Bahrain’s eGovernment Speeds MTTR with AppDynamics

Key Benefits

80% reduction in incidents

Ease of use

Fast deployment

Challenges

The Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island in the Arabian Gulf, next to Saudi Arabia. Although small geographically—just slightly larger than Singapore—Bahrain is an epicenter of trade for the region.

“After we implemented AppDynamics, incidents were reduced by 80%. With fewer incidents, we were able to address the remaining issues immediately, often resulting in zero downtime.”

Abdul Hafeez, IT Consultant, iGA

As a sophisticated commerce hub, Bahrain’s government was an early adopter of digital transformation. This transformation has been led by the Bahrain’s Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA).

The iGA manages and oversees all of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s digital assets. Simply, the iGA is the digital backbone of the government. Critical tasks, such as monitoring and supporting the emigration system, run on the iGA’s applications and servers. iGA’s systems are complex and have high traffic. Most transactions have two elements: high urgency and high value. For example, if a visiting business person applies for a visa and encounters a hiccup, the iGA makes the fix priority one.

Inability to get a passport or visa, due to system issues, can frustrate users, because the outcome is so personal. Any problems with these critical transactions must be solved immediately. Further, every second without a solution means lost revenue. “If a system is slow, then that system is losing revenue,” said Majd Misbah Kalaf Alzghoul, Middleware Administrator.

Ten years ago, the iGA launched several government applications and had difficulty identifying performance issues. A number of monitoring solutions were evaluated, but had significant drawbacks, such as poor ease of use and lack of integration capabilities with other vendors. iGA chose a monitoring solution and committed to a large-scale integration. Unfortunately, the integration was problematic. The chosen tool was expensive and not user-friendly.

Given the importance of the iGA’s mission, a powerful yet user-friendly tool was critical. The iGA read Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Management  and decided to switch to AppDynamics.

About the iGA

Governments run on data, and most of that data, for the entire Kingdom of Bahrain, runs through the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA). In many ways, the iGA acts as a service provider for all of the Bahrain’s government agencies, including: healthcare, education, traffic, and immigration. The iGA owns IT security, maintains all of the critical systems, delivers statistics, processes payments, provides user authentications and authorizations.

If a visiting businessperson needs a visa, or if a local business needs a permit, both transactions are processed, managed, and monitored by the iGA.

The iGA is an award-winning organization and has been recognized with the  Smart Government Excellence Award  and by the  UN eGovernment Forum.

Solution

One of the most problematic issues for the iGA was monitoring immigration data at airports. Recurring issues resulted in weekly system downtime and long queues for visitors. “After we implemented AppDynamics, incidents were reduced by 80%. With fewer incidents, we were able to address the remaining issues immediately, often resulting in zero downtime,” said Abdul Hafeez, IT Consultant.

“We’ve built 15-20 custom dashboards. The common thread is response time. Response time is our most important metric, and it’s on everyone’s radar, from developers to management. AppDynamics has given us a common language and visibility that helps us communicate better with each other, as well as external stakeholders.”

Hesham Ebrahim Al-Hashemi, Acting Director for Government Systems Support & Maintenance Directorate, iGA

Reduced MTTR, combined with the ability to monitor issues visually, made AppDynamics a valuable tool for both staff and management.

“We identified AppDynamics as the solution that could quickly identify root cause. The technical team appreciated how integral AppDynamics is in helping the development team solve problems,” said Salman Alyasi, Acting Chief of Government System Control.

Reactive vs. proactive

Previous to AppDynamics, the iGA’s development team manually reviewed logs, to solve problems. The scale is enormous. iGA’s dozens of servers receive millions of requests every day. A single incident resolution often took several days. “AppDynamics has changed how we approach incidents. It has not only significantly reduced MTTR, AppDynamics has allowed us to go from reactive to proactive,” said Hasan A. Samad Al-Awadhi, Acting Head of Government System Support.

Deployment

iGA attributes its quick adoption of AppDynamics to the speed of deployment. Staff and management also found the interface simple and easy to use. “We implemented AppDynamics in 21 working days. Initially, we worked with AppDynamics’ consulting services to implement our three most critical applications. The deployment was so straightforward, the other 13 applications were fully implemented and configured by the iGA technical team. AppDynamics was very user friendly and flexible to use. Our management could not believe we were actively monitoring in a single month, and everyone was extremely pleased with AppDynamics’, intuitive dashboards,” said Hesham Ebrahim Al-Hashemi, Acting Director for Government Systems Support & Maintenance Directorate.

Cross channel & cross-organizational visibility

Visibility into the user’s journey and specific channel has helped iGA fix problems, faster. “Before, we lacked visibility of the end user. Now, we can see the entire user experience. If the user has an issue, we can quickly solve the problem. We can even drill all the way down to the device type,” said Hesham Ebrahim Al-Hashemi, Acting Director for Government Systems Support & Maintenance Directorate.

Similarly, custom dashboards have improved communication between developers and management. Al-Hashemi continues, “We’ve built 15-20 custom dashboards. The common thread is response time. Response time is our most important metric, and it’s on everyone’s radar, from developers to management. AppDynamics has given us a common language and visibility that helps us communicate better with each other, as well as external stakeholders.”

The future—cloud migration

In the coming years, iGA foresees their digital transformation moving to the cloud. They’re evaluating AWS as a viable option. Given their high volume, the primary concern is speed.

The key to such a large migration? Al-Hashemi thinks it’s AppDynamics. “Before we move anything to production, we do the full scan of the application with AppDynamics and see where the problems are. Being able to test the performance of an application, while it’s under production, really speeds our development process. This capability will be critical, when we move to the cloud.”

“Before we move anything to production, we do the full scan of the application with AppDynamics and see where the problems are. Being able to test the performance of an application, while it’s under production, really speeds our development process. This capability will be critical, when we move to the cloud.”

Hesham Ebrahim Al-Hashemi, Acting Director for Government Systems Support & Maintenance Directorate, iGA

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