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01 22 2020

Agency codes to reduce task time from days to hours

Ørjan Løvoll, a System Administrator at the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency's CIS Support Unit in Stavanger, Norway, firmly believes automation through coding can save hours of repetitive work.

The CIS Support Unit is responsible for creating and maintaining new user accounts for many of the activities of the Joint Warfare Centre, one of NATO's main training establishments for operations and exercises.

The number of such accounts has increased significantly, from around 300 users to more than 1,300 in major exercises.

This was a challenge for the CIS Support Unit, as the staff was using Excel spreadsheets to create the accounts manually in combination with scripts for each user.

Løvoll was confident there had to be a more efficient way to create and manage the accounts. He used his extensive knowledge and experience of programming to compile 6,775 lines of code to automate work processes servicing the NATO Joint Warfare Centre.

"If you have a repetitive task that can be automated, automate it. It will save you time and effort in the long run and keep your skills sharp," Lovoll said.

Løvoll coded a process that extracts the necessary data automatically, creates accounts, and gives permissions to users and access to relevant applications. This automatic process completes the task in a number of hours, instead of days it took when done manually. The automation also minimizes the risk of entry mistakes.

"Our tasks are large, repetitive and demand attention to detail. We have very many configurations that happen repetitively for hundreds, if not thousands, of accounts several times a year," Løvoll said.

The automation proved to be invaluable during exercises Trident Jackal and Trident Jupiter 2019, when the CIS Support Unit assisted more than 1,000 participants from 24 countries.

"With the increased capacity and frequency of exercises to be provided to the Joint Warfare Centre, which include the provision of services 24/7, the NCI Agency's efforts are instrumental for the timely delivery of our various and numerous exercises and events," said LTC Dieter Heumueller, Head of Exercise Training and Innovation at the Joint Warfare Centre.

"The innovative solution provided by the NCI Agency is another prime example of the invaluable support by the local CIS Support Unit," LTC Heumueller emphasized.

Although Løvoll has already witnessed some of the benefits from his work, his job has not finished. He monitors the functionality of the code and continues to improve the product, and does so while attending to his day-to-day responsibilities as a System Administrator.

"Løvoll is an extremely valuable member of our CIS Support Unit that contributes to the operation, maintenance and upkeep of the data centre, but even more impressively, develops and innovates the way that we complete our daily and mission-critical business," said Tommy Reiestad, Commander of the CIS Support Unit.

Agency codes to reduce task time from days to hours

Picture: Ørjan Løvoll with the printed code.