The Business Challenge
With a legacy app that wasn’t efficiently expanding or contracting to mirror business activity, this leading foreign exchange specialist needed an effective and disciplined solution to identify and solve app issues before they had an impact on the business.
Critical challenges included:
- Infrastructure: The age of the app and the resulting memory hungry technology, meant that during particularly busy periods there were infrastructure complications because of the increase in data. This was having a knock-on effect, causing performance fluctuations, and impacting customer experience.
- A time hungry app: Only trained developers who understood the system would know where to look and see specific markers that meant there was an issue. When they could see them and find them early enough, they could prevent issues. But, this meant that the developers who had the in-depth knowledge of the app, needed to watch it at all times. This level of monitoring prevented the developers from focusing their time and considerable talents on important projects to add new app features that would be hugely beneficial to their customer proposition.
- Confidence in regulation compliance: As an FCA regulated company, it is imperative that all reporting is compliant with changing regulations. The team were having to spend a lot of additional time with manual oversight to make sure that there was never a risk of potential breaches.
- The need for dedicated support: When a user had a problem, they didn’t have a dedicated support team to help. This caused disruption and sometimes frustration for the user as they didn’t have anyone to resolve their problem quickly. The business prides themselves on providing a world-class level of service, so implementing dedicated support was a priority.
Our solution was to become an extension of our customer’s team, utilising our ITL based proactive service desk. Initially, our primary focus was to bring discipline to the process, documenting everything that could go wrong, how it could happen and what to do to prevent faults. Using that information, we’ve implemented a run book process with checklists for every day, every week and every month. Where not automated, the checklists are worked through methodically by developers to make sure that everything is still working correctly. By having developers run through the lists, they gain additional insight into potential outage risks for the future.
The Synetec service desk managed service uses Jira and Confluence for ticket management and documentation, GitHub to merge the code, TeamCity to build the packages, and Octopus for the deployment process. The environment is hosted on AWS, having been migrated from an on-premise private cloud by Synetec, and New Relic is the standard Synetec software application monitoring tool.
As part of our solution, we’ve also introduced documentation to the process. These processes provide clarity on how to fix different scenarios and how to get ahead of them to stop future problems arising.
With the culmination of the monitoring, process automation, manual checklists, knowing what to do and when, we’ve been able to get ahead of infrastructure issues. We can see changes on a daily basis, and we know how to adapt if needed.
Removing the key man dependency in this process has been a huge benefit to the business. We have effectively encapsulated the app knowledge and experience, integrating it into an on-demand service, that doesn’t have business continuity risks in the future.
By providing the dedicated helpdesk team, we’re able to support users reliably and efficiently. When issues happen, they now have somewhere to raise their problem and know that it will be resolved quickly. As demand for the helpdesk can fluctuate, we are able to flex that resource as needed to meet the requirements.
The service desk has also given our customer the ability to look after their users with an on-demand developer available when needed. This prevents anyone disturbing the customer’s development team who are busy adding new features. They can now focus all their attention towards on-going development and no longer need to have a full-time developer sitting waiting, just in case there was a problem. We’re helping to deliver the value of fantastic customer service while also providing a more cost-effective and manageable way to provide the on-going support that is needed.
Our approach in bringing discipline to the process, documenting all the processes and scenarios and introducing a service desk means that we can understand problems, diagnose them and get things working again quickly. If our team uncovers a bug, we can understand and gather the requirements and add them to the development queue enabling a faster fix. All of this can be done without disturbing the addition of new features. Our customer is benefitting from predictive support and maintenance from a team they can trust.