Author Archives: Andi's Pick

About Andi's Pick

This hotel has been carefully selected and is highly recommended by Andi Perullo de Ledesma, the Editor-in-Chief and Creator of My Beautiful Adventures. She travels the world in search of the best in luxury accommodation. If your hotel would like to be reviewed for consideration of being added into the elite collection of "picks," please contact Andi at:

Reasons Network Operations Managers Use Analytics Dashboards

Some ideas were tough to imagine and devise, such as the microwave oven, gyroscope and transistors. Then, there are ideas so simple that it is weird how we hadn’t thought of them in the past, like restaurant menus in braille, USB connectors that go in any direction, and using LED lights for more than Christmas Tree decorations. Then we come to the life of a network operation manager and the use of analytics dashboards. Mere weeks after the installation of analytics dashboards, network operations managers start wondering how they ever lived without them.

If Analytics Dashboards Are So Great: Where Have They Been Until Now?

Like a lot of new and innovative technology, larger companies often have the resources required to experiment with and install them. Small and medium businesses are a little more cautious. The installation of new software or hardware is worrying enough, but when it fundamentally alters the way a key staff member/team works, then even more caution is often applied. In some cases, the network operations manager needs some hardcore reeducating in order to move away from the older operations process and embrace the simpler and more efficient analytics dashboard method.

You can also understand why important figures in many key positions have been slow on the uptake when it comes to analytics dashboards. Let us not forget that just ten and twenty years ago, the sheer level of information available, and the tools to manipulate it, were only present in some of the largest companies. Do not forget that something as fundamental as Cloud computing only became a mainstream tool in the post 2006 era when a Google CEO popularized the term and services started becoming more widely available.

The data processing power and analytic tools we use today were not present in small-to-medium businesses as few as twenty and ten years ago, and yet the network operations managers who were hired ten years ago to do their job are still in their positions today. Ergo, it is easy to see why the adoption of network monitoring, modern big data, Cloud processing, or dashboard tools have been slightly slower to catch on within smaller-to-middle sized businesses.

Reasons Network Operations Managers Use Analytics Dashboards: The Quick Answer

If you are thinking about using analytics dashboards, perhaps you are curious about the subject of analytic dashboards, then this article is stuffed with information you are going to need. However, if this is the fourth or fifth article you have read on this subject, here is a selection of some of the reasons why network operations managers should use analytics dashboards.

  • It makes an operations manager’s working process more efficient
  • More information may be understood and processed more quickly and easily
  • Other staff members can be brought up to speed more quickly
  • Analytics dashboards increases understanding and make reporting easier

Plus, your analytics dashboard keeps things simple on the surface, but allows for users to access and understand more complex data if they so choose. In other words, it keeps things simple and easy to start with, so that surface level tasks and important broader processes can be addressed first. However, the tool still allows you to drill down to the more complex and long-term tasks because simplifying does not mean dumbing down.

What Should Be Included In A Dashboard?

This article cannot tell you exactly what should be included in your dashboard since every company and situation is different, but you should focus on your user interfaces, monitoring, troubleshooting, backup, network quality analysis, traffic analysis, configuration and software automation, network services monitoring, network compliance management, and orchestration.

Again it is difficult to offer advice on exactly what your dashboard should include because every business is different. So, here is an example featuring an analytics dashboard for an Kitcast digital signage software user.

Auditing And Inventory Reporting – offering a baseline software and hardware inventory, file access protection, network access protection, and application blocker.

Remote Control Monitoring – video streaming success rates, desktop control/access logs, file transfer logs, and maybe even monitoring when manual control has replaced remote control of the digital signs.

Secure Web-Based Interface – managing your network remotely via a secure web portal while offering access from any internet-enabled computer, while also monitoring, allowing and blocking said services.

Alerts – all remote intervention could be prompted by analytic monitoring (automated or otherwise), and monitoring changes in software and hardware, which includes when digital signs start and stop (turn on or off).

Messaging – part of your dashboard settings could involve customizable messages (email or SMS) that alert operations managers of errors or pressing issues.

Scripts – in this case would be handled by software, but where the analytic dashboard shows schedulable script execution on each digital sign, screen and device control, and things like retrieving log files and such.

Patch Management Reporting And Troubleshooting – configuring and scheduling of deployments based on previous analytic data, pre-installation progress, and automatic software updates (such reports are also handy for troubleshooting).

Problem Ticketing – if many digital signs are placed in several different geographic locations, ticketing and issue progress could be monitored with an analytics dashboard.

Customizable Reports – a reports tool would offer information on everything, such as patches, hardware or software inventory, ticketing, logs, monitoring, up-times, etc.

In many cases, the analytics would also play a big role in the operations process itself. For example, your analytics may show how many problem tickets you have, and the same tool may also present the tools required to take action on the tickets (such as contact client, deactivate sign, etc.).

What Is The Main Purpose Of Dashboard?

The main purpose in simple terms is to make the operations manager’s job easier. Its job is to track information and visually display it for the user. Analysis also plays a role, and the results of such analysis are also displayed, often in the form of visual graphics rather than raw data.

A network operations manager may be expected to customize the analytics dashboard to show relevant key performance indicators (KPI). In other words, the user may start out with a template, but will eventually have to change the way the analytics dashboard looks and works in order to better suit the job in hand.

What Makes A Good KPI Dashboard?

Easy access to information, easier data comprehension, and having the correct information presented in a way that allows people to drill down and mine more information if needed. Also, design plays at least a small role in making the user a little more comfortable; this includes how the information is arranged and how it is displayed.

Arranged – How the information is arranged and designed is important. The most important metrics and KPIs should be the most prominent and/or have the least number of steps to access. Data should be logically organized, putting the most commonly used filters as defaults. Information should start out displayed simply, while allowing the user to drill down to the more complicated information.

Displayed – Use active and passive white space correctly, create focal points, and consider grouping items together based on who uses the information, through logical use of categories. Maintain design continuity, making sure to fold new tools, items or information into the system in a logical manner (i.e. not simply creating a new category whenever something new comes along). Keep things correctly spaced for ease of use and reading, and do not put similar shaped and similar colored items together where they may suffer mistaken identity by new users.

Reasons Network Operations Managers Use Dashboards

The short answer is because it allows them to do their jobs, allowing them to ensure service quality and network efficiency. Data analytics dashboards are now a staple of modern business intelligence to the point where modern operations managers expect them, just like modern writers expect a computer and not a typewriter.

Also, where decision making is concerned, correctly reported analytics may help a professional manage the budget, as well as lead improvements to maintenance, service restoration, provisioning, and data center processes and capabilities (to name just a few things). The dashboard also plays a part in reporting on your own efforts, be it proving you are doing your job, to developing the documentation that accurately reflects the day-to-day running of your team. In a broader sense, your analytics tool may also help you:

  • Improve visibility into both the virtual and physical infrastructure of the organization
  • Reduce downtime, eradicate downtime, or optimize downtime so it has the lowest impact
  • Identify network issues more easily, and avoid or reduce the impact of recurring issues
  • Provide faster resolutions for staff, the company, or customer’s with escalated issues
  • Pre-built reports also make integration quicker, training quicker, and are handy fallbacks
  • Make the job more visual, especially when wanting to restore services faster
  • Use it and your own knowledge to improve AI systems, such as AI diagnostic systems
  • More easily sort, arrange, and look up your historical data
  • Make sharing information easier and make collaboration easier
  • Create more accurate predictive models and plan accordingly

With all this said, the simple fact is that if you use your analytics dashboard correctly, then it makes your job as a network operations manager easier. You can dig a road with a pickaxe, or with a pneumatic drill, both get the job done, but one method is easier. As a network operations manager, you can work hard and get your job done, or you can use your analytics dashboard make your life easier. The choice is yours.

Andi’s Pick: 200 Main

200 Main: Highlands, North Carolina

First Impression

Last year, I had the great fortune to stay in the magnificent Old Edwards Inn and Spa and it was an experience I will never forget.  I was so excited when I was informed that they had recently opened a sister property right down the street.  At 200 Main you can expect the stylish, luxurious accommodations that you would find at Old Edwards Inn and Spa, but with an incredibly affordable price.  Additionally, all of the amenities at Old Edwards Inn and Spa are offered to guests of 200 Main, although there are enough amenities at 200 Main to keep you busy without ever having to leave the hotel.  For my husband and I this was the first of several babymoons and I found this special property to be the ultimate in comfortability — something that is essential for pregnant women.


Highlands, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, feels as though it has been preserved in time.  Walk outside the hotel’s front door and you will find yourself amidst first-class shopping, dining, and culture.  Since it is surrounded by the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains and a temperate rainforest, you will also encounter some of the most beautiful natural attractions that the Unites States has to offer ranging from pristine lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.  This rural community deserves its reputation as being one of America’s prettiest small towns.

The Room

These chic rooms feature hardwood floors, rustic furniture, flat screen TVs, mini fridges, Keurig machines, and many have fireplaces and balconies.  Our room featured a King sized bed and a spacious balcony that looked out onto Main Street.

The Bathroom

The en suite bathrooms consist of radiant heated floors for sustainability and comfort, eco-friendly bath and body amenities, vessel sinks, and luxurious Fette towels.  The white marbled bathtub called my name every day while we were there.

200 Main

The Extras

Guests can enjoy an outdoor heated mineral pool on property, a large terrace with fire pit, and a hillside water feature.  They can also stay connected on property with free Wi-Fi.

200 Main

Why It Is Andi’s Pick

All accommodations include morning muffins and fresh whole fruit that are available in the lobby every morning.  Additionally, the staff we encountered were some of the nicest people we have met in our travels.  A friendly staff goes a long way in my world!

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Andi’s Pick: The Omni Grove Park Inn

The Omni Grove Park Inn: Asheville, North Carolina

First Impression

The Omni Grove Park Inn is one of South’s most beloved resorts.  Built in 1913, with granite stones mined from the very same mountain it is built upon, you do not have to check in to enjoy its history, ambiance, and world-class amenities, although it is highly recommended that you stay at least a night or two to really take in the whole experience.  The main lobby, known as The Great Hall, features dramatic twenty-four foot ceilings and two massive fourteen foot fireplaces.  It is famous for its guest elevators that are cleverly hidden in the chimneys of the fireplaces to conceal the noise of the machinery.  You will also find throughout the lobby words of inspiration from noted authors etched into the stone that serve as a warm welcome to visitors.


Perched on the western-facing slope of Sunset Mountain, The Omni Grove Park Inn overlooks the charming city of Asheville, North Carolina and provides sweeping views of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.  The pure mountain air, first class service, and delectable cuisine attracts thousands upon thousands of people every year.

The Room

The property has undergone major renovations over the last decade and a lot of the work was concentrated on a portion of the rooms, thus you can now choose to stay in either a traditional or modern room depending on your mood.  We stayed in a resort room with a breathtaking view.  Along with the furniture that is very reflective of its mountain surroundings, there are also contemporary amenities such as a flat-screen HD television, Serta mattress, and mini-refridgerator.

The Bathroom

Because the hotel was originally designed over a hundred years ago, the bathrooms are on the quainter side.  To make up for that, they are stocked with luxurious bath products from The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn.

The Extras

The hotel is known for its award winning restaurants located throughout its massive grounds.  Our favorite was The Blue Ridge, a farm-to-table artisanal buffet, where you can find anything your heart desires.  We could not get enough of their freshly-made donuts every morning!

You will also find plenty of places to sit and contemplate life, whether al fresco or inside next to a fireplace.

Grove Park Inn

Why It Is Andi’s Pick

A trip to The Omni Grove Park Inn is incomplete without spending time in their 43,000 square foot subterranean spa.  It is easily one of the best in the world featuring cavernous rock walls, arches, and tunnels and twenty water features.  Additionally, the main pool area has two therapeutic waterfall pools, a warm mineral pool, and lap pool with 6,500 fiber-optic stars embedded in the ceiling and constant underwater music.  Inside the lockers rooms you will discover exhilarating contrast pools, an inhalation room, and eucalyptus-infused steam room. The pools are mineral-based and chlorine-free, containing trace minerals of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.  Three fireside lounges await you with overstuffed chairs, warm blankets, light snacks, hot organic teas, and herbal infused waters.  If you need a breath of fresh air, step outside to enjoy fireplaces, a whirlpool, and a tiered outdoor terrace with panoramic mountain views.  Day passes are available to the spa for non-hotel guests.

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Andi’s Pick: Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club: Nevis

First Impression

Originally a Caribbean sugarcane plantation owned by Fanny Nisbet, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is now a world-class resort that oozes with history, elegance, and charm.  You will quickly discover a unique blend of Old World glamour and modern luxuries amidst the backdrop of gorgeous Nevis.  With a staff that graciously handles every single request, it is possible to check in and then completely check out.


Most people traveling to Nevis first arrive via plane on the sister island of St. Kitts.  Someone from the hotel will meet you at the airport and escort you by taxi to the dock, where you will then be greeted by a ferryboat that will have you to Nevis in less than ten minutes time.  The dock on Nevis is right around the corner from Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.  The resort is centrally located on the Atlantic side of the island and its views will likely take your breath away!

The Room

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club’s lemon-hued cottages with traditional Nevisian white pyramid roofs dot tropical grounds full of plumeria and coconut palm trees.  Each accommodation is surrounded by almost a quarter acre of lush land and designed with both comfort and privacy in mind.

The air-conditioned cottages are decorated in an inviting and casual style and are filled with fresh-cut flowers and wicker furniture.  We stayed in an Upper Premier Junior Suite, which is situated closest to the water and features a King size bed, a living room area with a pull-out sofa bed, a wet bar, and a balcony overlooking the ocean.  There is free WiFi, however no TVs, as the hotel truly wants its guests to disconnect from the outside world.

The Bathroom

The spacious ensuite bathroom stole the show for us with its thick marble counter, high beamed ceiling, gigantic sit in tub, and incredible smelling bath products that you will undoubtably want to purchase in the gift shop before returning home.

The Extras

There is so much to do and see in Nevis that I recommend staying for at least a week if possible.  Expect nothing less than extraordinary from any of the resort’s restaurants, as the cuisine is rich with flavors that are brought to life by extremely talented chefs.  Begin every morning at Coconuts, where you can breathe in the fresh salt air and listen to the waves lap the shore while you dine on heart shaped banana pancakes.  At Sea Breeze, you can lunch with the sand between your toes.  In the evening, you can admire the glorious sunset as you look down upon the famous Avenue of the Palms from the Great House porch and choose from a gourmet three-course menu.

Wedged between these dining spots are the pool, Jacuzzi, and beach.  Adjacent is an outdoor bar for sipping cocktails.  It is only a few swim strokes to one of the best snorkeling spots on the island, however do not feel obligated to leave your lounge chair.  Beach and pool attendants bring free water and even take food and beverage orders.

Coconuts is also the setting for the popular Thursday night beachfront barbecue.  This weekly event is open to guests, Nevis visitors, and locals alike.  The evening is kicked off with the Manager’s cocktail party and is followed by a lavish buffet.  After dinner, head back to the bar for some dancing underneath the stars to the tropical rhythms of a local band.  This was by far our favorite night of the trip!

Why It Is Andi’s Pick

You will never encounter a friendlier staff than those at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.  Everyone knows your first name and will go out of your way to make sure that you leave with unforgettable memories and with a deep desire to return again!

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Andi’s Pick: Palmetto Bluff

Palmetto Bluff: Bluffton, South Carolina

First Impression

It is impossible to imagine a more romantic Southern getaway than Palmetto Bluff.  This luxurious property, which is a part of the prestigious Auberge Resorts collection, literally takes your breath away from the moment you arrive at its private entrance.  Once you have checked yourself in, you are given a CD that contains a wealth of audio information regarding the history of the estate and its grounds.  My husband and I listened intently as we drove along the four-mile scenic driveway that is lined on both sides with giant moss-laden Spanish oak trees.


Nestled between Charleston and Savannah, Bluffton is the very essence of the South Carolina Lowcountry.  Palmetto Bluff is the main attraction in this charming city and its vast expanse of pristine land is bound by the May, Cooper, and New Rivers.  The eco-friendly property consists of 20,000 acres of natural, wild beauty that is fiercely protected by The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy.

The Room

There are fifty cottages and cottage suites to choose from and the most difficult decision you will have to make during your stay is whether you prefer yours with a picturesque waterfront or forest view.  Each accommodation is appointed with exquisite details and designed with a classic Southern style.  We stayed in Cottage 25, which has a sweeping view of the May River marsh and comes with vaulted ceilings, a cozy fireplace, a decadent changing room, and a screened in veranda.

The four-poster King sized bed is layered with Italian linens and a down comforter and pillows.  The room also comes with free Wi-Fi, a plasma TV with a DVD player, and a handcrafted desk.  At Palmetto Bluff, activity plays center-stage, thus each cottage is provided with two bikes to use at your own leisure.  A golf cart may be rented to use around the property grounds as well.

The Bathroom

The bathrooms at Palmetto Bluff truly are in a class by themselves.  They are so spacious and elegantly designed that it is nearly impossible to want to leave them.  Not only is there a freestanding soaking tub and a rainforest shower, but there is also an amazing steam room — a feature that sets this property apart from all others!

To make things even more special, there are custom-blended organic bath and body products for use.

The Extras

Each room has its own iPad, which serves as a virtual compendium.  Its features enable guests to request assistance from the bellmen, browse through restaurant menus, make dinner reservations, and explore the various Palmetto Bluff attractions and activities.

The wet bar with a sub-zero refrigerator and Keurig coffee brewer is stocked with snacks and beverages free of charge (minus the alcohol).

Why It Is Andi’s Pick

Although we did not get the chance to spend an enormous amount of our time on our veranda, we did enjoy breakfast and watch the sunset both days that we were there and it simply added to what was already an unforgettable experience.

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