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Communications directorate
Mike Doolin, director of the 72nd Air Base Wing Communications Directorate, refers to the SC Maintenance Activity Calendar while conducting the daily operations center meeting with SC management personnel. The daily meeting helps SC review and discuss the status of scheduled maintenance activities, and has increased overall efficiency in operations. (Air Force photo by David Faytinger)
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72nd ABW/SC introduces operations center

Posted 2/25/2011   Updated 2/25/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Public Affairs


2/25/2011 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- The 72nd Communications Directorate is going from "good to great."

Last fall, the directorate started to introduce the concept of an operations center to better the Tinker user experience. The first iteration of this concept was the institution of daily SC operations updates, a recurring meeting where all of the directorate's priority decision-making and problem-solving occurs. The focus from the beginning was the user experience, not the technology, but looking at Information Technology from a customer's perspective. In January, the directorate established a "physical" location for its Operations Center. Managed by two individuals, Shelly Harris and Mark Van Duker, their objective is working high-priority issues and relaying information between directorate work centers, external Air Force Information Technology organizations, non-72nd ABW/SC operations centers and 72nd Air Base Wing and Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center senior leaders.

"This is the heartbeat of the organization; the place where situation awareness comes together for enterprise-level SC decision-making," said Mike Doolin, 72nd ABW/SC director, who sees the initiative as an example of implementing 72nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Bob LaBrutta's vision of "going from good to great." "The objective is not to micro-manage, but to bring the visibility of high-impact and high-priority items up to the directorate level, to ensure the most important problems are receiving the attention necessary to resolve them in a timely manner."

The communications directorate uses a "tiered approach" to problem-solving. Issues an individual can solve using the SC Web page are categorized as "Tier 0." If someone calls the Help Desk and the issue is resolved with the help of a technician, it was a "Tier 1" issue. If the technician needs to visit the work site, it is a "Tier 2." If the issue is large-scale, such as those affecting an entire unit, it is categorized as "Tier 3" or "high-impact/high priority" and is a job for the operations center.

Headquartered in Bldg. 3001G, the operations center staff reviews day-to-day operations and issues for Tinker customers who use not only communication devices including phones and computers, but also any other IT-related capability like the Installation Notification and Warning System, and the hand-held radios and network used by Security Forces, commanders and emergency management personnel. Monitored on screens against the front wall, they track temperature sensors at the server farm and correct issues, monitor the overall situational awareness like status of network connectivity and security; plus view Help Desk ticket metrics, noting who has issues and how quickly they're resolved.

Prior to the change, there was no "Tier 3" or any one entity to manage such issues.

"There were so many moving parts providing their own kind of service; they had visibility of their own part, but no one was doing anything to provide visibility for high-impact/high-priority issues that impact our customers," said Mr. Van Duker, 72nd ABW/SC lead technician.

In addition to brainstorming and introducing the concept of the operations center, the directorate also brought it to fruition with little expense. They moved items from other on-base locations and performed the tear-down and set-up work organically.

In the upcoming months, officials said the operations center will extend to two more positions.

"Yes, we've got a bunch of cool technology, gizmos and stuff, but at the end it's a customer-service business and that's all we really provide," Mr. Van Duker said.

Mr. Doolin agreed.

"The only reason we did this was for our users, so we can be better prepared and understand some of the problems coming at our users and provide them a better service," he said.



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