Challenges for Shared Service Centres
Many local government organisations share service centres to provide IT services. They face the challenge of supporting a number of IT users from different business units of one council and, quite frequently from several councils who have each been used to their own IT support teams.
Two issues that the service centre will face are the expectation from the council (or councils) of annual cost reductions, and the need for a common understanding of IT performance across organisations with each person being familiar with a different set of key performance indicators previously.
Application Performance Monitoring
One IT service centre that had these challenges chose to solve them by adopting end user application monitoring. This approach provided three benefits to the service centre (and ultimately to the IT users).
Firstly, they chose to focus on how each of the 17,000 end users experienced their IT performance by collecting application response time, rather than the more conventional server and network monitoring approach. This meant that the service centre was able to quantify the extent of any end user problems. For example, when a user complained of poor response times for their finance system the service centre was able to use application performance monitoring to determine that there was an issue with a specific finance system server rather than the LAN, WAN or other network issues.
The second benefit to the service centre is that this approach enabled common reporting metrics across previously independent business units. This meant that the service centre could provide its customers with an SLA and reports that show performance against the agreed parameters of the SLA.
The third benefit the service centre found was that, by having gathered performance data over a period of time, the effect on performance of any changes to the IT infrastructure could be clearly demonstrated.
In-house or Outsourced?
While installing application performance monitoring software is straightforward, the key to gaining value from it is to set the correct alerts and reporting for the specific situation. This is where Marathon’s team of experienced engineers can provide assistance. Once these were set up, the council featured in this blog then chose to carry out the on-going application performance monitoring themselves. An alternative option would be for Marathon to provide this service on a white label basis.
Find out more about how Marathon can help with application performance monitoring by giving us a call today on 020 8329 1000 to discuss your requirements.