PSCU Gets A Panoramic View of Its Application Environment to Deliver the Experience Users Expect

Key Benefits

Rapid overnight deployment of application performance monitoring (APM)

Reduced mean time to acknowledgment (MTTA) and mean time to repair (MTTR)

Quick time to value for a seamless user experience

Challenges: The need for fast, single-source, user-focused monitoring across thousands of transactions

“We assigned agents, watched a couple of tutorials, and the next day load tested with a vendor. Frankly, that's how quick you can learn AppDynamics. It’s pretty quick time to value— and that’s just scraping the surface of what the platform can do.”

Earl Diem, IT Operations Manager, PSCU

Consumers choose credit unions over big banks for lower fees, higher savings rates, personalized service and the pride of ownership that comes with supporting and having a stake in the community. For many credit union members, the benefits are a no-brainer. But that doesn’t mean they don’t require the same level of outstanding service when it comes to banking application performance. That’s why so many credit unions look to third-party companies to build and run the mission-critical websites, financial applications and other cloud-based digital banking solutions they need to stay competitive.

And that’s where PSCU comes in.

“We provide credit unions with payment solutions, call center support, online bill pay, mobile— you name it,” says Earl Diem, IT Operations Manager at PSCU. “Our credit unions are absolutely depending on us to make sure these services perform well for their members.”

PSCU is the nation’s premier payments Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) and operates out of two geo-redundant data centers, hosting hundreds of thousands of payment card industry (PCI) transactions per day. Internal teams were equipped to identify database or storage problems but had to invest time manually digging into logs to pinpoint where those problems were. All the while, the team risked impacting the user experience because members often found the problems first.

With a broad goal of driving credit union member satisfaction and better product experiences, PSCU wanted a unified view of application performance that would permit a more proactive approach. In AppDynamics, the company found a way to do exactly that.

Says Diem, “This is where AppDynamics shines.”

About PSCU

PSCU is the nation’s premier payments Credit Union Service Organization supporting the success of over 900 credit unions representing more than 2 billion transactions annually. PSCU provides payments, risk management, digital banking, loyalty, strategic consulting solutions and call center services to help credit unions securely grow and meet evolving consumer demands.

Solution: Rapid time to value

The turning point came when PSCU’s engineering team installed a new interactive voice response (IVR) system and approached Diem about load testing it with a vendor the next day. For that, they needed to get a monitoring solution up and running in just a day— a process that would usually take several weeks. Diem told the AppDynamics team what he was up against. And then they helped him deliver.

“We were instrumented in the test environment the following day,” Diem says. “We assigned agents, watched a couple of tutorials, and the next day load tested with a vendor. Frankly, that's how quick you can learn AppDynamics. It’s pretty quick time to value— and that’s just scraping the surface of what the platform can do.”

From a user standpoint, PSCU was able to deploy APM across 32 applications (both in .NET and Java) within six months. And the licenses were no longer tied to the technology.

“I used to track how many .NET and Java licenses I had. I don't anymore,” Diem explains. “If there's a retired application, I can take licenses out of one app and put them into another and not worry about the license associated with the technology.”

And by checking the response time, PSCU could see the instant a user was impacted by a storage or database problem that was affecting their applications, which run live in both data centers.

“We know right away when it’s happened because AppDynamics refreshes every minute,” Diem notes— adding that, while fixing the issue, they could simply move traffic away from the affected data center to the other. “That is outstanding from a response time analysis standpoint.”

Benefits: Greater visibility cuts costs and response times while driving customer satisfaction

“As far as our application environment goes, getting AppDynamics was like walking into a room and turning the lights on.”

Earl Diem, IT Operations Manager, PSCU

Before AppDynamics, PSCU’s mean time to acknowledgment (MTTA) was hitting the four-hour mark. Today, PSCU is empowered to react before users notice an issue, and then identify exactly where those issues lie.

“As soon as we put in AppDynamics, we saw that the environment wasn’t scaled right,” Diem explains. “By scaling the JBoss servers up instead of out, we actually reduced our footprint and stabilized the environment. The JVMs were sized properly to take the traffic they were dealing with. AppDynamics gave us that visibility.”

Besides slashing their MTTA and MTTR, PSCU was also able to cut licensing costs. The impact on the business?

“It’s huge,” Diem says. “Our focus is on actual user experience versus SLAs."

From there, Diem continues, “AppDynamics just runs.” And, in the process, PSCU gets the benchmarking data it needs to trigger alerts for any problems in the environment.

To PSCU, that support is crucial.

“Support, to us, is very important,” Diem highlights. “AppDynamics has been absolutely outstanding. And that's not coming from a new customer: it’s coming from a customer who has been leveraging their support for years.”

“Support, to us, is very important. AppDynamics has been absolutely outstanding. And that's not coming from a new customer: it’s coming from a customer who has been leveraging their support for years.”

Earl Diem, IT Operations Manager, PSCU

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