Infrastructure Management Software Blog

When is a NOC an Operations Bridge

I've been pondering about recognition of the term "Operations Bridge" for some time now and decided I'd air some thoughts and see what people think.
The term "NOC" (Network Operations Center) has been floating around for years, it seems to originate in the telco world but has been adopted by many organizations to refer to some sort of centralized operations function.

But then a lot of organizations still use the term NOC to refer to the Network (only) operations center - the silo which owns and operates the network.
So there's the problem that I have with the term NOC.. It's somewhat indistinct, means different things to different people.
ITIL V3 recognizes the term "Operations Bridge" as part of the "Service Operation" discipline:
"A physical location where IT Services and IT Infrastructure are monitored and managed."
My view is that this is a nice clear definition of the 'modern NOC '- the place where ALL IT infrastructure monitoring comes together and is related to the services which depend on the infrastructure. It avoids confusion about whether we're talking about a "network only" monitoring silo or a full consolidated event and performance management organization.
We're using the term Operations Bridge in our own outbound marketing materials. But here is the "rub"... We've done some surveys and the term "Operations Bridge" is not universally recognized - i.e. People do not instantly recognize it or are able to explain what it is.
This is not everyone of course but it is true of a large proportion of the people that we tested the term with. I have to add that recognition levels are higher in Europe than the US, maybe something to do with the broader adoption of ITIL . 
Interestingly as soon as you start to explain what an "Operations Bridge" is, people "get it" - you don't even need to finish the explanation. It just makes so much sense - and everyone understands the concept of a "Bridge" as a central point of monitoring and control, either because of some nautical knowledge or a passion for Star Trek.
So, I'm on a campaign to drive widespread adoption of the term "Operations Bridge" - and move away from the indistinct and sometime confusing term NOC. Make NOC exactly what it states - an NETWORK Operations Center, and use Operations Bridge to describe a 21st Century consolidate IT Infrastructure monitoring function.
What do you think? Please enter your response in the comment field below. You may respond anonymously, if you choose.

(A) Yes NOC should be network only, "Operations Bridge" is the centralized monitorng point
(B) No, NOC is the right term
(C) It does not matter, both terms can be used
(D) Other (please elaborate)

For Operations Center, Jon Haworth