A large, international bank operating in 2,000 cities with 3,400 branches and 11,000 ATMs wanted to ensure its clients received a superior online banking experience to maximize the bank’s customer retention rates, increase the amount of deposits, and increase transaction volumes and fees. Given consumer expectations about online services, including high service availability and quick response times, the bank defined roundtrip website transaction response time as a key customer satisfaction metric. Given the competitive landscape and consumer expectations, the bank set an internal key performance indicator objective (KPI) of a two second average response time for all transactions in the portal.
A Demanding Environment
As within all of IT, performance is a function of technology, people, and process. Many tools were in place for over five years at this Internet banking operation, including systems monitoring applications such as Oracle™ Enterprise Manager, a set of web-based tools for managing both Oracle and non-Oracle environments and Computer Associates™ Opscenter for infrastructure monitoring and management. The core banking application is Oracle™ Flexcube®. The staff was chartered with the visual monitoring of availability along with health screens around-the-clock for any issues. This approach has proven to be prone to human error.
A complex, heterogeneous environment included a broad variety of software: AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, VMware, Citrix, Oracle, Windows, Linux, WebSphere MQ, and all types of Java (JVM & J2EE) supported across over 4,000 data center components such as servers, firewalls, storage arrays, etc. With the IT team located on-site, the Appnomic solution was delivered as an on-premise offering.
To effectively manage this complex environment and to achieve the two second response time KPI, a next generation application performance management and automation tool was required. The bank looked to Appnomic to provide these capabilities and to help them meet their challenges.
The bank has a number of concerns when it comes to technical operations including cost, availability, performance, security, and compliance of IT operations. Often, these requirements can be contrary to one another and must be prioritized. The bank’s top priority is performance at a reasonable cost, specifically as it applies to response time, services delivery and end-user experience.
In the prior year, the bank had approximately 20 service affecting incidents, which is way too many. By setting the objective of a two second maximum response time, the bank has committed itself to significantly reducing Internet banking outages and slowness going forward. The operating environment is complex with an end user experience that involves multiple systems all integrated together. Achieving a two second response time was not going to be easy.
Gartner had published a strategic planning assumption forecasting that by 2015, 60% of Global 2000 enterprises will consider IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) a higher priority than Application Performance Monitoring (APM), up from 20% in 2012. Appnomic has been identified as member of the emerging set of companies in this new ITOA segment by Gartner..
The bank conducted a proof-of-concept to demonstrate and experiment with ITOA capabilities. After a rigorous analysis of various solutions, Appnomic was awarded the contract. As a result, AppsOne™ is now an integral part of the banks availability/performance monitoring, management, and analytics solution.
The Appnomic approach to “learn, automate, analyze” resonated well with the key decision makers. Through the combination of Application Behavior Learning™ (ABL™) and Automatic Threshold Detection™ (ATD™), the bank’s IT team now has a pre-emptive approach to identify and solve issues with application performance before these issues turn into business affecting incidents.
The bank purchased a combi-nation of Appnomic™ AppsOne®, Appnomic™ OpsOne®, and Appnomic™ Managed Services. The AppsOne IT operations analytics (ITOA) software and OpsOne data center automation software were used in combination to pre-emptively identify and solve issues with both application performance and management through the multi-tier computing stack. The installation was deployed over two data center sites, the primary and secondary site (the disaster recovery site). With an on-premise IT department, they purchased both products as enterprise licensed software.
AppsOne was configured to identify when average response times across the consumer Internet banking platform exceeded two seconds for two consecutive, one-minute monitoring intervals. When this threshold was crossed, AppsOne would send a message to OpsOne to automate a configuration change in one of the many Internet banking modules that make up the overall Internet banking portal. When this configuration change is implemented, OpsOne automates the process of temporarily turning off a secondary service that is a resource “hog.” The result is that data center resources are then available for use by the rest of the platform – enabling much faster response times for end user transactions. The illustration below provides an actual view excerpted from the actual product captured by Appnomic’s client to illustrate the outcome of this solution.
The bank also purchased a number of services from Appnomic including monitoring resources, performance engineers, discovery/domain consultants along with project management & implementation support. As part of the Appnomic RIMS+ offering, Appnomic was able to provide consultants who understand the banking and financial service domain well and were deployed on-site to help the bank manage operations. The bank assigned a project manager to partner with the Appnomic team in executing the project. This was very important for the success of the implementation.
Before the Appnomic solution, Internet banking downtime was a regular occurrence with numerous IT fire drills required to identify the root cause and restore service. Since the Appnomic solutions and managed services have been implemented, the bank has not experienced an Internet banking availability incident, in other words no unplanned outages or downtime for a period of twelve (12) months and counting. Further, the bank achieved its stated objective, consistently maintaining an end user transaction response time of two seconds or less. What started out with just Internet banking and driving end user transaction response time to two seconds, has now evolved to deployment of AppsOne to over 20 critical banking applications across the enterprise. The bank and Appnomic are conducting research to identify the impacts on customer retention/churn, transaction volumes, and fee based revenues for the bank.
The most critical benefit realized by the bank as a result of implementing Appnomic solutions and services was clearly the dramatic reduction of slowness and outages, both of which previously had led to increased customer complaints and higher support costs. As a result of enabling 99.999% availability, approximately 20 potential outages were avoided – about two saves per month. The Appnomic solution has given a huge payback to the bank.
The VP of IT Operations expressed his excitement to the Appnomic team about how Appnomic “made his day” due to the successful implementation of the monitoring plus analytics plus automation in their Internet banking environment. In addition, Appnomic significantly improved performance on core banking transactions, reducing response time by more than 50% for the top four transactions in CRM database applications. Furthermore, the solution identified bottlenecks in the loan application workflow, improving transaction response time by 75%. Finally, transactional message queue monitoring helped maintain real time gross settlements (RTGS) SLA commitments; often associated with high-value transactions.
About Appnomic Systems, Inc.
Appnomic Systems, the only application monitoring and performance provider specializing in transaction intensive environments, employs ITelligence for yielding the highest availability and performance for end-user business services. Through Application Behavior Learning™ and Automatic Threshold Detection™, an IT team now has a pre-emptive approach to identify and solve issues with application performance through the multi-tier computing stack. Appnomic’s solutions include AppsOne IT operations analytics (ITOA) software and OpsOne data center automation software to pre-emptively monitor, manage, analyze, heal, and automate end-user business services. The company’s solutions are offered as either enterprise licensed software, SaaS, or RIMS (remote managed services) for both on premise and off-premise deployments.
Founded in 2006, Appnomic has worldwide customers including commercial banks, Wall Street trading firms, large online enterprises, reservation systems, and e-commerce sites. Backed by Norwest Venture Partners, the company has received industry acclaim with an array of awards: AlwaysOn OnDemand 2014 Top 100, ITOA 50 IT Operations Analytics Leader, and three-time SIIA CODiE Finalist. The company’s global headquarters are in Bangalore, India, with US headquarters in Silicon Valley, CA.