Pat Cluney is a senior technical officer of Network Support at South East Technological University (SETU) in Waterford, Ireland. His team is responsible for supporting everything from infrastructure connectivity to physical security across all Waterford campuses of SETU.
Pat shares his experiences from working with Cisco to gain insights into the health of his critical infrastructure, which supports key education services.
South East Technological University (SETU) is a multicampus technological university with campuses across the southeast of Ireland. SETU offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and part-time programs in business, engineering, science, health sciences, education, and humanities.
SETU Waterford is a longtime Cisco customer, and we have been utilizing Cisco network and wireless solutions for decades. Our network environment is essential to campus operations. We rely on it for connectivity to student and faculty devices as well as physical security and public safety systems at our facilities.
We've migrated our network to more advanced solutions several times, and we're keen to use the very latest technology to support students, instructors, and administrators. This has required us to interact with Cisco in a much more integrated fashion.
In the past, we had partners who provided the primary support gateway for us to Cisco. This was not always the most efficient model. To make the most of our investment, we sought a better way to interact with Cisco from an enhanced support perspective.
As we reviewed our organization, we found there were operational gaps in managing cases, product return requests, and understanding support coverage status for devices and Cisco TAC cases.
I monitor our support coverage costs on an annual basis, so we can justify excess charges to management. However, tracking costs on an Excel spreadsheet is extremely time-consuming. Poring over a static document with hundreds of lines to track down what’s covered in a service contract took my focus away from important responsibilities and strategic activities.
Tracking support coverage has been especially important for our organization in recent months due to supply chain issues. If a device fails, we may encounter a lead time of 50 to 150 days to get it replaced. We needed a better way to gain control over our network and ensure support coverage.
We set out to find a better way to gain insights into our network, to make better decisions about our environment, and offer a better experience to individuals that were using the applications and services on our infrastructure.
We chose Cisco Success Tracks to help us realize the full value of our Cisco technology investments by connecting us to expertise, insights, learning, and support.
Success Tracks impressed us with the learning and predictive maintenance components. We were eager to leverage the CX Cloud capabilities such as optimal software versions, regulatory compliance checks, risk mitigation checks, automated fault management, and case management KPIs.
Knowing more about the state of our infrastructure and its devices, and getting the support we need faster, helps us maintain a healthier environment—one that can better serve students and administrators.
“The rich data in CX Cloud helps ensure accuracy in asset contracts. It took us many weeks to manually validate serial numbers and contract costs. CX Cloud provides real-time tracking at a click of a button.”—Pat Cluney, senior technical officer, Network Support, South East Technological University
CX Cloud is the interface for Success Tracks, and it delivers a complete view of our Cisco installed base, on a single pane of glass. It provides tools that let us search and drill down to any asset’s hardware and software details.
With the CX Cloud dashboard view, I can access information with the click of a button, rather than the previous process of going through a third party to get the same information. I can now access the information quickly and easily.
CX Cloud also simplifies processes such as tracking costs, because I have real-time visibility into contracts and licenses. In the past, tracking assets via Excel was very time-consuming, because information about our buildings and devices was often disorganized.
CX Cloud not only saves me time if a device has an issue, but also allows me to plan and budget for future needs more effectively.
Initially, we started using CX Cloud for improved visibility, but now it has provided several other positive outcomes. CX Cloud is helping our institution improve its internal processes as well. We’re a collaborative organization, and the export comma separated value (CSV) feature helps us share inventory data across many different teams, quickly and easily.
With CX Cloud I can also set up assets in different groups, to track devices in different buildings. Additionally, planning and billing can be charged directly to a specific building, without much work on my end. With less time on manual work, I can focus on more strategic activities, such as better aligning our environment to support students and administrators.
Improved knowledge of our environment helps us minimize risks and keep performance at its peak. If we need to return a product, the Case Management feature lets us monitor RMA returns in real time, so we’re always aware of the status of a replacement part and can plan accordingly to keep our applications and services running until it arrives.
In the past, we’d phone or email a partner, and we might need to go back and forth with them to determine whether a particular solution was covered by support. It might have taken us two or three days to log a support call, which could increase the risk that a device might fail—and take down essential educational services with it.
I can now create a TAC case in minutes. I've been using the TAC bot for logging these calls for TAC information. It gives me a central view where I can go in, look at the device, see that it’s covered on the contract, log a TAC support case with the click of a button.
CX Cloud also offers e-learning content and practice labs that we can utilize for team enablement and upskilling. This content is extra appreciated because we’re in the process of merging with another educational institute and this will be very useful in training new team members.
CX Cloud will also assist us in the major network refresh of the institute we are merging with. I’ll work closely with their IT organization to improve their network to match ours, and we’ll continually improve from there. I expect Cisco CX Cloud to help us streamline and simplify that process.
As we continue to evolve through this merger and beyond, CX Cloud will be an integral tool for the growth of our institution. Our plan in IT is to continue to innovate to support the university overall and to ensure the best possible experience for our students and faculty.