Our client is one of the world’s largest banks by revenue in 2008 with presence in more than 100 countries. They have world’s largest financial network and is also one of the largest companies in the world. This Leading Bank’s Information and Technology Services provide products and services that improve bank’s profitability and competitiveness throughout the world and achieve global consistency, best practice adoption and operating efficiencies. One of the IT groups at bank first got in touch with Kovair searching for an Incident and Change Management solution. This case study describes the challenges faced by bank and how they use Kovair Global Lifecycle to address those challenges for today and tomorrow.
One of DSA’s primary tasks is to ensure construction of safe schools in California. DSA performs this by their very nature, Equity Trading and other Software applications managed by the bank are business critical tools for the company and they depend on timely resolution of Production Incidents. The bank had three major challenges in implementing and streamlining a process for Production Incident Management system. The first is managing a process across a group of employees and contractors in multiple domestic and overseas locations. The second challenge is to integrate various legacy and 3rd party vendor tools used by various groups within bank. The third major problem is to give access to the traveling managers to the Incident management process so that the process is not held-up because the managers don’t have access to the information behind the firewall.
The problems with Process automation are very typical in any large company. For an IT department at a bank, which is distributed over a number of locations, managing and routing ‘Production Incidents’ in real-time to the right personnel for evaluation and resolution is highly critical. Without process automation, most of it is done manually which means various individuals need to act as traffic cops to route things correctly. As in any process, actual people playing different roles change and more importantly the workflow changes frequently to take into account dynamic business situations. In case of a manual implementation, the success of any process depends on the discipline of each participant to adhere closely to the process and perform without any mistake. That means every time there is a change in people or workflow, everyone needs to be retrained about the changes. But even with the best of intentions, mistakes occur which often become expensive to correct. Recognizing all the limitations and disadvantages of the manual processes the Bank tried to use one of the commercial change management tools to automate the process. With the complexity of the workflow requirements with multiple parallel workflow paths and automatic conditional branching, most of the commercial state based process tools were inadequate to meet those requirements. With this challenge in mind the world’s leading Bank went in a search for a powerful yet simple process management tool with all the other functionalities needed for a state of the art Incident and Change Management process, preferably in a single tool.
The second challenge this group faced is a typical problem in any large corporation with various tools from different vendors – they don’t talk to each other. The consequences of disjointed silos of tools are very apparent.
- First, information does not move from tool to tool in a timely manner without manual intervention, which means there may be pockets of process automation within an individual tool but it remains isolated from the larger ecosystem of tools.
- Second, the information trapped in individual tools is disconnected and often manually replicated, and hence prone to inconsistency. Third, creating any meaningful report across the data from different tools is manual and tedious.
- Finally, each group using these siloed applications as their primary tools remain isolated from each other and important pieces of information are not available to the rest of the groups. With all these serious consequences, it is not a surprise that companies try to integrate the tools either using internal development resources or from very few vendors who have any kind of tools integrations available off the shelf. However, point to point integrations between the tools have their own serious problems. To have a complete point-to-point integration between say, 5 tools will need 10 different custom codes to be created. In addition, as tools change and have new releases, for every new update 4 different integration codes are to be changed. Even more important, the business rules of the integration are to be hard-coded in the integration code which means if there is any change in business rule, the code is to be changed, tested and deployed. This results in what is described by one of the foremost industry analysts, as a ‘Brittle Integrations’.
The third challenge is to fix the syndrome of “wait, since the manager is out of the office”. In a critical production environment like Trading Software, an important patch to fix a high priority Incident can hardly wait for a sign-off since the senior manager is out of the office or traveling. Getting a sign-off over the phone does not work since it has to be auditable and traceable to make the process compliant to Sarbanes-Oxley and other IT governance requirements.
Kovair Omnibus offers the following immediate benefits for this company:
- Kovair Global Lifecycle with its built-in Process technology – Omniprocess, Workflow for IT™ and Integration technology – Omnibus, Integration Bus for IT™ addresses all the challenges the world’s leading Bank faced.
- Kovair Omniprocess Process Automation System is the industry’s leading IT and SDLC/ALM (Software Development Lifecycle/Application Lifecycle Management) process automation technology. Out of many cutting edge technological features of Kovair Global Lifecycle, in this study, we shall discuss only a few which directly contributed to the success of the implementation of the complex process at the Bank. These are the same features which are typically missing from most of the other tools which world’s leading bank had already evaluated for implementing their Incident and Change management processes.
- Omniprocess’ browser based process designer allows the Bank to create and manage processes without the need of any expensive IT resources. In Kovair, all configurations including process designs are achieved with drag-and-drop and mouse-clicks without a single line of coding.
- Multi-level Role Resolution for implementing a complex process with various personnel playing different roles in various conditions is very useful. A typical example is – assign the Production Incidents related to Database to John but related to UI to Mary. All others can be handled by both John and Mary equally. A more traditional workflow system will need some coding to implement various such business rules, but Kovair can implement these very easily just by drag-and-drop Role configuration.
- Automatic Conditional Branching allows automatic routing of the Production Incidents in different alternate paths based on some complex conditions. For example Production Incidents for database with high severity may follow a different path from low severity Incidents. In the traditional process automation tools often the path to be taken is to be manually selected rather than automatically followed based on the values of various attributes.
- Omniprocess’ Task based process engine can handle parallel simultaneous activities and cut down the overall cycle time of the process. Unlike State based process engines which can do one thing at any time, Task based process engine helps the Bank to model a real life process more closely and also reduce the cycle time from that of a single sequence of states.
- Kovair Omnibus Integration is an open and seamless integration framework with all essential services like collaboration, traceability, process automation, security, reporting and analytics built-in in a single repository. Omnibus enables the Bank to make its 3rd party and internal tools active participants in the Incident Management and other processes as part of a Service-Oriented-Architecture (SOA). With Omnibus’ Hub or Bus architecture the complexity of multiple tool integration is drastically reduced from that for a point-to-point integration architecture. Omnibus is based on Web service standards using SOAP protocol. This means all 3rd party tools, applications and legacy software can be integrated independent of their Hardware/OS, technology platforms or locations. This standard being firewall friendly, will allow these tools be integrated even when they reside behind multiple enterprise firewalls without compromising the Bank’s stringent security standards.
- Using the Omnibus, the Bank is integrating various tools used by various groups to provide an unprecedented integrated ecosystem of IT tools. This ecosystem includes a tool for test management – Quality Center from HP/ Mercury, an internal helpdesk ticket management system used by the application support group, software configuration management software from Perforce for the development group, internal release management tool used by the markets and banking group and Microsoft SharePoint used across bank. With some of the unique features of Omnibus, the Bank can achieve business values which are not implemented with ease in any other way including building custom point-to-point integration coding.
- Linking and tracing objects in different tools integrated with Omnibus is an invaluable capability for exposing the inherent relationships among objects and determining the impact of changes in one item to the rest of the ecosystem. It happens quite often that one critical item is changed but no one was informed and as a result other parts of the organization broke. Once all the important tools are integrated with each other using Omnibus, the Bank not only can avoid these costly mistakes, it can effortlessly create high level management reports of various information trapped in different tools, in the context of each other.
- Separating out the data integration from the business logic in the Omnibus adapters allows the Bank to create and manage the business rules like ‘replicate ONLY the tickets of the type Incident from the internal ticketing system to Kovair Incident Management system’ just by drag-and-drop without any help from the developers to change the adapter code. Unlike other integration technology and any custom integration coding, Kovair adapters do not have any hardcoded business rules. This makes the integration management extremely easy and put it in the hands of the users rather than the developers.
- Process enabling the integrated external tools is one of the major benefits of integrating different tools using Omnibus. Though tools like Quality Center or the internal tools don’t have any built-in process automation capability, by virtue of integration with Omnibus, these tools now become Process enabled. If required, the Bank can now automate many of these processes, a capability that did not exist before.
- Kovair Global Lifecycle’s active mobile access makes it easier for Kovair users to be involved in the processes even when they are on the move. The Bank’s strict security requirements do not allow browser on mobile phones to access any website including Kovair application behind the firewall. To address this problem, typical in most of the large corporations, Kovair has developed a unique email based interface technology that allows users to participate in the processes from Blackberry devices, phones with Windows Mobile Operating System or any other mobile device with email capability. Using this unique feature of Kovair, users can access and review data, edit items, complete tasks and approve works not just from their email capable mobile phones, but from any email system even if they don’t have access to the browser and access to the Kovair application behind a corporate firewall.
In conclusion, the world’s leading Bank has achieved some major capabilities by implementing Kovair Global Lifecycle across the organization, though not implemented equally in all the groups at the time of writing this cases study. The capabilities are in three primary categories of Process Automation, Cross Tools Integrations and Active Mobile Access. Other than these primary capabilities, the Bank also gains the power of an industry’s leading ALM and IT management platform with its built-in applications like Incident Management, Change Management, Problem management, Requirements Management, Test Management in a single box with a single user interface. In summary the salient capabilities that the Bank acquired:
- With Kovair Omniprocess:
- Implement, enforce and automate processes thus totally eliminating the risk of manual process implementation
- Create and manage processes using browser based drag-and-drop designer eliminating the need for custom development and consulting resources.
- Manage the complex multi-level role resolution to model the real life process more accurately
- Automated conditional Branching eliminating continuous training of the participants
- Task based process reduces the cycle time of the State based processes
- With Kovair Omnibus:
- Eliminates expensive manual data transfer processes and human errors
- Linking and tracing among data and objects in diverse tools
- Process enabling other third party tools without any process capability of their own
- Creating and managing business rules by the end users rather than developers
- Increased and immediate visibility across groups, management levels and geographies
- User preferred tool environment for individual functions but in a totally integrated environment
- With Kovair Active Mobile Access:
- Access Kovair application while traveling from any email capable mobile device
- Without compromising the corporate security system, participate in behind the firewall Kovair process – view/ edit items, complete tasks
- Access from any computer in the world with only email capability