Case Study: First International Bank of Israel

Finding Bottlenecks in a Complex Banking Application

The First International Bank of Israel (FIBI) is one of Israel’s five largest banking groups, providing consumer and commercial banking services.  FIBI employs innovative technology and computer logistics systems to conduct business for its various clients located throughout Israel, from large to mid-sized businesses down to residential households.

Business Challenge: Performance Degradation in a Mission-Critical Application

FIBI clients and employees rely on a wide range of applications as an essential part of daily operations.  One example is FIBI’s main business application which connects about 6,000 users from its 200 branches across Israel.  Unfortunately, this mission critical application was encountering performance problems.  Clients routinely complained about slow response times and service disconnections. The development team and others struggled to identify the root cause of the service degradation.  Compounding the problem was the fact that this was a highly complex application incorporating various components including Web servers, Active Directories, message queues, and mainframes.

The performance of this core application suffered further when the marketing team rolled out a new, integrated application. All the major IT stakeholders congregated to troubleshoot.  Each team was using its own siloed monitoring tool and proclaimed that its systems were fine.  Yet even after daily meetings that regularly lasted 2 to 3 hours, the performance issues persisted.

Solution: SharePath Application Performance Management from Correlsense

FIBI implemented SharePath from Correlsense to gain a better understanding of what was happening across the complete application architecture.

“We want to know if there is a problem before the user reports it,” said Chen Moskovich, who is a leader in the infrastructure team at FIBI.  He manages three teams and is responsible for the company’s monitoring systems.

SharePath was employed to help with the FIBI main business application.  Given the immediacy of the problems with this core system, FIBI installed SharePath directly into the production environment.  Moskovich was especially impressed with the tool’s easy installation process.  “I didn’t need to sit with the developer or ask him to touch his code to instrument the monitoring,” he said. “I think this is the main advantage over other APM products.”

SharePath alerted the team that there was an issue every time the new marketing application accessed the mainframe.  This was happening multiple times per second, significantly slowing down performance in the main business application.  “SharePath gave us results right away,” said Moskovich.  “You need something like SharePath to find where the bottleneck is.”

The team was also surprised to learn that the marketing and main business applications were dependent on each other.  “No one knew about this connection between these two applications,” said Moskovich.  After discovering this link through SharePath they made adjustments to both applications. “We changed them to work in parallel.  So now, we can shut down the marketing application and the main application still works OK,” he said.

Results and Benefits: Greater Visibility into Performance Problems

FIBI now uses SharePath as a core end-to-end monitoring tool to manage application performance and quickly resolve problems.  “I use SharePath to investigate if there is something wrong in one of our branches or if a client is working with an application and experiences a problem,” said Moskovich.  In addition, the data from SharePath is forwarded to the central IT management platform to provide further intelligence for the 24/7 support team

Moskovich again emphasized the importance of being proactive. “I can now know there is a problem before getting a phone call, and I know I have 1-3 minutes to make a change before a client complains,” he said, describing SharePath as “putting eyes where you don’t have eyes.”  It helps him and his team see things, such as transactions or connections within the company’s systems, that they did not know about before.

This information is also helpful to non-IT stakeholders.  The business manager responsible for online banking at FIBI watches the SharePath dashboards in real-time, keeping a keen eye on the SLA watch.  “She often knows if there is a problem before anyone else,” said Moskovich, “she can raise an alert if she sees a large number of transactions that are not meeting the bank’s SLA.”

SharePath also helps Moskovich with other ad hoc tasks.  “For example, management sometimes asks me to compare branches. If there is a problem in one branch, we want to make sure it’s not happening in others,” he said. “Or if we install a new application in a branch, they want me to monitor it.  With SharePath, I can see how different versions of applications compare to each other.”


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