More than ever, business performance depends on IT performance and modern IT operations, so management technology and processes are vital to ensuring that everything runs smoothly. In today’s ever-changing and technology-driven landscape, real-time enterprise visibility and business analytics are no longer optional. Organisations need to stay competitive and drive revenue via disruptive technologies.
In addition, the CIO role has expanded from reducing costs and preventing downtime in operations, to driving new revenue through innovation and transformation. AppCentrix recently implemented SmartICT, a managed service solution as part of Liberty’s IT transformation strategy and reduced IT Incidents by 98 per cent, saving Liberty 97.6 Days of Processing Time. The nature of Liberty Group demands pivotal information technology that plays a central role in business strategy.
This extends from transactional systems that support internal functions to customer facing websites and mobile apps that help it to deliver products to 3.2 million people across Africa. The AppCentrix SmartICT managed service solution combines application performance management, flow management, configuration, element and service management, process mapping, monitoring as a discipline, integrated processes, extensive skills, and the benefits of a flexible cloud based platform into one. It is a private or public cloud-based fully-managed service that reduces cost, increases productivity and stability but most importantly helps customers to be more customer centric.
This is done by instilling monitoring as a discipline in an organisation. It also includes all the capabilities you need for next generation end-to-end monitoring and management of all business services, right down to process level. “Technology is dependent on utilities, and for companies like Liberty, with numerous operating divisions across the organisation, all with separate development, support and applications, provisions need to be in place to provide consistently stable and available systems with minimal disruption or downtime to users,” says Nick Truran, Liberty Head of Operations.
Looking at Liberty’s journey
In 2007, Liberty came up with the idea that monitoring needs to be centralised as a discipline within the technology domain, which was quite new to most of the market and a lot of people didn’t recognise monitoring as a discipline on its own.
The department was created with the sole purpose to pull the monitoring tools together. The function itself was working disparately across the different technical domains, and with a lot of tools bought in the process, it was expensive. “Liberty also wanted to be in a position where we pro-actively manage our environment,” Truran adds.
“We needed to reduce repair time, and with the problem of isolation it meant we needed to be faster and we needed insight into application platforms, which at that stage many people weren’t able to do.” Now, Liberty can produce statistical information for its technical people, gaining insight into applications and views to business customers so that they can get a sense of how Liberty is delivering these services. Maintaining these tools also requires support, and there is maintenance cost, down-time, and issues with applications that need to be resolved.
“In this case, you now have to rely on support from partners as the solution isn’t something you can do on your own, it comes at a high cost and is simply not very sustainable,” explains Truran. “In 2014, we decided we needed to look at our strategy and how can we shift the way we think in the technology space and how can we move in a different direction, as well as where the market seems to be going. This is where we started looking at this managed service principle.”
For Liberty, it is a great model as the company no longer has to build and manage its own tools and has become fully agnostic. “We buy capability instead of buying the product, and we can now start thinking of how we can reduce our overhead and skill compliment and get people who specialise in that function to deliver it for us,” says Truran. SmartICT offers what no other ICT provider currently does – a single, integrated view of data from all IT assets and the extraction of value to optimise business.
As part of the SmartICT project Liberty now has a National Operations Centre (NOC) set up, which allows employees access and insight into critical data and the state of operations, and is the heartbeat of its IT operations. The NOC room is now also open for perusal to the Liberty group of customers where they can come to view the state of operations to see whether Liberty’s operations are in a healthy state or not. This can be seen via the LED lights stripped around the NOC room with the colours reflecting the state, whereas green would naturally be a healthy state.
This has gained Liberty customers’ trust and is a big contribution in their transparency and credibility, and aids in the creation of stronger relationships with their customers. “The system also allows employees to focus on their work, and work more efficiently,” Truran concludes. “The main objective behind it all is to reduce cost, increase productivity as well as stability but most importantly becoming more customer centric.”
The numbers speak for themselves – these are the improvements and change that Liberty has enjoyed over the past four years since implementing AppCentrix SmartICT:
- Incident numbers fell from 156 to just 27
- Business hours of downtime dropped dramatically, from 1055 to 140
- Incidents have dropped from 46 per year, to one
- Network downtime has fallen from 456 hours, to five. That’s an incredible 98.9 percent
With SmartICT, CIOs get ICT management and businesses gain real-time analytics across their entire estate – from Data to Information, Knowledge and Wisdom – that will enable them to mature their organisations, instil monitoring as a discipline, reduce operational costs and downtime, and drive new disruptive technologies into the business, thereby increasing revenue and profitability. AppCentrix is based in 45 different data centres and is collecting information of around 6000 sites and collecting more than half a billion metrics per day.
This article was published in partnership with AppCentrix.