Transforming IT Operations: The Web ViewPoint Enterprise Revolution

How Automation and Innovation with Web ViewPoint Enterprise saved one IT Team Millions.

In the ever-evolving realm of information technology, adaptability and innovation are the driving forces behind success. The story of Daniel Thiel and his tech team at Kyndryl Germany is a testament to this dynamic landscape. Their journey begins as a tale of struggle within a global enterprise and grows into a narrative of triumph through the integration of Web ViewPoint Enterprise, an exceptional monitoring and operations automation solution. Kyndryl Germany’s story underscores the immense potential of this cutting-edge technology to reshape the way businesses operate, and how it empowers organizations to adapt, overcome, and thrive in the face of daunting challenges. For Kyndryl, this remarkable software has not only transformed the way they manage their operations but has also ushered in an era of operational excellence, delivering them substantial cost savings of over €700,000 Euros per year and increased efficiency like never before. In this article, we delve into the journey of a team that embraced Web ViewPoint Enterprise and redefined the meaning of operational success.

An Uphill Battle

Imagine a world where a single technical glitch could disrupt the operations of a major organization, sending shockwaves through the business. For Kyndryl Germany, this was their daily reality not too long ago. They were entrusted with overseeing the complex IT infrastructure of Deutsche Bank, currently the largest bank in Germany and the fourth-largest money management firm in the world. In an interconnected world, with multiple systems spanning continents, even minor hiccups could have significant repercussions.

The challenges they faced were multi-faceted. Monitoring the network, servers, and applications was akin to juggling a dozen balls at once, with no room for error. “It was like being on the battlefield every day, with no time to rest,” says Daniel Thiel, Guild Leader of the tech team.
Daniel’s team was under perpetual pressure to ensure the seamless functioning of their systems, an unenviable task considering the sprawling nature of the enterprise. With thousands of servers and critical applications across the globe, identifying and resolving issues swiftly was no small feat. It’s in the midst of this seemingly insurmountable operational challenge that they set out on their journey towards a new solution.

The Quest for a Game-Changer

It became evident to Kyndryl that the existing setup was unsustainable. The team was drowning in a sea of manual monitoring, dealing with a continuous influx of alerts. For every minor glitch, they needed to muster a response. The system programmers worked around the clock, their sleep disrupted, and their work-life balance an afterthought. “Our operators were running on adrenaline, and it wasn’t sustainable. We needed to find a way out,” Daniel recalls.

The search for a solution led the team to Web ViewPoint Enterprise, a game-changing software designed to streamline IT operations. Web ViewPoint Enterprise promised a comprehensive monitoring and automation solution that could be the answer to their problems. It offered a way to transform their operational model, moving away from the reactive approach to a proactive and automated system.

The Allure of Automation

The Kyndryl team was impressed by the proposition. Web ViewPoint Enterprise claimed to provide the agility and insight needed to manage the sprawling IT infrastructure effortlessly. It promised automation, alerts only when necessary, and an overhaul of their entire operational paradigm. The concept of automation was particularly enticing; it would enable the tech team to address problems in a fraction of the time, ensuring a more efficient response to issues.

“The beauty of Web ViewPoint Enterprise is its simplicity and its powerful capabilities,” Daniel explains. “It’s as if we were struggling with an old tool and Web ViewPoint Enterprise was the shiny, new solution. It seemed too good to be true.”

The appeal of the software was further accentuated by its “out of the box” functionality. Setting up Web ViewPoint Enterprise looked to be an efficient process, with minimal configuration required.

The Cost Calculation

Embracing any new technology, especially one as transformative as Web ViewPoint Enterprise, demands scrutiny of the bottom line. In Kyndryl’s case, the financial aspect was a key factor. They conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis, considering factors such as staffing and licenses. The results were intriguing.

By their calculations, they would need to staff an operator 24/7, which would incur a significant annual cost. However, by implementing a shift model without weekend coverage, they could save the expense of one operator within the first year, and an impressive five operators after the initial twelve months. This translated to an annual saving of approximately over €700,000 Euros per year, a substantial amount that could be better allocated elsewhere.

“Automating even a quarter of the team’s workload led to significant cost savings,” Daniel states, reflecting on the pivotal decision to adopt Web ViewPoint Enterprise. It was the lure of substantial financial benefits that spurred the tech team into action.

Proof of Concept

The decision to proceed with Web ViewPoint Enterprise was not taken lightly. They opted to conduct a proof of concept to validate the software’s promises. This involved deploying Web ViewPoint Enterprise across their systems, including UAT and dev environments, and testing its performance against their specific needs.

During this phase, it became apparent that not all systems required the same level of alerting. The development and QA environments, in particular, exhibited low CPU utilization, rendering alerts unnecessary. The team swiftly adjusted their strategy.

Reengineering the Alerting Process

One of the primary hurdles faced during the proof of concept was the alerting mechanism for development and QA environments. The constant alerts, often triggered by negligible issues, led to alert fatigue among the team. “Receiving alerts when the CPU is just at 1% doesn’t serve any purpose; it’s just noise,” Daniel notes. To resolve this, the team transitioned from direct alerting to a more streamlined process. They established an alerting workflow via SMTP gateway, which sent alerts via email to an SMS interface, subsequently forwarding them to the on-call operator. This required the creation of a dedicated phone chain to ensure swift response. However, this adjustment did come at a cost, as the initial implementation led to substantial telephone bills. “We were one of the top consumers of telephone services worldwide within IBM due to the nature of our alerting,” Daniel recalls. Each email-to-SMS alert cost around 50 cents, and with numerous alerts triggered at short intervals, the bills added up quickly.

Initial Challenges and Learnings

The transition to Web ViewPoint Enterprise was not without its challenges. The Kyndryl team initially grappled with issues such as abandonment, alert looping, and frequent restarts during high-traffic periods. Despite the initial hiccups, the team remained committed to making Web ViewPoint Enterprise work. They embarked on an arduous journey, tackling each issue systematically and ensuring that the transition to this transformative solution was a success. “Some of the problems were related to our own SMTP and mail setup,” Daniel admits. “The transition process required significant adjustment and fine-tuning”. However, when looking back on those days, he is more forgiving: “It was like tinkering with a complex puzzle, but we eventually made it work.”

Daniel Thiel, Guild Leader from Kyndryl Germany presenting at TBC 2023 in Denver, Colorado, US.

Collaborative Problem-Solving

A key turning point in their journey was their collaboration with the Idelji team, the makers of Web ViewPoint Enterprise. The team worked closely with Idelji’s experts to address and resolve the issues that arose during the transition to Web ViewPoint Enterprise. The joint effort and knowledge sharing between the two teams were instrumental in overcoming the hurdles they encountered. While Daniel originally thought that they would need to rely on the expertise of a large organization like HPE, the expertise of the Idelji team played a critical role in solving problems and optimizing the implementation of Web ViewPoint Enterprise. “We owe a significant part of our success to the Idelji team,” Daniel emphasizes. “Their support was invaluable, and they played a pivotal role in helping us make Web ViewPoint Enterprise work seamlessly.”

Automating the Future

Once the initial issues were ironed out, the team began to experience the true benefits of Web ViewPoint Enterprise. They not only adopted the “out of the box” monitoring solutions but also made some slight adjustments to tailor the system to their specific needs. Remarkably, the default features provided by Web ViewPoint Enterprise were well-suited to their requirements. “We mostly adhered to the recommendations that came with the product,” Daniel says. “It covered most of our needs, and with minimal effort, we got our monitoring up and running.”

Web ViewPoint Enterprise helped Kyndryl Germany save over €700,000 every year since 2020.

Custom Monitoring

While Web ViewPoint Enterprise’s default monitoring was comprehensive, the team added some custom monitoring for their applications and middleware to address their unique business requirements. They closely followed developments in IBM MQ monitoring and enhanced their monitoring capabilities for their IBM MQ solutions.

“We are heavily reliant on MQ for our operations,” Daniel explains. “The international branches are interconnected through thousands of servers linked via MQ. Our monitoring needed to be as robust as the connections it was overseeing.”

In addition to enhancing MQ monitoring, the team expanded their scope to include job monitoring and disk monitoring, streamlining their IT operations further. Web ViewPoint Enterprise will soon have a plugin available for extending all of its capabilities to IBM MQ.

Building for the Future

The Kyndryl team was forward-thinking. They didn’t want to rest on their laurels; instead, they proactively planned for the future. With a stable monitoring infrastructure in place with Web ViewPoint Enterprise, they began to look beyond the present and explore new avenues for improvement.

Furthermore, in a strategic move to continually enhance their operations, Kyndryl is collaborating closely with Idelji to implement Local Analyst on all their systems. Local Analyst is a pivotal addition to Web ViewPoint Enterprise, enabling advanced off-platform smart analytics, automated reporting, and troubleshooting, further reducing the need for manual intervention. By harnessing this technology, the team aims to gain a deeper understanding of their system performance, identify inefficiencies, and swiftly optimize their operations, all while staying ahead of potential issues. The synergy between the Kyndryl team and Idelji exemplifies their shared commitment to pushing the boundaries of IT operations and embracing cutting-edge solutions to elevate their efficiency. “It’s all part of our commitment to continual improvement”, says Daniel.

Fine-Tuning for Efficiency

With time, the team refined their monitoring processes further, especially when it came to dealing with maintenance windows. A key learning was to optimize monitoring to avoid unnecessary alerts during these periods.

“Prior to the fine-tuning, we used to grapple with a deluge of alerts during maintenance windows,” Daniel recalls. “It not only burdened our team but also led to higher telephone bills.”

However, the team’s efforts were not confined to technological enhancements. They actively collaborated with colleagues from Idelji to compile a list of issues and discrepancies they had encountered during the transition. Idelji provided them with state-of-the-art support and helped them resolve all of their challenges. “We identified a substantial number of issues,” Daniel points out. “It was a challenging phase, and we faced several technical roadblocks. But with great collaboration from Idelji, we were able to overcome all of them.”

Continual Improvement

Rather than allowing the issues to overwhelm them, the Kyndryl team embarked on a path of continual improvement. They diligently worked on resolving each issue one by one, determined to build a stable and efficient monitoring system.

“Our primary focus was to make Web ViewPoint Enterprise work seamlessly, and we believed that every issue had a solution,” Daniel notes. “It was a matter of persistence and a commitment to providing the best service possible.”

The process of addressing and closing these issues extended beyond the technical realm. It also involved adapting their processes and reshaping the mindset of the team.

Left to right: Khody Khodayari (CEO, Idelji) and Daniel Thiel (Guild Leader, Kyndryl Germany).

Transition to Agile Operations

One of the most critical transformations occurred within the team itself. Daniel recognized that the agility of their response was crucial to the success of their operational model. They needed to transition to an agile mode of operation, one that allowed them to apply fixes swiftly and validate them rigorously.

“We began conducting manual checks daily and alerting checks every day,” Daniel elaborates. “This served two purposes: it verified that we were on the right track, and it built our confidence in the system.”

In their pursuit of excellence, the team introduced the practice of sending test alerts to validate the system’s readiness. Gradually, they increased the frequency of these tests.

Managing the Transition Amidst Resistance

It’s worth noting that the transition to agile operations wasn’t without resistance from some team members. The old operational model had become ingrained, and changing it was met with skepticism.

“The resistance was real, and it’s natural when you’ve been following a particular approach for a long time,” Daniel acknowledges.

“Our team had been steeped in a culture of firefighting, and the prospect of proactive, agile operations was met with some reluctance.”

However, the benefits of the agile model soon became evident. Not only did it provide quicker resolutions to problems, but it also enhanced the team’s ability to manage their systems efficiently.

Striking the Right Balance

Balancing the old and the new was another significant challenge. The team needed to ensure that the Web ViewPoint Enterprise installation didn’t interfere with their existing operational procedures. They needed a solution that was both innovative and seamlessly integrated into their workflow.

“Change is essential, but it needs to be implemented thoughtfully,” Daniel asserts. “We couldn’t afford a sudden, radical transformation that disrupted our operations. It was crucial to find that delicate balance.”

The transition involved a certain level of retraining, with the team members adapting to the new system while still maintaining their proficiency in the old one. The result was a harmonious coexistence of the old and the new, with the team wielding a powerful tool while still adhering to their established practices.

Unveiling the Results

The culmination of their efforts was a resounding success. With Web ViewPoint Enterprise, the team reduced the workload and automated many of their processes. They achieved a degree of stability and efficiency that had previously been unattainable.

“The change was transformational,” Daniel states. “We were no longer struggling to maintain a mountain of servers, and our response times improved drastically.”

The results spoke for themselves. The team had drastically reduced the number of alerts, cut down on unnecessary phone bills, and streamlined their operations to an impressive degree. “Before, we were surviving. Now, we’re thriving,” Daniel exclaims, expressing his satisfaction.

Efficiency in the Face of Challenges

In the ever-evolving landscape of information technology, staying one step ahead is the key to survival. Kyndryl Germany tech team’s journey is a testament to the power of adaptability and the ability to embrace change proactively. The transition to Web ViewPoint Enterprise was not without its challenges, but the team’s commitment to improvement and their innovative approach to operations allowed them to emerge victorious.

Fully Operator-Less Operations

One of the remarkable outcomes of their journey was the possibility of achieving fully operator-less operations. This vision was not a distant dream but a tangible goal that could soon become a reality.

“I couldn’t have imagined that we’d reach this point,” Daniel marvels. “After just three years of dedication and hard work, we are ready to operate with minimal human intervention. It’s a testament to the power of automation.”

The significance of this transformation cannot be overstated. With operations being fully operator-less, the team can redirect their resources and skills toward more valuable and strategic endeavors.

Left to right: Khody Khodayari (CEO, Idelji), Daniel Thiel (Guild Leader, Kyndryl Germany), and Vedant “Vito” Shrivastava (Product Lead, Idelji).

New Roles and Responsibilities

With the workload significantly reduced, the team had an opportunity to reallocate their resources and upskill their members. The younger operators who once managed day-to-day operations were now free to take on more complex roles.

“We had a team of experienced operators, some with over 20 years of experience,” Daniel says. “They had the skills, and now we had the time to help them transition into system programmers.”

This transition would take time and patience, but the team was eager to build a workforce equipped to handle more advanced responsibilities. Their goal was clear: by 2025-2026, they aimed to eliminate the need for operational roles altogether.

Expanded Services

The team’s increased capacity and reduced operational burden opened doors to new opportunities. They now had the bandwidth to expand their services and take on additional customers and projects.

“Since achieving operational stability,” Daniel explains, “we’ve ventured into new projects and provided consulting and support for four additional customers who are running their operations nonstop.”

The freedom to expand and provide services to other clients was an unexpected benefit of adopting Web ViewPoint Enterprise. “We’ve become more than just an operational team,” Daniel proudly states. “We’re now a strategic partner, enabling us to serve a broader client base.”

Substantial Cost Savings

The financial implications of their transformation were substantial. With their operational efficiency greatly improved, the team achieved significant cost savings.

“We’re now saving approximately €700,000 per year,” Daniel reveals with a grin. “This level of cost savings has elevated our standing in the accounts, making us indispensable.”

The savings were not just a number on a balance sheet; they represented the team’s exceptional achievements. “The financial benefits are a testament to the success of our project and the innovative path we chose to follow,” Daniel emphasizes.

Eliminating their previous complicated solution

While they had already made impressive strides, the team was determined to continue refining their operations. The next target was to eliminate the need for their previous complicated solution – a monitoring tool they had previously relied upon. “We’ve identified some specific functions that our previous complicated solution still serves,” Daniel states. “But with the rapid development of Web ViewPoint Enterprise, we anticipate that it will soon incorporate these functions as well. We can then get rid of the expensive license of our previous complicated solution, saving even more money.”

Automation Redefined

With their initial automation goals realized, the team aimed to take automation to the next level. They began exploring the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to enhance their operations further. “Our objective is to have AI support our system programmers,” Daniel explains. “We don’t want it to manage the systems; we want it to analyze data, make recommendations, and identify patterns to facilitate our day-to-day tasks.” This is where Idelji is helping Daniel and team again with their upcoming AI solution, iManAIge which will do exactly that. In the second part of this article, we will delve into this groundbreaking solution and how it is going to revolutionize the future for Kyndryl Germany’s team and so many countless others around the world.

“We’ve grown into an AI-centric team,” Daniel notes. “While it may take time for others to catch up, we are ready to embrace a future where AI complements our work.”

Impacting the Broader Organization

The impact of Daniel’s team’s transformation extended far beyond their immediate sphere. Their journey from struggle to success inspired a larger transformation within the organization.

“We have 70 SATs colleagues,” Daniel points out. “They’re closely watching our progress in AI, automation, and innovation. Our success has shown them the possibilities of what’s achievable.” The broader organization was taking note, recognizing the benefits of agility, innovation, and the transition to a more efficient operational model.

A Lasting Transformation

In summary, the journey of Daniel’s tech team at Kyndryl Germany stands as a remarkable testament to the power of change, innovation, and adaptability. Their transition to Web ViewPoint Enterprise was a challenging yet rewarding endeavor that led to significant benefits and opened the door to new possibilities.

The journey from a team struggling to keep up with manual tasks to a thriving, innovative powerhouse serves as an inspiring case study for organizations worldwide. The team’s ability to envision a more efficient future, embrace the unknown, and collaborate effectively drove their success.

As they stand on the cusp of eliminating the need for human operators, the team demonstrates that the future of IT operations is ever-evolving and deeply intertwined with cutting-edge technology. The story of Kyndryl Germany’s use of Web ViewPoint Enterprise is a testament to the importance of adaptability, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of improvement in the ever-evolving landscape of IT.

Experience Daniel’s complete presentation from TBC 2023 here: Customer Testimonials: How Web ViewPoint Enterprise helps save over $700,000 each year

Author

  • Daniel Thiel and Khody Khodayari

    • Daniel Thiel

      Daniel Thiel has worked at Kyndryl Germany (formerly IBM) since 2004. He was educated in the IBM Mainframe (z/OS, z/VSE) area. Daniel is currently the Manager in the Mainframe area responsible for German Delivery since 2012 and is the Head of the NonStop department with 16 people providing E2E service since 2015. Daniel is also a Delivery Project Executive directly managing customer NonStop services.

    • Khody Khodayari

      Khody Khodayari is a long-standing contributor to the HPE NonStop community with emphasis in Server operation automation and predictive analytics. With the support of his team at Idelji ( idelji.com ), Khody's innovations in automation and cloud-based analytics have significantly improved productivity across the HPE NonStop™ community. His current focus is on furthering Automation and implementing Server focused A.I. for HPE NonStop™ and IBM Z Servers.

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