Cloud monitoring for Cisco Catalyst switches increases visibility into the network infrastructure
Meraki dashboard provides a single view for simplified troubleshooting
Cisco DNA Center provides provisioning capabilities and insights into network operations and connected endpoints
Reduction in number of help desk applications from five to a single view in the Meraki dashboard
More than 10% time-to-resolution savings on closing tickets
Help desk teams of 15 people located in four countries support 3,000 employees
The Meraki dashboard is an excellent combination of simplicity and intuitive features. Help desk staff are just one or two clicks away from client and switch information that is actionable so that problems are solved in much shorter timeframes.
Network Architect at Solar A/S
Solar A/S is a European sourcing and services company for electrical, heating, plumbing, ventilation, and climate and energy solutions. The 3,000+ employees in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland focus on product sourcing, value-adding services, and optimizing customers’ businesses.
Solar A/S is on a multi-year project to update their network infrastructure—switches, wireless access points, and network management—to accommodate new lines of business and the applications needed to connect employees with customers worldwide.
A primary goal of the project was to reduce and consolidate the number and types of networking devices needed to support the business and help simplify network management. The distributed help desk teams that troubleshoot network issues from employees and customers needed an easy-to-understand view of switch port status and connected devices instead of relying on the technical NetOps team at headquarters for resolutions.
Frank Osberg, Network Architect at Solar A/S, began the project by replacing 15-year-old, end-of-life switches with 500 new Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches to significantly improve network performance among sites. Provisioning and manageability were also enhanced by transitioning to Cisco DNA Center from Cisco Prime Infrastructure. Given the higher capacity per port, this first phase reduced the number of switches needed, thus decreasing the power requirements due to the higher efficiency of the modern switches.
Osberg’s team also implemented Cisco Meraki SD-WAN to connect and manage the many sites of Solar’s distributed organization. The ease of implementation of the software-defined WAN and the simplicity of Meraki cloud management convinced Osberg that moving the Cisco Catalyst switches to Meraki cloud monitoring would benefit the distributed help desk teams. The easy-to-use Meraki dashboard enables help desk teams to quickly pinpoint port and client issues that otherwise might have forced them to seek help from NetOps experts—a step that increased time to resolution. A quick ten-minute proof-of-concept demo of the Meraki dashboard for the help desk managers clinched the idea that having deeper visibility into network devices would reduce the time to resolution for many common issues.
While Cisco DNA Center is the primary network management system for the core NetOps team, the three regional help desks now use the Meraki dashboard to pinpoint and fix issues reported by employees and customers. As a result, the help desk teams are more self-sufficient and proactive when finding and fixing various network issues.
“Instead of going through multiple screens and using five or six applications, the help desk can find the information they need in one or two clicks. We now close tickets that used to take hours in 10 to 15 minutes. This is a time savings of more than 10%,” Osberg relates.
With Cisco DNA Center’s centralized network management, the core NetOps team has more control over details of network operations, from provisioning to monitoring to setting security policies. Meanwhile, the distributed help desk teams can gain insights into connectivity problems faster, enabling the NetOps team at headquarters to spend more time planning and implementing innovative solutions that boost the business.
Giving our group service desk access to the Meraki dashboard simplifies and accelerates troubleshooting, while Cisco DNA Center has made my network team more agile,” states Osberg. “Together, we can operate as a more unified team, solving internal technical issues and those affecting customers that the help desk can solve more efficiently.
More benefits can accrue from upgrading the Cisco Catalyst platform, as the process can reduce the number of network devices in use and lower energy consumption. Cisco DNA Center can also help IT better match network switching and access point capacity with projected growth in the business and optimize future upgrades, which avoids over-provisioning and energy consumption. This is important for Solar A/S’s business goals, as they aim to have the Denmark headquarters run on renewable energy and be 100% self-sufficient by the end of 2024. Energy-saving achievements can help organizations make progress toward their sustainability goals.