SightLine is Core Component in Scottish Life’s Award-Winning IT Systems
In the highly competitive financial services industry, providing responsive and results-driven customer service is crucial to retaining customer loyalty. Since 1881, Scottish Life and its network of independent financial advisors (IFAs) have built of reputation for award-winning pension and retirement planning services.
At the center of Scottish Life’s operations are two Unisys-based mainframe systems containing complex information about the life and pensions markets. The systems are housed in two key sites located approximately one mile apart and connected by dark fiber. The first site contains Scottish Life’s production mainframes and network infrastructure – a monolithic Unisys LINC/DMSII application running on a Unisys ClearPath NX 6830, with performance and operations supported by EMC Disk and ATL Tape Robots. The second site contains the product development mainframe and network infrastructure, as well as business continuity and disaster recovery facilities.
Scottish Life’s Development Environment site maintains these mainframes for the rapid development and service support that is critical to business operations. To achieve maximum cost-efficiency, systems development must be robust enough to accommodate new product development while ensuring that existing products keep pace with constantly changing legislation.
As a regular winner of ‘5-Star service to clients’ awards, Scottish Life requires constant quality, speed of service and rapid fault resolution within its Production Environment. Additionally, the use of Web-based services to connect to IFAs increases the need for performance monitoring in a more visible and volatile environment.
Prior to a major infrastructure enhancement, Scottish Life identified critical obstacles in maintaining their usual service levels: the resolution of service degradations could only begin when users contacted the technical staff directly. Issue resolution would incur significant delays as the technical staff analyzed pages of figures, adversely impacting Scottish Life’s provision of service. The lack of measures to rapidly identify system faults led Scottish Life to seek a more resilient and structured solution.
The SightLine Solution
After a robust review of competitive system monitoring tools, Scottish Life contacted SightLine Systems. During a trial installation SightLine™ detected a significant fault in a major new system, enabling Scottish Life to solve the problem prior to launch. SightLine’s graphic interface also made it easy to identify and diagnosis additional system faults.
Having proved its value to the company, Scottish Life installed SightLine across its entire infrastructure. With nearly 200,000 financial transactions processed daily through their IT infrastructure, Scottish Life is now able to provide its users with service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee a ninety-nine percent operational uptime.
At the same time, SightLine’s Web-based reporting features has improved incident management by providing greater monitoring of system data. Internal Helpdesk advisors can access performance and processing information directly for customers instead of referring them to technical support. At the same time, SightLine’s external Web feature enables support staff to monitor system performance remotely, ensuring effective issue response at all times.
The SightLine Difference
In 2001, Scottish Life tapped Compass Management Consulting, a fact-based performance improvement consultancy, to conduct a cost of ownership survey of their information services expenditures. Compass concluded that Scottish Life's UK Data Center operates more efficiently than a World Class Reference Group, outperforming the group for service quality and available online transaction services. This is why Compass awarded Scottish Life a place in the Top 20 world group of 2001’s best performing companies for the speed and efficiency of its IT systems development and networks.
“SightLine is critical to our overall IT strategy,” said Neil Heydon-Dumbleton, Information Systems Manager at Scottish Life. “With everything running on one platform, superior service is crucial. SightLine has been Scottish Life’s primary means of maintaining high-quality service levels since 1992. SightLine enables us to maintain a level of service that is satisfactory to our customers.”
SightLine Ensures Superior Service Across INTEGRIS Health’s Multiple Platform
INTEGRIS Health, Inc. is Oklahoma’s largest state-owned health system, with hospitals, rehabilitation centers, physician clinics, mental health facilities, independent living centers, and home health agencies located throughout the state.
With a statewide network designed to facilitate the daily sharing of information between facilities, INTEGRIS Health’s IT network service levels must maintain availability to ensure superior client response time. In particular, the organization required a monitoring solution to track the overall system performance and utilization of their OpenVMS platform.
The SightLine Solution
After a review of available vendors, including PAWZ, INTEGRIS Health determined that SightLine’s drill-down capabilities and 24/7 performance monitoring capabilities best served their complex system needs. SightLine provided coverage for INTEGRIS Health’s OpenVMS platform as well as their Tru64 and AIX environments, fostering critical interrelationships between all of their network systems. Managers can implement performance rules and logic that automatically scan transactions in real-time, maintaining the integrity of complex operations and service level standards.
By using SightLine to monitor their IT network’s operating systems and hardware, INTEGRIS Health can access accurate historical information and timely day-to-day information. This has helped INTEGRIS Health to quickly spot, analyze and resolve emerging hardware requirements. At the same time, SightLine’s AutoWeb feature provides access to history trace file data through INTEGRIS Health’s internal web site. Systems engineers and management can effectively track server activity and plan for emerging workload demands.
“The Auto-Web feature allows others in IT to see what our servers are doing at any time of the day,” said Ted Kidd, Systems Engineer for INTEGRIS Health. “They can also see what the servers did yesterday, last week, or last month.”
As an example, Kidd cited a recent instance in which their Tivoli monitor notified them that a server CPU was extremely busy. When they received the message, they accessed SightLine’s live feed plot webpage – via AutoWeb – for the particular server. Kidd was able to see that the CPU had been pegged at 100% for the previous thirty minutes then worked with an IT analyst to identify and correct the issue.
The SightLine Difference
With SightLine, INTEGRIS Health experiences value at all organizational levels. At the executive level, SightLine provides real-time system diagnostic information that is easy to understand. For IT staff, SightLine’s drilldown capabilities provide a complete system view, for efficient issue identification and resolution. It also improves response time by reducing overall down time, while its integration across platforms represents a huge economy of scale for all cross-domain applications.
“We needed service level assurance across the many levels of our enterprise,” said Kidd. “SightLine was able to provide a smooth flow of information through its seamless integration, making a significant difference in our overall operational efficiency.”