Banking Services Can’t Stop: How Appulse Keeps Essential Businesses Running Even When Team Members Travel

November 19, 2020  |  Andrew Dvirnyk

The amount of time that critical applications can be turned off is extremely limited. Otherwise, we run the risk of essential businesses like banks suffering shutdowns that impact countless individuals, other businesses, and the overall market.

Small Window for Critical Applications

All this means that we need to react immediately to problems on systems of this type. We have a small window to identify and resolve problems. But it is not just about the limitations of time. These problems can be extremely complex. And the sources of these problems often are not immediately clear.

So, what happens? As developers and engineers, we start communicating with each other through chats and messenger applications. Intuitively, we seek to gather our collective knowledge and apply it to the problem so we can understand what is wrong and start fixing it faster.

Collaboration is Key

As with so many things, collaboration is key. We benefit from the vast knowledge and experience of our colleagues. In fact, it is a rare occasion when someone does not say “I’ve seen this before.” However, the scenario we are describing of reaching out to colleagues across multiple platforms is not structured in a way that makes it easy for developers and engineers to connect to the right information quickly.

It does not even account for vacations, let alone retirements, or colleagues who can’t be contacted because they are occupied with another project. This scenario fails to harness the power of collaboration when you need it most.

Harnesses the Power of Collaboration

One of the reasons we designed Appulse for business applications that run on mainframe is to fix this exact scenario. You need help from colleagues and other resources. You need to be able to access that help from a centralized location, easily and quickly.

Appulse provides that help. It stores solutions for a variety of operational issues. That means, Appulse acts like an ally to operational support employees. And this ally never takes a day off!

Wise Database

That operational support is strongest when the database is smartest. If your employees do not have a wise database like this, they learn on the job. That means they are scrambling to learn when the pressure is the greatest, and the stakes are the highest.

The kind of learning that needs to happen to resolve issues and solve problems that threaten systems that control the operations of major organizations in the industries we rely on most (think banking systems!) cannot be done on the fly. Unfortunately, without something like Appulse, that is what happens all the time. This leads to stressful situations, patchy fixes that break down, and an incomplete body of accessible knowledge for protecting and restoring functionality over time.

Reduce Employee Stress

When we look at Appulse, however, we see what it is like for developers and engineers when they are able to access the wealth of knowledge their colleagues have without the constraints of time, or place. So, not only do we see operational issues get resolved more quickly, we also see a significant reduction in the stress levels of the employees who are tasked with operational support.

This healthier environment is more productive. It enables operational support professionals to be more responsive, more accurate, more creative, and more reliable. Our less-stressed employee is more efficient and more reliable. That can mean the difference between minor service interruptions and major failures.

Service Fixes

Let’s think about the bank again. Once an operational support employee is alerted to a problem on the application, Appulse helps that employee create a service fix before the problem has time to get out of hand. Say you are that operational employee, and you see that a critical application job has abended. Attached to that problem, for example, could be clearing bad status from application tablespace. Appulse makes it easier to run a job to fix that. You are able to initiate a quick fix and get the application back up and running.

Beyond that, Appulse makes it possible to solve that problem (or a similar problem) even faster in the future. All this means that our essential systems are down for less time (if at all) and we are able to operate with confidence and precision.

Knowledge Transfer and Sharing with Appulse Gives People Time

That confidence and precision comes in large part from the fact that Appulse stores knowledge and makes it easy to access and apply it. In a previous article, we dove into the value of Appulse knowledge transfer. In the context of keeping operations functioning optimally, with minimal shutdown times on select functions, we demonstrate the value of knowledge transfer and share even more.

All of this amounts to saving developers and engineers time and stress. You can access Appulse no matter what. It is never too busy for you, like a colleague might be – especially when the stakes are highest.

At IBA Group, we understand more than anyone how high stakes and stressful a support engineer’s job is. This is especially true when you are working on systems for critical industries like banking, transportation, or logistics. Appulse helps ease some of that pressure by giving you access to what you need, when you need it. Then, in turn, it helps you store the knowledge you helped to build so that you and your colleagues can access it next time.

Your Colleague Can Take a Vacation!

We like to share the story about one of our IBA Group developers who had her long-awaited vacation interrupted by a barrage of phone calls from fellow developer Team Members.

A problem arose on a banking client’s system, and she was the only member of the Team who had encountered a problem like this before. Certainly, we could not wait for her to return from vacation before we fixed our client’s problem. So, we had to hound her until she was able to get to a phone and give us a call back. Then, she had to work remotely to get the Team Members up to speed with her knowledge so they could properly address the problem before it got out of control.

This story highlights a few things, including the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing. It also underscores the reality that, even the highest caliber, experienced developers cannot possibly know every single answer immediately. Moreover, it is impossible to create solutions for applications without knowledge of those applications. Appulse makes it so that knowledge is not confined to one person. As a result, the entire organization benefits from the knowledge that Appulse collects and shares.

How to Document and Share Knowledge

An AI module powers all of this. And that AI module makes Appulse smarter with every operational issue it encounters. So, the more problems you need to resolve, the better Appulse learns. As Appulse grows, it can become possible to suggest potential solutions to developers and engineers. Then you are able to review those suggestions and accept the solution it offers or build your own. If you do build your own solution, then that solution is added to the Appulse knowledge base.

By documenting how you solve problems, you make it easier for you and your colleagues to solve problems in the future. You are saving clients’ systems – and your precious time!

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