South Africa’s Largest Telco Improves User Experience With AppDynamics
Telkom is a leading communications services provider in South Africa winning “Best Mobile Broadband, My Broadband 2016”. The company grew from offering business & residential payphones and fixed line services to an organization providing a wide range of services and products, including broadband, LTE and Fibre.
865 Telkom staff use applications across the company’s contact centers and on the retail shop floor. In addition, customers seeking flexibility and immediacy are increasingly using Telkom’s mobile apps for self-service interactions, making the availability and performance of applications business critical.
With more than 2000 people using its services, including field technicians, Telkom’s main challenge was maintaining a flawless and consistent customer experience. Whether it be a field technician booking their next appointment, a call centre agent handling a customer query or a shop assistant processing a sale, applications are critical to Telkom’s brand image. Systems must work flawlessly at all times to deliver a positive customer experience. Telkom also needed to understand the impact that software performance has on revenue.
“Today, any bad experience is multiplied and broadcast widely due to social media, so you need to ensure customers get a good experience. Applications are key to enabling that,” said Wynand Beukes, IT Executive at Telkom Business Connexion.
“Poor performing applications also impact employee productivity and their ability to serve customers. The requirement to be able to have a complete overview of the systems and associated application performance came from the CIO. He wanted to be able to see transactions per store and review how well our systems were serving the staff that use them,” Beukes added.
Telkom required an enterprise solution that would provide real-time insights into application performance, a deeper understanding and visibility of the end-user experience and the ability to link this back to business outcomes.
“We wanted a solution that could map our enterprise applications dynamically, giving us a holistic view of everything from end-user experience, through to infrastructure and analytics. AppDynamics has made it easy for us to build a custom, interactive dashboard, which displays all application information in a single view. Meaning, we can quickly provide specific answers to our application support teams. With AppDynamics, we also have the flexibility to extend the solution as and when we require it,” said Beukes.
From Telkom’s evaluation process, it was clear that AppDynamics provided an end-to-end view—exactly the solution the company was looking for. This enabled the IT team to demonstrate the value back to the business in less than a week— spotting critical issues two days into the deployment. After a successful proof of concept, the AppDynamics solution was rolled out across 13 applications and 400 micro-services across Telkom’s on-premises and SaaS environments.
Through deploying the AppDynamics solution, Telkom dramatically reduced time spent on spotting and fixing application issues, freeing up valuable resources to focus on strategic business initiatives.
“In 2009 the average detection, handling and resolution time of a P1/2 incident was 13 hours. Since 2011, the average time for P1/2 has reduced to less than one hour. AppDynamics played a major role in achieving this and will continue to be the strategic partner of the application performance drive in Telkom.”
“The AppDynamics solution was easy to roll out and from a staff training perspective we had a much quicker adoption rate than with previous tools. Its analytics capabilities have also given us the insights we need to make quicker, data-driven decisions,” said Beukes.
Telkom uses the AppDynamics solution to ensure that both online and physical, in-store applications perform flawlessly as part of their Omni-channel strategy. In every store, sales systems are monitored end-to-end and performance is reported back into headquarters. An example of the value this brings was witnessed when Telkom identified an issue slowing down the sales process for in-store staff. Through AppDynamics Diagnostic iQ, the engineers at Telkom headquarters were able to instantly locate the root cause of the problem and prepare a solution.
But it’s not just about technical performance– Telkom is utilizing Business iQ to rapidly correlate end-user performance and application performance, in order to drive business performance. Using real-time dashboards, headquarters have complete visibility of the number of transactions being carried out by each sales rep.
“Primarily this information is used to understand how well systems are serving employees but is also used to provide visibility into the performance of every sales rep, in every store. Application analytics and the dashboards we have created provide real time visibility into how well our systems are serving our employees in store thus, ensuring productivity,” said Beukes. This helps Telkom to understand whether busy stores require extra capacity from a human resources perspective and to plan future training requirements.
AppDynamics has enabled the Telkom team to demonstrate value back to the wider business, consequently changing attitudes towards application performance, with it now being seen as critical to business success.
“AppDynamics has had a positive impact on employee collaboration. Teams understand the value in having APM in place during build and test phases, so by the time we’re in production, everyone is using the platform to its full potential. Productivity has improved as teams can complete systems testing much quicker. AppDynamics provides all the information they need on each transaction in one view. Meaning, they don’t have to spend hours manually searching.”
“The visibility AppDynamics provides has changed our mindset and consequently, we’ve seen greater acceptance beyond operations, across IT and the business. AppDynamics has boosted IT’s credibility and brand within Telkom,” said Beukes.
The 2015 merger of Telkom with the Business Connexion Group, an information and communications technology (ICT) company, has presented new strategic business opportunities for both sides.
Leveraging the deep expertise in application performance management and application analytics gained from the AppDynamics partnership, a newly formed APM practice within BCX will offer a fully managed service to organizations across South Africa. By partnering with BCX, enterprise customers will realize similar benefits even faster, with the full managed service taking care of the deployment and running of the AppDynamics solution. This will provide enterprises the real-time information they need in order to drive successful digital transformation. BCX will also offer consulting services around deployment and customisation of AppDynamics for those customers choosing to deploy the on-premises solution.