This Success Story perfectly illustrates the benefits Advizex brings to a company running its mission-critical workloads on Oracle. From a hardware vendor to a full-service IT partner, Advizex helped this healthcare giant do more than solve technology issues. We implemented a culture change that sets the foundation for optimal success moving forward.
A Big Healthcare Player.
Our customer facilitates real-time communication for healthcare organizations including insurance providers, hospitals, and technology partners. They move a lot of data between a lot of organizations, and they need to do it quickly. In fact, if this company experienced a glitch, the entire American healthcare system would feel it.
A Long History.
As is common for fast-growing companies, this healthcare powerhouse’s IT operations became siloed and bogged down by issues. Their in-house IT staff spent their time putting out fires, leaving little-to-no time to think strategically about the business.
Since 2010, they’ve called on Advizex to help with their technology needs. The relationship centered around Oracle databases: purchasing and implementing hardware, specifically upgrading antiquated systems to Oracle Exadata. Throughout the years, Advizex remained a trusted partner, involved in database management.
The Catalyst for Change.
In late 2018/early 2019, the company upgraded their Oracle database to 18c, an interim version of the database. Because of open and known bugs in Oracle 18c, workload volumes and known application issues, inefficiencies wreaked havoc on the customer’s ability to process data and conduct business. A combination of events and issues severely impacted the availability and scalability of business-critical applications and systems, causing processing delays and huge workload backlogs.
At the very basic levels, people couldn’t do their jobs. In the words of the customer, they faced a “stability crisis” in their IT environment that, if left unresolved, would have considerable effect on the performance of their mission-critical systems.
Given their relationship with Advizex and our relationship with Oracle, the customer called us to help.
Our first priority was to stabilize the environment. We took ownership. It was all-hands-on-deck for both Advizex, the customer and Oracle. We coordinated daily calls with the various players, internal and external. The stabilization effort was a multi-pronged approach, working with the application development teams as well as with the Oracle support and development teams.
With a data- and fact-based approach, we collaborated with the application development teams to help them understand how the application logic and processing inefficiencies were causing and/or exacerbating the stability issues. Our team provided application tuning recommendations and supported them with testing and validation of their impact.
Leveraging our Oracle relationships, we were able to get Oracle to assemble a war team dedicated specifically to addressing our customer’s database issue. The team was comprised of senior-level executives and management, support teams and development staff. We managed daily calls with this team to work through service requests, open bugs, data collection and remediation strategies. Our customer’s stability remained a top priority.
We were able to bring the situation to a manageable level in 2-3 weeks, but it took months to stabilize it. And there was more to be done.
Just prior to this crisis, the customer had brought in new senior-level management who wanted to make their IT department more strategic. Their IT professionals had to be freed from the day-to-day IT operations and from reacting to problems. This is a challenge we see often, and one that we’re adapt at solving.
A Long-Term Outlook.
Once the initial crisis was solved, the Advizex team sat down with our customer’s senior management to discuss how to best move forward and prevent this from happening again.
We addressed multiple issues:
- Internal culture:
- The application development team didn’t work with the database administrators during design, development or testing.
- As we see in many companies, the infrastructure and application development teams lacked a working relationship consisting of healthy communications.
- The application development team viewed scaling as an infrastructure issue (not an application development one). This strong internal difference of opinion regarding scaling needed to be resolved.
- Lack of a quality functional and stress-testing mechanism.
- Lack of application instrumentation required for root cause analysis, debugging and an overall proactive approach — their in-house IT staff was constantly reacting.
- The database team didn’t have the necessary tools and information to diagnose performance and statistics to identify problems quickly.
Creating a More Proactive Future.
The Advizex solution addressed the above issues by driving a cultural shift within the customer. We gave them a multi-tier support plan through Advizex Cloud Managed Services (CMS) that covered operational support and created a proactive feedback loop. Advizex architects provided strategic, forward-looking support and advice.
By partnering with CMS, this healthcare company secured its IT operations, enabling their in-house team to shift from a reactive mode to a proactive mode. We took care of their operational management and administration of the databases and associated technologies. This freed the internal team up to collaborate more strategically.
The benefits are numerous.
For instance, we’re able to provide 24/7/365 support at a much more cost-effective level than can be done in-house. While they had monitoring in place, it was reactive. We set up a proactive monitoring that alerts us of potential issues before they happen. Their security is improved since we’ll take care of the necessary patching and upgrading as needed — on time. Automation and orchestration will infuse efficiencies they’ve never before experienced. With us taking care of the day-to-day, the internal IT department has the time and energy to be more strategic and move the business forward.
This shift from a reactionary perspective to a more strategic one is better for the staff, the customer, and the entire healthcare industry.
We now have more information about our environment than ever before. We have reports that allow us to better understand and locate performance issues which allows us to resolve these problems much faster — or escalate them to our internal team or OEM.
— Customer, Leader of Infrastructure
Technology is relatively easy to fix. It’s looking at the entire business and determining how we fit IT into the business problem and developing the whole solution that makes Advizex a valued partner.
— Dale Costantino, EVP Cloud Managed Services
THE ADVIZEX TEAM
Key team members include:
- Dale Costantino, EVP Cloud Managed Services
- John O’Connell, Sr. Account Executive
- Sridhar Avantsa, Director, Database Services
- Shobhit Saxena, Client Solutions Director
- Alwyn Santos, Practice Director, Database