Vodafone Ireland was faced with a problem, according to Shane Gaffney, head of IT operations: It had about 200 applications running for internal business units tied to customer services, but was having a hard time measuring application availability.
It wasn't that Vodafone Ireland didn't have any tools to measure its IT state — it had dozens, such as Tibco Administrator for server monitoring and configuration, and Genesys for call centers. "These tools are good in their own right," says Gaffney, but what was missing was the performance-monitoring big picture end to end. "We weren't in the best of shape."
Over a year ago, the telecom firm started using HP's Application Performance Management (APM) tool as a way to take in information from the wider monitoring toolset it was using. Gaffney says this helped Vodafone Ireland gain just insight into what was occurring in a complex IT environment and also provides predictive insights to head off trouble before it's serious.
"It's aggregating information from the other tools, and giving us a new capability, as well as the discovery and appreciation of the end-user experience," he says.
For instance, it gave Vodafone Ireland an improved way to track database problems and the impact on service. HP APM is also effective at predicting where application-related issues are likely to occur, which helps in proactive prevention, he noted. "It's alerting you before there's a business impact."
Over time, Vodafone Ireland's measured key-performance indicators have improved, and customer satisfaction scores from the application business owners have risen from 42% a year ago in the "excellent" category to 85% today. In terms of operational capability, the ability to make immediate root-cause identifications related to incidents has risen from 40% to between 90% to 100%, says Gaffney.
The IT department continues to make software module additions to the HP Application Performance Management suite it uses, recently adding the HP APM Service Health Reporter and Analyzer modules to look at trends that help in capacity planning.
Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.