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How Aternity Provided Performance Visibility for a Public Agency’s Critical Applications

Aternity August 17, 2021

Most government agencies must maintain websites, servers, and other technology in order to provide the services their constituents need. For example, most cities, counties, states (or provinces), and countries around the world offer information and services via a combination of websites, online portals, and applications. These can help citizens access resources like welfare and government assistance; look up key information about laws and ordinances; and contact their public officials with questions and comments.

Aternity has helped many of these government agencies ensure the uptime and performance of these critical services with digital experience management and critical application performance benchmarks. One UK-based government agency selected Aternity to establish performance baselines for critical service applications, enabling analysis and troubleshooting of any future performance bottlenecks in a new cloud environment.

However, before the agency could baseline and begin measuring performance, they needed to overcome a few hurdles. Here’s what happened.  

Hidden Performance Issues Create Application Blackouts

In the spring of 2020, when officials began instituting stay-at-home orders in response to the global pandemic, the agency’s public access system struggled to meet sudden demand increases. Multiple applications critical to public health and well-being, experienced extended periods of slow performance and downtime. 

One of the most critical applications affected was Mosaic, which was the backbone of a social care case management system used by many local authorities. For this particular government agency, the system provides case management services to over 600 of the area’s most vulnerable adults and children. For these users, system downtime could mean lost access to healthcare, social and/or education services. 

Making matters worse, the agency was unable to pinpoint the cause of numerous performance issues their users were reporting. To overcome these challenges, the agency began to pursue a cloud-first approach for their systems, which would include end-user experience monitoring to help ensure the availability of these critical services. Aternity’s services and solutions helped the agency address these needs.

Deploying a New Cloud Environment with Monitoring Support

The agency engaged with Aternity’s professional services team to configure a SaaS-based application environment capable of meeting the demands of its constituents. The new configuration would also instrument five key applications and app suites: Mosaic, SharePoint, Office365, a housing application, and Civica W2. 

Additionally, the agency wanted to ensure the new system delivered performance that equaled or exceeded the legacy environment. So, the Aternity professional services team’s first order of business was installing End User Experience Monitoring (EUEM) in the system plagued with performance issues. The end-user monitor then recorded legacy system performance for approximately four weeks as Aternity collaborated with the agency on the requirements for the new environment. 

By monitoring the legacy system performance, Aternity established a baseline which the new system would need to meet. In this way, the agency saw performance metrics for the first time through Aternity. 

Previously they had been unable to conduct load tests, as the agency staff were working from home, so normal methods of monitoring would have proven ineffective. The traditional approach of relying on reports from the vendor or time-consuming stress tests would not have provided data quickly enough to help the agency solve the performance and downtime issues. Constituents needed access to key services, and it would take far too long for traditional methods to give results. 

Aternity was the only monitoring tool that could collect the critical benchmark data of the Mosaic system. The Aternity solution monitors performance on-site as well as within end-user devices, providing a full picture from the customer’s point of view. Aternity’s EUEM ensured end-user experience was monitored across the agency, providing insights into how application performance was affecting the public.

Proving System Success

In a short time, the new SaaS environment was in place, solving the lengthy downtime issues and meeting the service needs of the agency’s public. End users now experience fewer issues and have immediate access to the social services they rely upon.

With performance monitoring in place, the Aternity Validate Application Change service determined that the new system had improved performance by as much as 20% within the Mosaic application. Similar improvements were seen in the remaining applications.

With Aternity, the agency was able to present reports to the steering committee that clearly proved the value of the new system.

Gaining Visibility to Close Performance Gaps

With Aternity End User Experience Monitoring, the agency’s IT teams were able to demonstrate clear performance increases for their new application environment. Additionally, the IT teams have gained performance visibility that enables them to proactively analyze the root cause of problems for users, rather than attempting to fix symptoms as they manifest through user complaints. 

Aternity closes the IT monitoring visibility gap with accurate, real-time information about how the agency’s end users actually experience and interact with government applications. It automatically generates a baseline for every application. Baselines can automatically be split by location, subnet or target server so that a granular baseline exists for different groups of users. The agency can also set manual thresholds for acceptable performance.

As soon as performance deviates from a baseline or threshold, Aternity detects the problem, generates alerts and opens troubleshooting tickets. Aternity also speeds up resolution by automatically analyzing the impact and affected groups, and identifying the probable cause. This visibility has significantly decreased the agency’s time spent addressing user tickets and remediating performance-related issues. Overall, Aternity has helped this local government agency get back to the business of delivering key services to their valued constituency without interruption or downtime, which has never been more important than over the past year.

To learn how you can leverage the Aternity Digital Experience Management Platform for continuous service improvement watch the On-Demand webinar: “11 tips for Successful Continual Service Improvement in the Real World

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