• March 15, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

NextNine Upgrades Its Service Automation Suite

Service automation vendor NextNine released on Monday version 4.0 of NextNine Service Automation (NSA), its flagship service and support product suite. NextNine, which provides remote service and support solutions for business systems, focused on improving diagnostics, remote access, and alarm management for support personnel in version 4.0. NextNine's NSA suite is designed to support an IT staff by automating many repair and support processes necessary to prevent services like Internet connectivity or text messaging from failing. These processes include proactive monitoring, preventive maintenance, inventory tracking, and software distribution, all from a remote location. NextNine has added new ad-hoc diagnostics in NSA 4.0 to enable remote access and diagnoses of both standard and proprietary applications, including Windows and Linux, enabling a company's support engineer "to approve or disapprove software changes from a remote location," says Gil Levonai, vice president of marketing. In addition, NextNine has improved remote access by adding new Telnet and Web protocols, and enhanced NSA's alarm management by improving rule definitions and alarm correlations to ensure timely receipt of alerts. A new interface lets NSA's Site Server send notifications directly to a company's network management system. "We improved alarm management so a company's support engineer is always aware of potential problems, but isn't being [awakened] in the middle of the night every five minutes for something little," Levonai says. Finally, NSA 4.0 provides support engineers with a new list of processes to ensure full compliance with HIPAA regulations and Sarbanes Oxley throughout the support process. NextNine fills an important niche within a company's IT infrastructure, writes Michael Maoz, vice president and Gartner fellow, in his "Cool Vendors in Customer Relationship Management" report. "A critical limitation of most support automation applications is that they are restricted to the systems within an organization's IT infrastructure, rather than across the entire business, which often includes third-party support, data centers, or partners." One advantage of a product like NSA is its ability to reduce support and service costs while improving a company's service to its customers across the entire IT infrastructure, considering how expensive it can be for service technicians and engineers to diagnose network issues and develop solutions to the problems, Maoz says. "When service level agreements stipulate short time frames for the restoration of service, a system like this can automatically check connections, data availability, and system status. That can mean the difference between fulfillment of contracted obligations or incurring a service penalty." Related articles: Flying High on Service Automation
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