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Five essential roles in managing critical operations

barco profesionales av

Latin America. Within control rooms there is a wide variety of roles and responsibilities, all working as a team to achieve a common goal, for example, to maintain the overall vision of operations and react quickly when situations become critical. For a goal to be met efficiently, it is necessary to have a well-developed structure, good communication and have well defined the occupations of each of the employees.

Critical decision making is a collaborative effort of several stakeholders, which is based on the timely communication of available information and, although not all control rooms have the same objective or mission, all seek to respond correctly to each of the critical situations. For this reason, Manuel Navarrete, LVX Leader Latin America at Barco, refers to the five essential roles within critical management, and how through his work it is possible to maximize operability in the control rooms.

1. Control room operator
It is the most visible role of the control room, as it is the one who maintains day by day operations, whether in a traffic monitoring center, network operations center or a health care center, the job of an operator is to monitor the process, manage alarms, maximize responsiveness and minimize downtime.

"Operators must always be on guard, ready to react to unexpected events and solve problems. This can result in a minor event, such as planning the replacement of a component as part of a company's asset maintenance program, or a more pressing emergency, such as the detection of an incident on the road," says the Barco expert.

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Operators rely on data to make correct and quick decisions, however, managing this information can become stressful. Operators are given more responsibilities and greater workloads, which puts more pressure on the position.

2. Field worker
Operators need field workers to execute the solution. The worker must have a direct line to the control room. Although the field worker is not physically in the control room, he or she is a crucial part of the industry's operations.

In order to be able to solve problems efficiently, operators must maintain a constant and reliable flow of communication with field operators, and they must always be able to see the big picture.

3. Supervisor
During a crisis or unexpected event, the role of the supervisor becomes the center of attention. The control room supervisor directs the room staff so that the work is done efficiently, in accordance with policies and procedures. Likewise, it must react quickly and calmly to adverse situations, it is the one who reviews and manages the tasks of several operators within a control room.

A supervisor needs to handle escalated situations awaiting supervisory decisions, prioritize actions, make everything work coherently, make well-informed decisions, maintain continuous communication with operators, and report to their senior management, inside or outside the control room.

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4. IT Manager
Security and IT specialists in these rooms have an increasingly important role to play in today's control rooms. They are not involved with monitoring applications, but they keep an eye on the different technologies, architectures, and network traffic of the control room, so their role becomes crucial in preventing cybersecurity attacks for example.

In this regard, Manuel Navarrete mentions: "Control room operations are increasingly acquired as a cloud-based service, which facilitates collaboration between agencies and remote sites. An increasing number of data sources (IT and OT) are being processed by workflow and control room software. At the same time, it increases the pressure to keep control room networks up and running and safe."

5. Workflow Analyst
Control room operations increasingly consist of understanding all the sources that arrive and knowing what to do with that information. That's why control room teams often include workflow analysts who have to make sense of it all and who support operators and managers in the decision-making process.

Today, manufacturers already incorporate profitability control solutions into their ERP systems that help them detect and visualize possible process improvements and allow them to measure the financial performance of a process in real time. Analysts are often part of larger organizations or companies that want to keep abreast of trends and KPIs.

These roles depend a lot on the size of the operation, some functions can be combined into a single function.

"Although job names and titles may vary by application or market, roles in a critical operations team are typically quite similar. Usually, the team's challenges are focused on maintaining an overview of the flow of incoming information, making sense of the content that is presented and then making the best possible decision based on collaborative knowledge," concluded Manuel Navarrete, LVX Leader Latin America at Barco.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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