Most Effective Use of IT to Manage IT

Winner: Barclays

Project: Barclays Operational Control Centre

Business goal: To create a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure control centre that dramatically cuts operational costs and drives customer satisfaction to new heights.

Like many of today’s businesses, the IT systems at banking giant Barclays are critical to the smooth operation of the organisation. But, until recently, the senior management team had very little insight into how those IT systems were fulfiling their mission-critical functions.

Barclays’ service operations group, which is responsible for the branch applications, contact centres and online systems at the heart of the company, set out to change that by creating an incident management system that provides visibility for business managers into any IT issues that might impact their division’s activities.

The service operations group’s traditional approach to incident handling, while functional, did not accurately account for business priorities, says Ian MacDonald, head of the service operations group at Barclays. “We needed to change, to become more customer focused.”

The development of the Barclays Operational Control Centre (BOCC) melded innovative technologies with a more proactive approach to incident management, helping tackle issues earlier and provide business leaders with information on how well IT was meeting their service requirements.

In the Control Centre, staff monitor services on large plasma displays, with applications and incidents coloured differently to indicate priorities. A cut of the same information is also available via a portal, ensuring the wider business can track the status of incidents relevant to their work. “There’s a real sense that the business now trusts us to look after their needs,” says MacDonald.

One vital part of the BOCC, was to improve the monitoring of Barclays overnight batch run, which handles around 120,000 jobs. Previously, failures might not have been picked up until they had already caused knock-on problems the following morning. But by implementing process alerting for more than 100 different services related to those batch jobs, BOCC cut the number of associated service outages from 28 to three a month.

Where there are major incidents, senior executives are automatically notified, either via SMS message, email or pager alert; they are also informed of the seriousness of the incident and can track its resolution through the portal.

BOCC has already saved Barclays £300,000 in efficiencies, while the reputation of the service operations group has been enhanced. Moreover, customer satisfaction, measured both before and after the project, rose to a new high of 83.7%.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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