June 29, 2004

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC, Tokyo; $843 billion in assets) uses IT management tools from SMARTS (White Plains, N.Y.) to manage the technology environment of its international banking units in North America and Europe.

Before SMBC selected SMARTS for its IT management, the bank had explored the option of outsourcing its help desk. But going that route didn't address the problem of having a "reactive" IT department that only sprang into action in response to "business users screaming," said John Premus, chief technology officer for SMBC's international banking unit, speaking at a June 24 seminar sponsored by SMARTS in Waltham, Mass.

Furthermore, responding to system outages had been a process fraught with phone calls and finger-pointing. One group had been in charge of monitoring switches and routers using CiscoWorks, another would use Visual Networks to troubleshoot SMBC's Wide-Area Networks (WANs), and yet another group would keep tabs on their servers using Microsoft Operations Manager and Compaq Insight Manager. As a result, it had been difficult to get a handle on what exactly was causing a problem when it occurred, let alone pursue preventive remedies.

Now, the various diagnostic tools feed data into the SMARTS software, InCharge, which correlates the information into a single picture of the network. The software also conducts an "auto-discovery" routine throughout an organization's network, so as to create a real-time picture of the IT infrastructure.

Although not part of the auto-discovery feature, SMARTS also keeps track of which applications are dependent upon which IT devices, so that business users can be quickly informed as to the status of their applications. Having a knowledge of these dependencies allows the help desk to prioritize their service requests. Before, said Premus, "the help desk was just taking [requests] off the top of the list."

Now, SMBC has an IT infrastructure robust enough to support future growth. "We needed to create a global process for managing our environment," Premus said. "We don't know which areas of the globe we'll be expanding to, so having a framework was important."