What can 200 software engineers in lockdown accomplish in nine months?
Today's consumers and industries want personalized services and content, signaling a massive shift in the way goods and services are consumed. This demand for simple, convenient, immediate solutions pushes businesses to be more dynamic. But communication service providers (CSPs) grapple with a real challenge: complexity. Years of layering new technologies, creating siloed functions, and interdependencies produced many control points making the process slow and inefficient.
In December, the Nokia Assurance Center (NAC) released NAC 21, unveiling a modern software platform tailored to automate hybrid 4G-5G networks and the end-to-end services powered by them. The refreshed portfolio replaces legacy products designed for an outdated operating model, consolidating siloed functions in a closed loop where they work seamlessly as one single product.
NAC21 centralizes data, providing the network and service views that drive automated or semi-automated actions for personnel and systems. Then it correlates the data and root causes, analyzing the service impact, and executing decisions through automated workflows.
This innovative software solution addresses the complexity holding CSPs back. It sets Nokia above the competition. We could not deliver success of this magnitude without the men and women working behind the scenes to bring it to life during a global pandemic.
We present the story within the story, one of human determination, collaboration, and the drive to succeed. The story of 200 engineers in lockdown and how they worked together across time zones for nine months to deliver a ground-breaking solution deserves to be heard.
Stories from the R&D team that built NAC21
"Before the pandemic started, we knew our NAC21 deliverables. As more and more teams joined the work-from-home crowd, we adjusted our processes and meetings making sure there was no compromise in content and quality. Creative solutions overcame daily challenges and we invested in our most valuable asset, teamwork.
Opening the camera in every video call allowed us to connect better with the team. Inviting colleagues into my new office in the garage, many people know exactly where I keep my camping gear or dog supply. They also know my kids who occasionally jump in to get a paper from the printer for their Zoom classes, and the names of the pets that interrupt. This type of intimacy, no matter where you are located, allowed us to keep the team work together, take care of each other, and stay connected more than the past.”
Noy Itzikowitz, Head of R&D, San Jose, USA
"At the start of the pandemic about nine months ago, it was total chaos with people leaving office, thinking they would come back to work in one or two weeks. Nobody expected it to last this long. Nobody thought that work could be done outside of the office on such a mass scale without productivity loss.
Surprisingly, productivity increased exponentially in the first few months. People worked without a sense of day and night, just like a child spends all the time with a new toy, only in this case, the toy was our laptop. People learned how to balance work and life, stabilizing daily work routines. Now we're so used to working from home, we wonder whether anyone wants to come back to the office. With the new way of work-life, the network has become as important as water and WiFi as important as air. We cannot imagine life without these two essentials!"
Harikrishnan Bashyam, R&D Line Manager, Bangalore, India
"We soon learned that working from home requires great discipline from all of us. Mixing personal and professional life becomes very easy. We miss our colleagues and all the benefits a team has when sharing the same workspace.
For parents, it's an incredibly challenging time. Several schools are closed or have lockdown classrooms. We juggle parenting and working from home by working more asynchronously, reorganizing schedules to have power working sessions during nap times, quiet times, or after children have gone to bed. The empathy for parents with newborns, those with school kids the whole family teleworking was huge. As one executive wrote, "Calls are boring, and they need background music like your kids screaming or your dogs barking. These are sounds of life."
Edison Oliveira, R&D Line Manager, Aveiro, Portugal
"Lockdown opened windows for many, although some windows didn't always open to great views. I am the test lead of a team, and we were tested. We relied mostly on VC or group calls to finish our tasks. Humans are creatures of habit, and none of us were in the habit of working from home for the long term. We didn't have dedicated spaces, so we settled for whatever space was available. A soothing mixture of children's voices or public announcements blaring in the midst of technical details always added to the background score.”
Deepika Pariyani, R&D test lead, Bangalore, India
"In 2019, I took my daughter to work at the nokia4kids event. During the morning, there were science games, body paint, among other fun activities. In the afternoon, she stayed with me in the office, playing Lego pieces. After that day, she asked many times, "Dad, when can I go to your work again?"
In 2020, my work came to her. I work with teams and people in countries on several continents. Part of my day is at remote meetings. Today she puts on the headset and says, "I'm the father. I'm at work!" Working at home with two young children has its challenges. But it's fun! Sometimes they participate in meetings. Even without being able to travel, they manage to meet people from other countries."
Jose Marques Silva, Program Manager, Amadora, Portugal
The moral of the story? The power of people working at home across time zones, focused on delivering to the high expectations of customers is formidable. In a world where we adapted to working in home offices surrounded by children, pets and the sound of everyday life, Nokia rises to the challenge by keeping the networks running.