IT infrastructure management in financial services looks very different from other industries.
In this highly regulated space, concerns about security and uptime abound. And with good reason: millions of sensitive monthly — if not daily — transactions means there’s pretty much zero margin for error. And it makes sense. After all, your applications don’t just support your business — these days, they’re actually your primary revenue generators. So, the longer your application is down or delayed, the more it impacts your bottom line.
In the finance industry, the stakes are arguably even higher. That’s why it’s safe to say an ounce of prevention is worth exponentially more than a pound of cure when it comes to managing financial application performance. And, if teams take a proactive approach to managing IT performance with a robust APM strategy, they can eliminate issues before the customer even notices.
But the other problem holding the industry back? The highly distributed nature of IT ecosystems and the volumes of data they generate.
With the disruption of fintech came a new wave of APIs as companies began competing to increase app functionality, introducing into their environments more services, more data, and — of course — greater potential for performance issues. Patching them as you go might seem like an obvious solution, but as application environments grow vastly more complex and generate more data than ever before, this approach can cause serious long-term issues in terms of identifying anomalies and maintaining operational efficiency. In fact, in a recent report from McKinsey, experts emphasized the importance of a so-called “comprehensive data ecosystem” that gives banking and finance institutions a full picture of the entire data landscape:
“Building a comprehensive data ecosystem to access customer data from within and beyond the bank, creating a 360-degree view of customer activities, creating a robust analytics-and-data infrastructure, and leveraging these to drive scientific (versus case-law-based) decisions across a broad range of activities from customer acquisition to servicing to cross-selling to collections — all are critical to a bank’s future success.” – “The New Picture in Finance,” McKinsey, 2016
So, how do you find the issues in that haystack of an IT environment before they jeopardize revenue and consumer trust? With end-to-end visibility, automation, and real-time insights into the health of your application environment. The key is to spend less time troubleshooting issues and more time innovating for your customers. Let me illustrate with a few of our customers’ own experiences.
Visibility that reduces major incidents
Q2eBanking, a smart banking platform that allows banks and credit unions to optimize customer experiences across all devices, had a familiar challenge: unify APM across a highly distributed environment.
Their patchwork of tools could monitor the back end and front end, but did little to reveal problems on the customer’s end, or the many third-party vendors those customers relied on. User-reported issues were difficult to predict and diagnose. And by the time they turned to AppDynamics for help, Q2’s platform was climbing past 250 million customer interactions per month.
End-user monitoring was the solution that provided visibility into the performance issues that Q2 needed. And where the team had initially tried diagnosing user reports by creating health rules based on certain percentage of errors — an approach that produced a lot of noise, but not much signal — AppDynamics let them create dynamic baselines to track performance for each of their customers.
That segmented performance activity reduced troubleshooting time by hours (in some cases, days) and drove down the number of false alerts by more than 83%. Q2 was able to deliver a seamless, personalized experience not just across devices, but at any time of day.
Visibility that drives sales
SecureCo is a specialized compliance-as-a-service provider that takes a “zero-compromise” approach to its award-winning security. Their goal was to reduce the growing challenges of payments compliance by creating visibility into the payments stack. Without that visibility, it was difficult to differentiate between issues in the stack and those more downstream, and it took anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours to resolve high-priority (P1) incidents.
To find issues, articulate them to stakeholders, break them down to their individual components, and quantify the time spent in downstream transactions, they needed robust and dynamic analytics.
Our APM solution provided them all of that in just a few clicks. From there, we were able to successfully follow the movements of each message through SecureCo’s stack. They could then use that data to make smarter decisions about capacity.
As a result, SecureCo reduced mean time to resolution (MTTR) from hours to minutes. Able to immediately eliminate entire portions of their architecture as responsible for issues, they even tripled their transactions per second. Albeit indirectly, their visibility translated into sales.
Want more AppDynamics success stories?
You may already understand how application performance affects brand, revenue, and customer satisfaction. But your company may not yet appreciate that losing a customer from poor application performance or availability is 100% preventable.