Service Company Ensures Quality Performance & User Experience During Application Migration
- High-profile migration to a new ERP system
- Service degradations impacting employees and customers were taking too long to resolve
- Lacked proactive, in-depth visibility for network and application troubleshooting
- nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform with InfiniStreamNG® 4800 series hardware appliances
- nGenius®PULSE with 3000 series nPoint hardware and virtual devices
- NETSCOUT® Visibility as a Service
- Added visibility to ensure business continuity, performance, and user experience during SAP/ERP Migration
- Provided 24 x 7 VaaS managed services to reduced MTTK and MTTR troubleshooting enterprise-wide
This 30-year-old company has grown into a multi-billion dollar organization by providing exceptional customer service and expanding their market share with new customers and key acquisitions. Thousands of employees in dozens of locations around the world focus on waste management collection and destruction in a safe and sustainable manner. This company has a reputation for meeting both customer expectations as well as strict regulatory and compliance requirements.
Despite the complicated logistics for collection and destruction of waste materials, this company has a stellar reputation for meeting the requirements for scheduled pickups at corporate offices, hospitals, and pharmaceutical locations, and completing safe, secure drop offs at appropriate disposal / destruction facilities. Like so many of waste management counterparts, this company uses a management information system (MIS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) application to organize several aspects of the business, from scheduling to finance.
Their acquisitions over recent years had left the company with several dozen disparate MIS / ERP software applications in use, which had become an insurmountable challenge in trying to streamline processes, logistical scheduling, accounting, finance, and other business areas. Unfortunately, the inefficiencies led executive leadership to direct a business initiative to improve its internal processes and control cost-efficiencies. When IT recommended that a new, modern, integrated, and feature-rich MIS/ERP software application should be implemented, the company agreed and approved the substantial, multi-year budget to complete the project.
The network and infrastructure teams within IT recognized the need to have visibility throughout the lifecycle of this major, high-profile project to ensure business continuity and that the application performance during and post-migration was of the highest quality, regardless of where their employees were accessing the system - headquarters, remote locations, or even in their trucks on the road. It was essential that the network and infrastructure teams could proactively diagnose performance issues and minimize troubleshooting time with in-depth root cause analysis capabilities.
Server monitoring tools used in the past had been found to be completely reactive, used only after employees or customers had already notified IT that problems existed. Senior leadership identified excessive problem resolution time as a major disruption, effecting both internal users and external customers. It was simply taking far too long to rectify issues without meaningful visibility.
Solution in Action
The IT organization at the company selected NETSCOUT Smart Edge Monitoring for its service assurance and performance management solution for this project. The Smart Edge Monitoring solution was comprised of the following:
- nGeniusONE with InfiniStreamNG (ISNG) hardware for monitoring north-south network packets and vSTREAM virtual appliances for monitoring east-west packet activity in virtualized environments
- nGeniusPULSE with nPoint 3000 series devices in both hardware and software models strategically deployed throughout the company campus for synthetic testing, including business transaction testing (BTTs), for assuring user experience with data center-based and Software as a Service applications
- NETSCOUT’s Adaptive Service IntelligenceTM (ASI) technology converts the monitored traffic into smart data, which is consumed by nGeniusONE for smarter performance analytics for real-time visibility and insight into the networks, applications, and user experiences.
This tight-knit IT organization was skilled, dedicated, and passionate about delivering quality services to end users. They, along with the NetOps team, further indicated the need to stay focused on critical activities necessary to migrate and ensure quality access and performance of the new ERP system, front-ended by SAP. Adding NETSCOUT’s 24 x 7 x 365 managed service offering called Visibility as a Service, or VaaS, to accelerate the implementation and its day-to-day operation, was the best way to accomplish this. This included solution set-up, dashboard and report designs for key applications, including SAP and the ERP itself, as well as configuration of synthetic transaction tests with nPoints to assure user experience with the new ERP.
It is important to note, that while the drivers for the visibility and service assurance solutions from NETSCOUT were tied to the mission-critical ERP application migration, that was not the sole reason for the selection. With support for more than 1,000 well-known voice, video and business data applications and protocols, the IT team, with the help of the NETSCOUT VaaS subject matter experts, plans to use Smart Edge Monitoring for visibility and analysis to assure performance and end-user experience of all their critical services, from Microsoft Office 365 and Teams, to Webex, SAP, and Salesforce.com.
Although it is still quite early in the implementation of nGeniusONE and nGeniusPULSE in their environment, the VaaS team was able to investigate several intermittent issues experienced during the ERP migration. As part of the ERP migration project, the Visibility as a Service team launched service dependency mapping based on observed traffic flows, building relationships of the interactions between application servers and the protocols and services they depend on to work, e.g., DNS, LDAP, databases, etc. Further proactive monitoring and analysis revealed issues with server and client communications on the performance of SAP, as well.
With the criticality of the ERP migration project a priority for both IT and the executives, visibility advancements for analyzing and troubleshooting issues with performance and end-user experience are already being achieved. Early identification of emerging disruptions, understanding of the service dependencies, expertise in pinpointing the root cause of the issue, coupled with strong collaboration with the company’s IT team, enabled swift implementation of appropriate measures to restore quality performance and end-user experience as issues arouse during the migration.
Collaboration among the NetOps, Network, and Infrastructure teams has increased and is critical in ensuring the successful migration to the new ERP / SAP system, not to mention their day-to-day operations, security, and long-term planning. Finally, the collaboration, education sharing, and best practices expertise brought by the NETSCOUT Visibility as a Service team is elevating corporate IT’s knowledge of their new Smart Edge Monitoring capabilities and how to best implement effective analysis and procedures. They are meeting executives goals to reduce time to restore (MTTR) services when problems do occur, even identifying them before the end-users even know an issue is emerging. When your business depends on swift, consistent customer service, ensuring a quality user experience is essential!