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I receive several inquiries a week from agency recruiters all over the World who are looking for an expert in HP Openview or one of the many other enterprise monitoring software products that I work with.

Even though I have been building Network Operating Centers (NOC) for 25 years, even I rarely meet all of the requirements on their typically very lengthy list. I am also asked to jump through a gauntlet of hoops that include reference checks, background checks, credit checks and multiple, lengthy phone interrogations before the recruiter will even consider "submitting me" to the client.

And "submitting me" typically means e-mailing my resume along with a heap of others belonging to out of work technicians who can't even spell NOC much less design and build one.

After all is said and done, the job pays a fraction of what my skills and experience are worth and I am expected to travel to the site, live in a hotel 7 days a week, pay for a rental car all out of my own pocket!

Needless to say, it's rare to be approached by an agency about a project that I would actually be interested in taking on.

If you've done any investigation, you know that HP Openview Professional Services charges $250 per hour. And those guys, while experts with HP Openview, do not design and build NOCs. They simply install and configure Openview software. And anyone who has ever managed a NOC deployment that failed knows there is a lot more to building a NOC than installing software.

VARs charge in the $180 to $200 per hour range to put one of their Techs on your site. The Tech only earns $25 per hour and is really just pre-sales support, reassigned to rack up some billable hours for the company.

And all of the abovementioned, way more expensive options only know one or two software products. So any purchase "recommendations" they might suggest would have a lot more to do with their commission than with recommending something you actually need.

I recently followed someone else after he totally botched a NOC deployment. This guy was way more expensive than I am yet he was unable to do even the basic installation and configuration work, much less any custom NOC designing. He "recommended" that the customer buy TWO (VERY expensive) design consoles. Anyone who has an even passing knowledge of this particular software knows that you cannot have more than one design console session running at a time, so there's $100,000 down the drain right there.

I know that many of the clients who contact agencies looking for someone like me are willing to pay in the $125 - $150 per hour range for my time. The problem is that Agencies tend to be greedy and want to keep 50% or more of the billable revenue for themselves.... for doing a Google search to find me!

I do all the work. The Agency collects more than half of the money. Does this seems fair to you? I recently received an "opportunity" to work on an HP Openview NOC deployment project in the Bay area. The rate was $45 per hour (on a 1099). This means that after paying my airfare, hotel, meals and rental car expenses, it would COST ME around $15 per hour to work for these jerks. Small wonder I rarely work with agencies anymore.

Of course Sanji, with the California phone number and the Bombay e-mail ISP thought it was a really hot deal. And for a Millenia Tech with a bad attitude and no real work experience, perhaps it is. But if you would be perfectly happy turning over your project to someone who just paddled to America in a canoe, I am definitely not the Engineer you want.

Many visitors to this web page are here because they are looking for someone who knows their way around enterprise monitoring software. Chances are, they have already had experience hiring high priced incompetents to work on their NOC, otherwise they would not be looking for someone new. If you are searching for someone who has decades of experience building Network Operations Centers, congratulations on finding me! If you now engage an agency, they will do a Google search to find me, same as you did, and you will forever more pay a pile of extra $$$ to the recruiter for doing so. The middleman is a needless expense that you can avoid. Why not contact me yourself and buy a lifetime supply of Starbucks coffee for yourself with the money you will be saving by dealing direct?

If you are an agency recruiter - I only work on projects that have a reasonable chance for success. If your client is looking for the least expensive warm body you can find to work on his project, I have to assume that the project's success is not a primary consideration. While I am certainly not the least expensive Consultant in the World, I do believe that I am a lot less expensive than anyone I know who has skills and experience commensurate with mine. If you are looking for an Openview, BMC, Tivoli or whatever NOC Designer who's willing to work for a lot less than market value for the skills a customer is demanding, I am definitely not the guy for you. But feel free to contact me later on after the cut-rate guy who's hired totally botches the job. I'll be happy to quote you my salvage rate.

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Last modified May 13, 2008
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