Ahli United Bank (AUB) is the largest publicly traded commercial lender in Bahrain. With a network of subsidiaries and associated companies, it provides a range of award-winning retail, private and corporate banking, treasury, investment, and wealth management services. AUB also offers Sharia-compliant banking services under the "Al Hilal" brand name.
AUB was experiencing a period of significant expansion and wanted to improve the monitoring and management of its IT infrastructure, which included IBM Power Systems running IBM i and a number of other platforms on which resided a number of business critical software applications that supported all its operations. Among these is Misys Equation, a core banking platform that streamlines back office operations, increases automation, and enables the delivery of a consistent channel strategy throughout the Middle East and Europe.
AUB also wanted to automate important system routines, including overnight banking and housekeeping processes, and ensure that spooled files were efficiently processed. This would enable IT staff to be redeployed to handle other more critical system tasks and improve productivity.
As part of a detailed evaluation process, AUB asked QZone Trading, Bahrain’s leading provider of IT solutions and a longstanding partner of Halcyon, to recommend a solution that would meet all its current requirements with the flexibility and scalability to grow in line with business needs.
The company proposed the installation of Halcyon’s Systems Operations Suite (Level 2) with built-in Misys Equation templates to automate key processes and alerts and to provide a single, integrated view of the entire multi-platform environment.
The solution also included Halcyon Performance Analyzer for accurate and up-to-the-minute performance statistics and trends and Halcyon Spooled File Manager to enhance spooled file distribution. QZone also recommended the deployment of Halcyon’s HA-MX Monitor to manage the real-time replication process between production and high availability servers.
Key to the decision-making process was the high level of local support and service that Bahrain-based QZone could provide before, during, and after deployment. The QZone team worked closely in partnership with AUB’s IT team to define what it wanted to achieve and ensure that the installation process ran smoothly, preventing any disruption to the business. This included assistance with the configuration and associated testing of the Halcyon solution as well as training for all key staff.
Halcyon’s Systems Operations Suite has enabled AUB to automate the monitoring and management of critical tasks and IT systems to ensure they run at peak efficiency and that maximum system uptime is maintained. It includes specialist templates developed by Halcyon for the Misys Equation environment, enabling AUB’s IT team to ensure that each end-of-day phase is completed within a given time period and automating all after-hours processing.
According to Eric Buenaflor, Senior Manager of IT Operations at AUB, “The timely introduction of the Halcyon solution has enabled us to absorb the growth in business without needing to expand the IT support team. The level of automation we have achieved has allowed us to redeploy staff to more productive tasks where their expertise can be more effectively utilized. I would estimate that we have been able to achieve an 18 percent efficiency gain by optimizing the usage of our manpower resources.”
The graphical Enterprise Console provides greater visibility of important events, enabling alerts and messages to be proactively managed through a single centralized dashboard. Should pre-configured thresholds be breached or processes fail to run, automatic notifications are sent to authorized staff by email and viewed on the Enterprise Console. Corrective actions can be run automatically if processes fail to run as scheduled.
Halcyon Performance Analyzer provides AUB with accurate, real-time and historical performance statistics and trends and can be configured by the IT team to monitor multiple servers and partitions at different times. It records activity at different snapshot intervals as required to enhance service level reporting and allow any resource grabbing jobs to be quickly identified and automatically resolved, reducing the impact on system performance.
In addition, Halcyon’s Spooled File Manager automatically sends spooled files to any local or remote output queue or emails the files to users based on a range of criteria including file, user or job name, form type, and report titles.
“The Halcyon solution plays a critical role in helping us to ensure the availability of the Misys Equation core banking application and deliver a high level of service to customers across the Middle East and Europe,” continues Buenaflor. “As the bank continues its program of expansion, it gives us greater control of our IT infrastructure and enables us to handle the increasing business levels without requiring additional IT support headcount. Halcyon has delivered many benefits to AUB and we see it as being a natural fit for other parts of our business around the world.”