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The Woolwich banking brand is one of the best known in Great Britain. Since it was founded in 1847, Woolwich has helped millions of customers make their dream, buying a home, come true. Banca Woolwich, the Barclays Bank brand specializing in mortgages, arrived in Italy in 1990 as a finance company, and was converted into a bank in 1995.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Financial

Challenges

  • Need for in-depth diagnostics without impact on infrastructure performance
  • Lack of historical network data hampered trending and capacity planning
  • Difficulty analyzing impact of network and application performance on business services
  • Demands better communication between IT and business units

Solution

  • An AppResponse Xpert Appliance in the primary data center
  • Extensive real-time and historical reporting of over 60 critical metrics
  • Long term data for trending and capacity planning
  • Reports network and application performance metrics in terms of business impact

Benefits

  • Deep insight into network and application performance and their impact on business services
  • Improved trending and capacity planning
  • Better communication between IT and business units
  • Improved ability to conform infrastructure investments and operations to business demands

Banca Woolwich

A Mortgage Just a Click Away

The Woolwich banking brand is one of the best known in Great Britain. Since it was founded in 1847, Woolwich has helped millions of customers make their dream come true: buying a home. Banca Woolwich, the Barclays Bank brand specializing in mortgages, arrived in Italy in 1990 as a finance company, and was converted into a bank in 1995.

In April 2004, Banca Woolwich—already part of the Barclays Group—was merged into Barclays Bank PLC, one of the largest banks in the world. It boasts more than 300 years of history, a presence in more than 60 countries and more than 16 million customers. Today Barclays PLC is taking on a new challenge on the Italian market, with the opening of branches in Milan and Rome to deliver a new way of being close to their customers with customized retail services.

Challenge: Managing a Network for Customer Service

As one would expect, Banca Woolwich depends heavily on Information Technology to deliver services to its customers. The quality of the network infrastructure, and its ability to support critical applications, is particularly important.

In order to improve support for the bank’s activities, IT decided to make new investments in the application and network infrastructure, and to migrate the server farm to a larger installation.

IT was particularly concerned with the ability to discern and communicate the benefits of the improvements they were making and to understand the impact on the bank’s business of any problems arising in the network or other parts of the infrastructure. Furthermore, the solution had to be non-invasive, yet capable of delivering an end-to-end vision of all the major application services of the bank.

Solution:

Banca Woolwich turned to the IT Service Governance practice of Selesta S.p.A., a prominent Italian systems integrator, for assistance in choosing the right solution to monitor the quality of the IT services offered to their users and the efficiency of their technological infrastructure. After a careful review of the bank’s needs, Selesta recommended the Riverbed AppResponse Xpert® Appliance solution. The AppResponse Xpert appliance was installed inside the server farm, connected to two SPAN ports on the Cisco 6509 model LAN backbone switch.

Benefits: Measuring and Maintaining Key Performance

Indicators

Not only does the AppResponse Xpert appliance give Banca Woolwich real-time access to key performance indicators, the trend data that AppResponse Xpert makes available over time enables the IT organisation to manage the business impact of changes to the infrastructure. They can assess, for any given change or set of changes, their effects on application performance and the response time seen by users by comparing “before” and “after” data, so that the benefits of any given change, such as the aforementioned server farm migration, can be accurately described and quantified for each affected Business Service.

“[AppResponse Xpert] allows us to measure key network and application quality metrics,” says Serena Vaturi, IT Manager for Banca Woolwich. “This is essential for the design of a monitoring infrastructure that can measure application and business KPIs in a systematic and flexible way, to enable a transparent dialogue between the IT division and the managerial offices that make use of IT services. A further benefit is the ability to calculate growth trends in a precise way (capacity planning), to allow a programmed evolution on the basis of effective business needs.”

“With this appliance we’re counting on reaching a higher diagnostic capacity and being able to gather more information about the functioning of our infrastructure, without requiring structural modifications to our network, and in a way that is completely transparent to everyone concerned with performance.”

Better Diagnostics, More Proactive

“The [AppResponse Xpert] solution gives us a clear idea of network trends with no impact on performance of the infrastructure whatsoever. This greater diagnostic capacity allows us to be more proactive about performance deterioration that, if not promptly detected and addressed, would in time compromise our levels of service. In addition, the information [AppResponse Xpert] supplies enables functional analyses that helps us conform our infrastructure investments and operations to the dynamic demands of the company’s business,” says Serena.

“With the [AppResponse Xpert] appliance, we can count on getting more information about the functioning of our infrastructure, and a higher diagnostic capacity for IT. The [AppResponse Xpert] appliance delivers this without requiring structural modifications to our network, and in a way that is transparent to everyone concerned with performance.”

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