only safe solution – right?
Fortunately today, this is not right.
Continuing to tap into a pool of NonStop expertise unfortunately is much like the hair on many of our heads – it’s beginning to thin noticeably.
Along with our hair, as good NonStop people have gotten thinner on the ground, new skills hard to find, training new staff taking a good few years, training courses difficult to find & schedule and, then the risk of losing key staff elsewhere as demand for Nonstop grows, we are all seeing some challenges to the in-house solution, not only in the risk of not having the right resource available at a critical time but also the associated high costs. Does this now introduce an understandable risk of exposure?
Yes it does.
We all know Nonstop is critical but we should also appreciate that the support staff looking after these systems are also critical to the overall operation and the success of the business. We therefore need to invest in great people to ensure, plan and guarantee, support availability for the longer term and this is at the very heart of what TCM does and where TCM provides value. We have built up TCM through the years by having and developing very good people.
I believe that the NonStop community is slowly starting to recognize many of the issues above as we are starting to see an understanding that the stand-alone in-house solution to support critical systems may not be the best way forward and that TCM’s cost effective remote service solutions provide the sustainable, cost-effective reliability these critical systems must have.
Institutions are now realizing that they actually have far more control over an outsourced managed solutions such as that provided by TCM, delivered by dedicated and experienced NonStop teams, where SLAs are strictly adhered to, measured and reported, where NonStop is the core business, who understands the critical nature of HPE NonStop solutions better than most.
And, the institutions in-house staff currently working on the NonStop systems – what happens to them? What do they get out of this? – Well, they hopefully become part of the TCM NonStop community, an opportunity to get back into a core NonStop community working with a dedicated NonStop service provider, where their skills are recongnised, appreciated and core to our business – and enjoy a great nonstop future where peer support is always readily available amongst some of the best NonStoppers in the world!
We at TCM anticipate becoming even more involved in the remote management of even more NonStop systems in the very near future as the remote services that TCM deliver provide the sustainable reliability these critical systems must have.
Tony Craig | Managing Director