BforBank

"I’m my banker. AppDynamics is my application manager."

Launched by the Regional Crédit Agricole banks, BforBank is a specialized savings bank that offers high-class and personalized services to its clients, empowering them to take an active part in their asset management. It offers a considerable departure from “traditional” banks: it is 100% online and open 24/7. The performances of BforBank’s IT infrastructure and, in particular, its banking and accounting applications, are at the heart of the unique functionality it offers to clients.

Challenge: Performance severely affecting internal teams and end users

Thanks to the strength of the Crédit Agricole Group, and in particular the infrastructure of its private Cloud where all the applications are hosted, the BforBank IT department has a robust and sustainable platform. It is based on two data centers: one hosts the front office and the other the back office with dedicated personnel.  This platform allows BforBank to serve its existing clients and to roll out new offers to gain new clients without frequently being hampered by the need for upgrading. This robustness, however, does come at the cost of some negatives.

The infrastructure is quite complex, and is split between different operators, suppliers, and host companies. And that’s why Sébastien Tournay, the BforBank Infrastructure and Operations Manager, found himself faced with recurring performance incidents that impacted not only user experience but also internal teams - and all without an easy, reliable means of identifying the source of the malfunctions.

“We were regularly faced with deteriorations in response time to different applications without having the tools that would allow us to pinpoint the source and nature of these malfunctions,” explained Sébastien Tournay. “The time required to repair incidents was not satisfactory, and impacted the end user experience as well as the morale of our small team, who was aware of this problem.”

It was a significant problem; a handicap for Tournay’s team. And so he determined to find a solution that would allow him to resolve the issue.

...when you work in a bank, confidence is a very important word.

“We had carried out an internal technological examination, and developed intelligence which had allowed us to identify application performance solutions upstream which already were on the market,” Tournay noted. “But, as is quite often the case, the investment required did not seem to be a priority when we started this activity. We had to face this fact though, so we kicked off a research project to choose the supplier who would be the best to support us.”

AppDynamics: choosing a frame of mind

Once this research had started, AppDynamics was quickly chosen.

“Beyond the simple technical adequacy of their solutions to our problems, we were impressed by AppDynamics’ frame of mind,” explained Sébastien Tournay. “We quickly realized that we shared what I would call a start-up spirit with the same values of commitment, flexibility, and the desire to place customer satisfaction at the heart of our activities. We actually connected with each other in a very “2.0” way, using LinkedIn! We both soon recognized kindred spirits in one another, and we quickly made the choice to trust them.”

We quickly realized that we shared what I would call a start-up spirit with the same values of commitment, flexibility, and the desire to place customer satisfaction at the heart of our activities.

The recurring theme was the optimization required to enhance end user experience, and BforBank and AppDynamics teams quickly harmonized in strengthening the IT system with two high priority projects: resolving incidents and improving response time.

“Things went really quickly,” explained Sébastien Tournay. “Once we were in contact with them, they just needed four days to deliver a test environment so we could validate the solution. In just a month, we finalized the budget and the deployment itself took place in a week, where, at the same time, a technical contact person was trained.”

Based on the deployment of agents in the heart of different architectures hosting Java applications for BforBank, the AppDynamics performance management solutions allows real time analysis for BforBank teams, with precise details on bottlenecks, their locations and their eventual impact. And with a detailed BforBank applicative mapping, AppDynamics fosters the making of the right decisions at the right time, using statistics and historical accounts. AppDynamics also guides the redevelopment of some parts of the application, optimizing performance.

“But we went even farther when we integrated the APM solution into our test environment to accompany the delivery cycle of our applications and pre-validate our developments,” added Sébastien Tournay. “Tested from one end to another, ticket by ticket, our applications are now immediately operational as soon as they are produced, which increases reliability and makes our team members very proud.”

Offering granularity, ergonomics and the capacity to deliver the right information at the right time, the AppDynamics solution was an immediate hit. Thanks to the guidance supplied by AppDynamics, the BforBank DSI is now able to supply the Quality Manager with precise information on application performances, adding value to the work done by team members.

“For us, because we’ve got a strong ‘devops' culture, and because the same teams are in charge of development and operations of the applications, the AppDynamics application performance management solution was really the tool we were missing to allow us to concentrate on upcoming work, in complete confidence,” concluded Sébastien Tournay. “And when you work in a bank, confidence is a very important word.”

For us, because we’ve got a strong ‘devops' culture, and because the same teams are in charge of development and operations of the applications, the AppDynamics APM solution was really the tool we were missing to allow us to concentrate on upcoming work, in complete confidence.