BlackBerry has always had a reputation for reliability. This is one of the organization’s greatest points of pride. Governments and multi-national corporations across the globe entrust the organization with some of their most mission-critical processes.
As the Senior Director of BlackBerry’s Network Operations Center (NOC), Jeff McDonald leads the charge in keeping BlackBerry infrastructure online. He and his team act as the guardians of BlackBerry’s network, providing incident detection, triage, and resolution. Working 24/7, they help maintain connectivity on a global scale, working closely with BlackBerry’s Customer Support Organization.
Incident management aside, one of the NOC’s most important tasks lies in keeping BlackBerry’s clients informed. During an incident, clear, efficient communication is arguably a business’s most important responsibility. It’s imperative that customers not only know what’s going on, but also understand what is being done to address a developing situation.
Initially, the NOC addressed this via a single communication analyst who each shift would reach out to affected clients and coordinate messaging around an incident.
Unfortunately, as BlackBerry continued to grow, this task became increasingly complex. Notification periods of an hour or more were common, as incident reports were subject to a lengthy approval process. BlackBerry’s acquisition of BlackBerry® AtHoc® represented an opportunity to evolve and improve.
BlackBerry AtHoc as a Tool for Automated Incident Management
Rather than adding a new tool to the workflow of its operators, the NOC has integrated BlackBerry AtHoc directly into its existing incident response process. When an operator creates a new ticket or updates an existing ticket, a predefined template is automatically generated and sent out to all relevant users. Alerts can also be sent directly through the AtHoc console as necessary.
Since the implementation – which took only a month – BlackBerry AtHoc has seen extensive use, both amongst clients and internally.
“It wasn’t really until we got deep into the project that we realized how impactful our notifications are, and how thankful customers are to receive updates from a trusted source,” McDonald explains. “Some have even integrated BlackBerry AtHoc into their own existing mass communication systems, building elaborate rules to parse and distribute notifications to specific departments.”
Thanks to BlackBerry AtHoc, notification times for service interruptions have dropped to fifteen minutes or less, and there’s less chance of a message being lost in the noise or not being properly delivered. The NOC’s implementation of the platform had another unexpected gain, as well. After seeing how the NOC used BlackBerry AtHoc to connect with client’s IT departments, BlackBerry’s Customer Support Organization recognized an opportunity of its own.
“Our highest tier of service involves a Premium Service Manager that acts as a dedicated liaison for a client,” explains Sasha Herakovic, Vice President of Global Enterprise Support. “These clients have given us distribution lists of people they have identified as key stakeholders – customers, business leaders, and so on. During an incident, we work with the NOC to provide a definitive picture of what’s happening and how it may impact their business.”
“This information is sent out through our own instance of BlackBerry AtHoc,” he continues. “Feedback has been excellent. Clients appreciate the extra level of insight and perspective we provide, and we’ve seen call volumes drop considerably during service interruptions – people know what they need to know, when they need to know it.”
Going Beyond Crisis Communication
BlackBerry has a reputation to uphold. As an innovator. As an organization with secure, powerful, and reliable global infrastructure. As a business that always has and always will put its clients first.
Through both its regular operations and its use of BlackBerry AtHoc, BlackBerry’s Network Operations Center and Customer Support Organization embody these ideals and more.
Read the full case study here.