Company Overview: NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship Technology™ solutions to customers worldwide in the retail, financial, communications, manufacturing, travel and transportation, and insurance markets. NCR’s Relationship Technology solutions include privacy-enabled Teradata® warehouses and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, store automation and automated teller machines (ATMs). NCR employs 31,400 in more than 100 countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
Today, IT budgets are stretched tighter than ever. Companies are being forced to look at existing resources for optimal performance. Purchases truly must be justified and provide a quick ROI. NCR Corporation, a Fortune 100 organization, is one company doing just that — optimizing performance of existing tools to keep its global data processing center up and running at peak performance.
NCR ITS is the technology service division of NCR. ITS runs the global processing center, which houses more than 900 servers of varying platforms and handles global data processing for NCR operations.
This center is the company’s “hub” for all applications, from manufacturing to financial; from order entry to personnel, HR, etc. The processing center even handles NCR’s services business, including all data and transactions associated with service contracts, dispatching service engineers, etc., for the part of the company that services equipment from third-party providers.
Recently, ITS chose TeamQuest's (now part of HelpSystems) Vityl Capacity Management to meet a migration challenge: in migrating to a series of new machines, NCR needed to optimize performance of these systems while at the same time add planning capabilities to help prepare for future migrations. Not only did Vityl Capacity Management meet the initial challenge, they continue to provide a significant amount of cost-avoidance. NCR can make the best use of what it already has rather than buying new hardware. Because they optimize their own company systems, NCR can better serve its own customers.
“Vityl did a demo on our systems that worked — nobody else could do that.”
Paul Armstrong, Infrastructure Procurement Manager, ITS, NCR
A few years ago ITS began to migrate a number of its machines to a new server environment. The performance monitoring tool the division had been using tracked system performance, kept a performance history and provided real-time analysis and troubleshooting. The tool could not migrate to the new environment, so ITS began looking at alternatives.
The ITS team narrowed the search down to a handful of products. Among the tools NCR evaluated, one was not nearly as customizable as NCR needed it to be. It provided predictive capabilities, but only for a specific set of variables. Another contender provided performance-management capabilities from a database perspective, but did not provide real-time monitoring.
Much of the final decision with NCR came down to the live product demo. According to Paul Armstrong, infrastructure procurement manager within NCR’s ITS division, “Vityl did a demo on our systems that worked — nobody else could do that.”
HelpSystems provided the only solution among the competitors that could provide all these pieces in one integrated suite. Vityl Capacity Management contains a comprehensive analytical tool that reports system performance and locates bottlenecks. It performs real-time threshold monitoring of systems and offers a variety of detailed analysis capabilities, letting the administrator drill down to the users and processes active at the time of a potential problem. This lets the administrator explore cause-effect relationships and uncover cycles and patterns in system behavior.
“The installation went extraordinarily well. We got it up and running immediately, and started to see trends within two days — at the most.”
Systems Administrator NCR
Vityl Capacity Management provides automated report publishing through a standard web browser. It delivers to all types of users — from system administrators to the CIO — out-of-the-box custom reports displaying performance information from multiple platforms.
“The other products provided mediocre history, nothing to predict, and no modeling at all,” said Emrick.
Vityl Capacity Management provides predictive analysis for long-term capacity planning. This PC-based package automatically retrieves data from a customer’s systems then builds models of those systems and associated applications. The customer can then use these models to experiment with what-if scenarios to see what affect a potential change may have on the environment before any changes are actually made — letting IT staff make cost-effective decisions to improve business service performance.
“Vityl came in and swept us off our feet,” said Emrick. “It was thorough, lo-and-behold it worked, and it worked on our systems.”
With these trends, NCR is seeing a significant amount of cost avoidance. In the past, if NCR had performance issues the first response was to buy more hardware. Now, with the combination of the performance management and modeling software
NCR can make the best use of the hardware already in place. Armstrong went on to say that this year in particular — with nearly every company focusing on the bottom line — Vityl software has been an extraordinary help. “This has been a lean year for everybody, which has highlighted the benefit of the Vityl Capacity Management that much more,” Armstrong said. “Vityl has helped us get the most out of our dollar.”