Eager to provide high-quality service, Allied Irish Banks (AIB; $102 billion in assets) has invested in numerous customer-facing technologies. "Our bank relies on technology as the foundation for much of our interaction with customers," says John Stuart-Trainor, the bank's senior manager, enterprise technology. "That's been an important differentiator for us ."
To monitor these systems, AIB has relied on a set of event management tools. The customer-related applications are not integrated, however, and the siloed data took a toll on AIB's monitoring tools, so the bank could not track each application's performance.
To remove the silos and gain better insight into its business, AIB began searching for a business service management (BSM) solution in July 2003 that could integrate data from all customer-based applications. "We needed a way for our business and IT staffs to quickly see how our customer-facing technology was performing," Stuart-Trainor explains.
Seeking a scalable solution that would leverage its existing IT investments, the bank evaluated a number of vendors' BSM solutions, ultimately selecting McLean, Va.-based Managed Objects' Formula software, which aggregates event data from existing management tools in real-time. Formula's ability to quantify data in a single console was the major selling point, Stuart-Trainor says.
"Our IT and business staffs will be striving for the same goals," he offers. "The correlation of information means that technology- and business-based problems will be solved faster than in the past, with little to no overlap in employee activity. This will ensure that all aspects of our business are working in concert. This will help us provide the highest level of service to our customers."
One Step at a Time
AIB approached the implementation in phases. "We didn't want to overwhelm our staff - or our existing infrastructure ," Stuart-Trainor explains.
The first phase began in May 2004. Managed Objects built a management environment that paralleled AIB's existing event management infrastructure, and AIB began converting code from its existing MAX Enterprise Max-M and BMC Patrol event management tools to integrate with Formula. In June, AIB installed Formula on an IBM AIX server in its corporate headquarters.
AIB currently is completing the second phase, which involves switching the company to the new Formula infrastructure. To prepare for the transition, AIB is flowing data from MAX Enterprise and Patrol into Formula's Event Integrator module, which uses preset business rules to analyze the data and determine its impact on the enterprise. Formula will deliver results via electronic reports or executive dashboards. IT and business associates can access data via a dedicated Web browser.
"These reports will help our system administrators identify the root cause of business problems and know the difference between an unexpected outage and a technology failure," Stuart-Trainor says. "Knowing the difference means our IT team will be able to prioritize those issues and fix them faster than before. This will directly influence and improve the service we provide to our associates and our customers."
AIB plans to launch the new management system by the end of the year. "By integrating our existing monitoring software with newer technologies, we are making the best use of existing technologies," Stuart-Trainor says.
Institution: Allied Irish Banks (Dublin, Ireland)
Assets: $102 billion in assets.
Business Challenge: Gain single view of application performance and customers.
Solution: Managed Objects' (McLean, Va.) Formula BSM software.