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GCN : December 2012
28 GCN DECEMBER 2012 • GCN.COM The Tennessee Valley Au- thority, a government corporation founded in 1933 during the Great Depres- sion by the Franklin Roosevelt administration, provides electric- ity to 155 distributors for more than 9 million people in seven southeastern states. Recently the TVA upgraded its old operations hub to a full-fledged IT Opera- tions Center, opening a 12,000 square-foot, purpose-built facility in Chattanooga. "It was more of a call center than anything else," Keith Young- blood, senior IT customer and in- frastructure operations manager, said of the old facility. The new center is a co-located service and operations center that triples the size of the previ- ous facility. It supports not only the front-line IT service provid- ers, but also IT event and incident management teams, and change management teams. The center provides near real-time monitor- ing and surveillance of the TVA's wide-area and local-area networks and includes an emergency opera- tions center that can be activated when natural or other disasters threaten or affect the electric grid for the eastern half of the nation. The effort required moving the support team into cramped quar- ters during the build-out of the new facilities, but the improve- ments justified the inconvenience, said project manager Jim Bingel. "They were open to squeezing into a temporary facility for nine months," he said. The TVA was a first-of-its- kind government corporation, created as part of Roosevelt's New Deal to manage natural resources and improve eco- nomic conditions in the Tennes- see River Valley. As part of the project it built dams and gener- ated electricity, and today is the country's largest public power company, servicing most of Ten- nessee and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. It operates 11 coal-fired gener- ating plants, nine combustion GOALS: To upgrade a 20-year-old Chattanooga complex that served primarily as a call center for the Tennessee Valley Authority to a state of the art network center that could provide near real-time monitoring and surveillance technology to detect and respond to disruptions caused by weather, attacks or security breaches. TACTICS: During six months of construction and remodeling the person- nel and equipment from the existing center were moved to another floor. The old space was gutted and expanded from one sixth of the floor to half, and new technology was installed. TOOLS: A video wall with a three-by-six matrix of high-definition flat screen monitors from Planar Systems for monitoring news and weather feeds for conditions that could a ect the power grid in the Southeast. How TVA upgraded a no-frills call center into a fully fledged IT service and operations center FROM CALL CENTER TO WORLD-CLASS OPS CENTER CASE STUDY