A $5B U.S.-based provider of outsourced IT infrastructure and support services with a strong focus on the health and life sciences sector. Its customers include several large federal government agencies, as well as health insurance and healthcare service providers.
An IT service provider’s network environment was continuing to grow in size and complexity as it added customers to its portfolio. For example, one of the ISP’s customers is the federal government’s largest insurance provider, covering more than 25 million beneficiaries and 10 million providers (doctors, hospitals providers of durable medical goods, etc.), and conducting over 1.2 billion transactions a year. The ISP administers the IT infrastructure for the agency and other customers to provide mission-critical services to end-users.
However, the ISP was dealing with increasing network monitoring challenges after five years of using a legacy network monitoring system from another vendor and an army of technicians to support it.
The legacy system lacked the automation, scalability and flexibility the ISP’s clients required. For instance, the ISP team had to manually group resources such as servers, routers, switches, load balancers, and firewalls to create network maps. It took so long that the maps were usually outdated by the time they were completed.
Without end-to-end, real-time network visibility, the ISP couldn’t provide its clients with an easy way to assess the overall health of its network, or check the performance of a particular segment. When performance issues came up, the ISP team often had problems identifying, diagnosing, and fixing them. Long response times impacted service levels, and in turn, customer satisfaction. The lack of visibility also made it difficult to make infrastructure changes, such as migrating to new data centers, or rolling out new services.
“With severity one events, it wasn’t uncommon for us to take upwards of two hours to resolve them,” said the ISP’s CTO. “We were wasting time -- systems were down for too long, and it resulted in overwhelming customer complaints. With no end in sight to those problems, we started looking at network monitoring alternatives.”
The IT services provider focused on several big problems it needed to fix, among them:
- Outdated network monitoring: Its legacy network monitoring system, initially deployed in 2002, could not deliver the dynamic monitoring and management capabilities the client now required.
- Lengthening MTTR times: Without granular, real-time network visibility, the network operations team was troubleshooting problems by manually piecing together items such as log files. Fixes that should have taken minutes were taking hours.
- Costly SLA violations: The ISP incurred significant financial penalties any time it missed a service level commitment for the government agency customer, and they were beginning to add up.
- Staff morale problems: The legacy system was causing frustration among the ISP’s network ops team. Being thrown repeatedly into high-pressure situations and trying to fix problems while essentially half blindfolded was taking its toll.
“With the healthcare services for tens of millions of people at stake, system and application uptime is obviously critical, and effective network monitoring is a key ingredient in the mix,” said the ISP’s CTO. “However, the tools we were using to get that job done were no longer cutting it.”
After evaluating several other systems, this IT services provider selected SevOne as its network and infrastructure management platform.
Business Benefits and Results
“We started out with a small proof-of-concept and were immediately impressed,” said the ISP’s CTO. “Within a couple of hours, we were getting actionable intelligence about how to make things better.”
IBM SevOne Network Performance Management (NPM) has delivered the following benefits for the IT service provider:
- Greater situational awareness – With comprehensive, real-time network visibility, the ISP ensures its clients can instantly see what’s happening anywhere on the network. Automated and dynamic network mapping means the operations team always has up-to-date network information.
- Faster, more effective issue resolution – With easy drill-downs on any network element, and numerous ways to check performance of network devices and segment, the ISP has been able to decrease MTTR time by more than 75 percent.
- Increased operational transparency – In addition to equipping its team members with better tools for their specific jobs, the ISP can now quickly produce and deliver easy-to-understand reports and dashboards to its customers.
- Leveraging wire data for other uses – The ISP is leveraging the unique wire data gathered by SevOne to feed other applications and processes, such as information security and business analytics.
“With SevOne NPM, we can tell exactly where the smoke is coming from,” said the ISP’s CTO. “That intelligence saves us valuable time by allowing us to zero-in on just the specific area or element that’s having a problem. The efficiency and other benefits we’ve gained from this visibility are amazing.”
In summary, by switching to SevOne NPM, this major IT services provider has been able to improve the dependability of its service delivery and give its team the tools they need to shine.