Our client delivers world-class risk management advice and broking to customers around the world. Through acquisition and organic growth, the company is experiencing tremendous change. The organisation’s IT department now supports more than 30,000 users worldwide, and for business efficiency, LOB managers demand reliable applications that deliver stable performance.
A vital business application is the Eclipse Broking system from Sequel Software. The application automates broker processes, delivers management information and addresses compliance requirements – hundreds of staff across the business use Eclipse Broking.
An essential function is the routing inter-party transactions through industry networks, handled by a gateway unit. The problem was that the gateway should handle tens of transactions per second but, in reality, it struggled to process more than two. Eventually, the delays through the gateway became so bad that the application would timeout and throw errors, causing significant operations difficulties.
We have a very structured approach to problem investigations called RPR (Rapid Problem Resolution). Whereas most investigations into this type of problem tend to lurch from one theory to another, RPR precisely defines what will happen at every stage. This level of control means we can give IT and business leaders a clear indication of what we are doing now and what we will do next.
After gaining an understanding of the symptom and the system configuration, we created a plan to capture the data we needed. We executed the plan, analysed the data and reached conclusions.
We identified four issues that were then addressed by the IT team and the vendor, namely:
- Reports that caused database blocking were rescheduled, and the database was tuned, using our findings as a guide. These changes resulted in a step increase in gateway performance and the errors stopped.
- The application produced inefficient database queries. The vendor quickly addressed this.
- The application server was running slowly due to a design issue. The vendor is working to address this issue with a software patch.
- Slow storage was also impacting gateway performance. A planned upgrade will address this issue.
The problem had persisted for several months, creating a significant headache for the business and IT. Once we became engaged, together with the IT team, we resolved the immediate issue in six days.
In this case, our time-to-resolution was at least 15 times faster than the existing approach, with a payback period of approximately 4 hours.