• Niranjan Maka

A Day in the Life of ... An "Edgy"* Manager

Updated: Nov 29, 2021



*Edgy Manager: One who is responsible and accountable for keeping a certain kind of experience up and running for customers, employees and stakeholders at the #edge.


Episode 1: Jill has been waiting for this important meeting with her top management to present a cool idea she had been working on, for many months. She was told she had only thirty minutes to present, and Jill was sure she could win them over in that time. The meeting was a disaster. Jill was in tears as everything went wrong from the start – the execs walked in five minutes late, the conference room projector didn’t work till IT had to be called in and one of the key remote execs couldn’t be heard because the audio unit was broken.


Episode 2: Samson was sweating. There was a suspected break-in the previous night at one of their warehouse locations and he along with the VMS engineers was trying to get critical footage from the three cameras at the site. One of them, it appears was down for a while, one had a wrong setting for night vision capture and the third was too far to have captured anything meaningful. He knew that the next day, he would be facing his higher-ups to answer questions on what had gone wrong, and why the forensics investigation appeared dead on arrival.


Episode 3: The generator went down without warning, on Friday morning. And it was a backup generator. Ronaldo, the plant manager, knew that he can kiss his promotion goodbye, unless he produced a miracle solution to the plant floor downtime problems plaguing his unit for past few years. It turned out, the backup generator’s temperature sensor had stopped recording a while ago and the fact that the other generator had been overheating was also missed because the monitoring sensor hadn’t fired alerts. His main generator had gone down before he could detect that the vibrations were abnormal and should have been caught by the vibration sensors that were sending data. He had tried to bring in multiple vendor solutions to automate but finding it challenging to monitor these auxiliary systems was mostly always in the break-fix mode. He didn’t have the expertise nor the budget to patch the software on these ultra-modern pieces of monitoring equipment.


Uptime for the Edge: As businesses rely more and more on devices, sensors and other compute gadgets, out in the field, on the shop floor, in customer / employees collaboration areas, frustrations of those responsible for their upkeep has been rising as well. The warriors at the edge are challenged with a lack of tools to provide visibility and monitor equipment at the edge to warn them of potential downtime of critical business functions.


In episode 1 above, Vikas Jain is responsible to maintain over 120 conference rooms across five different sites and he has neither the budget nor the resources to do periodic room sweeps, file tickets when things go down. Vikas has been asking for the right tools to monitor and predict problems before they occurred. And he was constantly under fire by InfoSec to patch his devices regularly, which meant updates for one or the other device each week given he had a dozen pieces of equipment in each collaboration/conference room. IT/InfoSec on the other hand complained that given the sheer explosion in number of devices and vendors, it was becoming impossible to enforce policies to update, monitor and secure pieces of edge equipment in the hands of operations teams.


Therefore, if you are a business and check at least one of boxes below, you need to treat your edge warriors with more consideration.

  • Business has many “digital” devices and sensors that monitor, enhance and deliver customer or employee experience, example, retail store

  • A manufacturing plant that has automated monitoring of manufacturing and plant equipment using advanced devices or sensors

  • There are multiple data loggers or gateways to which are connected sensitive or critical pieces of equipment that send data to backend systems or applications

  • There are critical pieces of infrastructure like surveillance, access equipment essential to secure company assets, employees, and visitors to company premises

  • You have collaboration spaces dependent on multiple vendor products that collectively deliver an experience

If you checked any of the boxes above, you will need to find a way to go across all of your edge to track and manage “Uptime for the Edge”, and be in a position to react to things that may go wrong at the edge – because, this is the edge where your business meets your customers. This is your digital edge. This is the business edge that needs to be up & running.


In the next post, we will dive into “Uptime for the Edge” why it is a critical first step to survival at the “edge”.


Meanwhile, if you are an edge warrior and have interesting stories to share, please email us contactus@smarthub.ai


*Edgy Manager: One who is responsible and accountable for keeping a certain kind of experience up and running for customers, employees and stakeholders.


Examples:


1. A manager who maintains the customer and employee collaboration spaces like conference rooms, display systems in common areas, kiosks etc.,

2. A manager responsible for all security equipment including but not limited to surveillance cameras, access panels

3. Facilities manager responsible to know that the hundreds of utilities meters, lighting sensors, temperature sensors are all indeed working and if any of the intermediate components need to be maintained for periodic patches etc., to keep their warranty on, they are indeed patched

4. A sub-station manager responsible for upkeep and maintenance of servers that don’t overheat, the threshold conditions are not breached and software patches are diligently applied with planned downtime.



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