Greater visibility, improved reliability and faster responsiveness set the bar for Service Delivery. Serving over 9 million customers, Domestic & General is a world renowned internationally operating warranty services specialist. With a vision to become the UK’s leading warranty provider and an aggressive strategy in place to do so, ensuring the right resources are available is essential.
The vast majority of D&G’s business activity is conducted online – so uptime, reliability and rapid-response times are always at the very top of their priority list. With some fifty-five staff working within the Service Delivery department, D&G identified that the team had limited visibility into the responsiveness of the IT systems as it evolved and changed over the years, and as a consequence uptime was not being maintained in line with strategic expectations.
D&G’s logical assessment to their requirements quickly led them to identify the need for a better all-encompassing view of their IT network and services operation. The solution needed to be able to look at and analyse their IT estate, respond to events and deliver detailed reports of activity and performance.
Getting a greater insight into the behaviour of their IT assets would allow for a deeper understanding of critical (and manageable) thresholds, network bottlenecks, the impact on productivity and profitability, as well as improved predictability, ultimately providing the right knowledge and tools to meet their demanding growth strategy.
On engagement, it was clear that any solution proposed, due to the type of organisation D&G are, would be both complex and challenging. With many of the applications residing on diverse systems, coupled with an internationally spanning infrastructure, the solution had to be carefully designed to cover all eventualities. Through a consultancy-led approach, Block established a solution that would meet the desired objectives.
Block consulted, designed and then quickly delivered a management solution that utilised a SolarWinds Monitoring Suite which also incorporated a third party plug-in to support the existing business services. The objective of improved service visibility and understanding of their online operation, coupled with maintaining business profitability were then met.
Since its commissioning, the service delivery team now receives a series of critical alerts as the system approaches custom set thresholds. Whether it’s memory, network traffic or even CPU utilisation, these alerts mean that the team are now proactive and can respond quickly. Such pro-active activity is helping the IT team limit the amount of time spend on problem resolution, reducing service outages and freeing IT staff to work on more strategic projects.
The new solution also enables the ability to create relevant, concise and on-demand management reports, which are essential for D&G in accurately planning and budgeting for future growth, again, minimising service issues, but also improving the way ongoing investment is made and utilised.
D&G’s websites are now continuously tested using Synthetic End User Monitoring which mimics a user, ensuring that real customers are receiving consistency as well as providing D&G with the ability to measure and improve the customer experience.
Maintaining and evolving these systems and services was also a key requirement, and Block were involved in the knowledge and essential skills transfer to make sure that the right level of technical confidence was put in place. This included a series of workshops, designed specifically to develop the team’s internal capability around maintaining the reporting and alerting systems.
Armed with the right skills and monitoring tools, D&G are now able to deliver a pro-active IT service that helps the organisation realise and capitalise on their IT infrastructure, whilst ultimately helping them stay true to their business strategy.
Thought there were a few difficult moments during the implementation stage, together with Block’s patience and cooperation (which I feel is a great reflection on the company), we were able to overcome themMark Gully, Network Services Manager
The candid approach and technology knowledge really stood out during the selection process.Mark Gully, Network Services Manager