Setting the standard: GlobalNOC seeks ISO certification

APRIL 15, 2015

For nearly 17 years, Indiana University’s Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC) has helped to set a standard of excellence in the maintenance and operation of the world’s most advanced research and education networks. Now, its leaders are taking excellence to a whole new level by seeking International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 20,000 certification.

As the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards, ISO sets standards for many industries, including manufacturing, healthcare and agriculture. These standards combine best practices, process and procedure to get predictable outputs from various inputs. Standards generally ensure consistency, safety and reliability. The GlobalNOC is seeking ISO 20,000, a standard for information technology service management, for its service desk, engineering and software development arms.

IU leaders expect to achieve the new certification by the end of 2016, and it’s their customers who will get the biggest return on investment.

“We are seeking ISO 20,000 to further demonstrate our commitment to operational excellence, continual improvement and dedication to providing best-of-breed network operation services to our customers,” said Brandon Beale, the GlobalNOC service desk manager who will shepherd IU through the ISO process. “Service delivery and the support processes around it will be standardized, certifying a predictable result. Most of the ISO 20,000 implementation will be transparent to our customer. What they’ll see is an even more efficient method of service delivery that reduces response time and errors, resulting in increased customer satisfaction.”

Happy customers are at the heart of everything the GlobalNOC does. Its 100 staff members provide the operations and engineering support to 23 international and national high-performance research and education networks, including Internet2, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Indiana’s own state network, I-Light. With individualized attention and innovative network support, GlobalNOC network engineers ensure the reliability, performance and advanced capabilities of every network.

Dave Jent, IU associate vice president for networks, has high hopes for ISO’s impact on the GlobalNOC. “I believe this certification will make our services and processes better while increasing the value we provide to our customers,” he said. “Being ISO certified is kind of like buying a box of cereal and reading all the ingredients on the side — you know exactly what you’re buying.”

Jent said this exactitude is vital when vying for military and federal government contracts, which are likely to require partners be ISO certified in the near future.

With 256 standardized tasks, from how to run a meeting and how to write a document to how to provide a service and run a process, ISO takes the guesswork out of the equation – it’s all by the book. GlobalNOC staff are currently identifying any gaps between their current procedures and ISO 20,000 requirements, closing those gaps and preparing for an external audit next year to ensure compliance with the requirements of the standard.

“ISO certification is truly continuous improvement,” said Jent. “We’ll be audited every two years, recertified every three years. By doing so, we strengthen our commitment to our customers and to remaining one of the world leaders in network operations and management.”