TOC-Automation – A new tool for IT support at the highest level


This press release was originally issued by Release the thread

Kazan, Russia – (Release the thread) – 09/27/2021 – Automating routine IT infrastructure support tasks is an important area that enables IT companies to provide businesses with better quality of service. Automation systems take over a number of routine tasks and free up the time and resources of human technicians to deal with larger problems.

A good example of such an automation tool is the TOC automation system that ICL Services uses to support the IT infrastructure of its customers. We spoke with the head of the business management group, Vladislav Mukhametzyanov, about how the system was developed and its current use.

What is a table of contents and what kind of work does it do in the company?

A COT is an on-call technician. Essentially, this is a highly skilled engineer who takes charge of a client’s IT infrastructure outside of standard business hours, evenings, holidays, or weekends. A technician on call does not need to come to the office, but he must be on call at all times on his professional phone number. If there is a problem with a customer’s IT infrastructure, the on-call technician receives a call from the on-call engineer in the monitoring department, who operates in 24/7 mode. Once the on-call technician receives the call, they remotely log into the customer’s system and resolve the issue.

What is the main idea behind the TOC automation project?

TOC Automation is a system that integrates directly into the customer’s IT department monitoring and management systems and, in the event of an incident, the system automatically alerts the on-call technician. The types of incidents we are talking about here are IT infrastructure issues that can affect customer’s business processes and cause serious damage to their business.

Essentially, a TOC automation system allows us to eliminate the need for a monitoring service operator to manually call the on-call technician as the notification will automatically be sent by the TOC automation system. The system is programmed in such a way that if the call from the on-call technician fails, it automatically escalates it to the project manager. All relevant information about the incident is simultaneously transmitted to the on-call technician by SMS.

How did the project come about and how much time did it spend?

The history of TOC automation began with the creation of an initiative research group. The group began its work in July 2019 and had completed it in September of the same year, as it had achieved all of its goals.

For two months, the team studied and analyzed foreign notification solutions. SaaS solutions currently available in the market have been reviewed, such as PagerDuty and Voximplant. These solutions have very good tools for reporting IT incidents to staff, but they are extremely expensive. The group decided to develop an internal system and quickly set up a prototype. Then, a proof of concept system was put in place for one of the accounts, which demonstrated the viability of the solution.

Once the project management approved the project and it was confirmed that a minimum viable product was ready for deployment, the project business case was successfully presented for deployment on 4 accounts. The results of the deployment of the minimum viable product once again demonstrated that the chosen solutions were correct and that there was a demand for this type of system and that it could potentially save the company a lot of money.

What functions does the TOC automation system offer and how have they evolved over time?

Since 2019, many new functions have been added to the system. Today, in addition to calling and texting the on-call technicians, the TOC automation system can also email them and send messages to a pre-selected Telegram channel. In addition, the security policy has been improved, a reporting module has been developed and, in order to comply with the Service Level Agreement, a functionality has been added to notify the on-call technician only after the expiration of a period of predefined wait. A special algorithm has also been developed to prevent on-call technicians and management from being spammed with messages in the event that a customer’s IT infrastructure experiences a series of recurring incidents of the same type.

What are the competitive advantages of the COT automation system?

A tangible benefit of TOC automation is the flexibility and customization of the system so that it can be easily tailored to the needs of specific customers. Thus, the original solution was used to develop an automatic notification system for field engineers for the 1C Snaryad system (by phone and SMS). As part of the deployment of specific solutions, an important advantage is the tight integration of TOC-Automation with the popular 1C platform, allowing the system to be configured to use on-call technicians’ duty schedules, on-call time. engineering teams and to call, if necessary, the personal telephone numbers of engineers extracted from their employee files in 1C.

In which projects has the system been used and what results have been achieved?

We have already deployed TOC automation for 17 clients and for 2 internal projects at ICL Services. The main effect of deploying TOC automation has been to improve the efficiency of our 24/7 monitoring engineers and dispatchers through the automation of telephone notifications. Current estimates suggest that at present, TOC automation saves us 6.81 full-time equivalents, which allows us to significantly increase the efficiency of our monitoring stations. Before the system was deployed, each monitoring station managed 4 projects. Now each one manages 6-7 projects. In addition, the system significantly reduces human errors and thus improves the quality of service.

About ICL Services
ICL Services is one of the 10 largest IT service companies in Russia and the top 100 IT outsourcing companies in the world; an important part of the ICL group of companies and a key business partner of Fujitsu. The core competence of the company is intelligent people who work in streamlined processes on hundreds of projects. The service catalog contains more than 60 services.

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