After assessing various application performance management (APM) products, Swarovski chose to deploy Compuware's dynaTrace in its test environment. "In August 2010, we started looking for a solution among the market leaders for a proof of concept," said Neubacher. "It was pretty clear to me that dynaTrace best suited our requirements from both a support and development point of view."
He continued: "Working with the people at dynaTrace was very fast, friendly and easy. And, as the company is based not far away from us, we shared the same language and culture, so it was very easy to communicate." Neubacher added that the company took time to prepare its systems and networks for the APM monitoring but that, once it did, it began to see the benefits.
The company began managing the performance of its production systems in July 2011. "I was surprised we were able to put it into production so fast," he said. "We didn't need to configure ours or the dynaTrace systems very much. But now we have it, we love working with it."
Swarovski now has complete visibility of the user experience on its e-commerce site and the web applications and infrastructure that deliver this, taking the guesswork out of troubleshooting and optimisation. Neubacher reported that the site now runs much faster: "With the dynaTrace alerting, systems monitoring and reporting, we are freeing up more IT resources for it because so many people want to work with the data it gives us."
Reports clearly showing performance can now be cascaded up through the organisation. "Our information goes up to the senior vice president and chief information officer," he continued. "The information we get out of it is high priority and allows us to work much more effectively with application management and operational systems to identify the root cause of any problems more quickly and easily.
"Before we would've have had to involve all of the various IT groups if the site had a problem," Neubacher explained. "Nowadays we can go straight to the right team to find a solution. That means we are much faster at finding the solution, as well as the problem, in addition to communicating better with other groups."
The IT department has been able to use the information from dynaTrace about applications transactions, from the user click, across all tiers, to the database and back again, to identify where, on the end-user or server side, changes can be made to optimise performance. "We have made some improvements through a site redesign," Neubacher said. "And they have definitely seen a huge improvement in the call centre, which also uses the site. I would say we've seen an 80 per cent improvement in performance in the back office."
Swarovski is now in a proof-of-concept phase of expanding its APM use to other companies within the group. "Before we found it hard to identify application performance issues, now we know exactly where they could occur. Before, if the site was not faster, we might have bought more resources. Now we maximise the resource we've already got. And we use dynaTrace very intensively. And it helps us work faster," concluded Neubacher. "For me, that's the best return on investment."
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A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.
Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.