Discovery is a global company with ten business units supplying health insurance, car insurance, life insurance and financial services to nearly six million people in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Asia and the USA. Discovery has expanded from being solely a healthcare company to a multifaceted corporation offering innovative services to meet the evolving needs of its clients since its origin two decades ago.
Company Size: 10,0000+ employees, 10 Business Units
Countries Supported: South Africa, United Kingdom, Asia, United States
Network Management Software: Entuity network management
Discovery’s ongoing expansion was straining its global network infrastructure and services delivery. There are over 10,000+ internal users and an IT staff of approximately 250 including 4 dedicated network engineers. Supporting 10,000+ users is not an easy task. With more than 800 network devices worldwide, Discovery needed a network management solution that could provide critical network visibility to quickly identify network issues. They needed to keep service delivery at high levels to ensure that each business unit remained productive.
Today, Discovery is in the process of moving into a new state-of-the-art facility that will consolidate multiple data centers into a new, single data center in South Africa. The IT team there will see a dramatic increase in the number of monitored devices they will be responsible for when this new data center becomes operational. Their Entuity network management solution will equip them with the ability to keep Discovery’s network reliably operating for the ten business units around the world.
Keeping an Expanding Network Healthy
Growing pains are inevitable when your company is expanding worldwide. The challenge for Discovery was to support their various business units with always-on network services. When your company provides health and financial services there is no room for error. From third-party healthcare providers and end-users to Discovery employees, everyone depends on 24/7 access for health or financial answers. Initially network management was accomplished through a mix of disparate tools, which did not provide proactive alerting or necessary network management capabilities, such as capacity planning, that were critical to Discovery’s business growth and success.
There was limited visibility into how many network devices and links were up, down or experiencing errors. Measuring Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and latency was also difficult and not fully accurate. The increasing complexity of applications and network expansion was leading to more outages affecting company productivity and escalating capacity issues. The single function, non-integrated network management applications were not effective, efficient or accurate. “Despite the growing demand of applications and various services, without a comprehensive view of our network, our resources were not always being used effectively,” stated Paul Du Plessis, Discovery IT Communications Manager. The Discovery IT team realized that to successfully support the company, it was time for an enterprise class network management solution.
A Powerful Prescription for Maintaining Network Health
Perhaps the greatest IT engineering challenge for any growing company is its ability to respond quickly when adding new services, supporting an increasing end-user base, and supporting new technologies. Discovery was thriving, and the IT organization needed greater network visibility and insight into how the network was being used and how to expand it effectively to provision the company’s rapid expansion. After a thorough evaluation of multiple network management products, Entuity network management was chosen.
Entuity had the broadest and deepest functionality in a single product. Even during the evaluation process, Entuity uncovered some “hidden” issues. For example, high interface utilization on critical links was identified, SDIs were brought to light, traffic patterns were highlighted and the lack of capacity planning was evident. Entuity’s proof of concept showed its ability to function as an enterprise class network management solution through its ease of navigation and all-in-one view, thereby providing an accurate picture of Discovery’s worldwide network. “Without Entuity,” remarked Paul Du Plessis, “we would not have the realtime visibility to ensure our network is supporting the entire corporation.”
“Entuity is quick to respond to our hardware vendor interoperability requests and we appreciate how they continue to adapt to shifts in technology. For us to have a software vendor that always improves its product is instrumental to our continued success as an IT organization.”
The Discovery IT team now has an all-in-one integrated network management solution. The key improvement using Entuity has been in end-user satisfaction levels. Since installing Entuity, the team is able to respond more proactively, which has led to much lower time to event resolution, consistent uptime and in turn, happier customers. The ability to quickly track the root cause of an outage creates less stress for the IT department and improves their own engineer time management. It also makes an obvious difference in the network’s performance. Using Entuity, the IT Operations team estimates it has decreased Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) of problems involving PCs, servers and switches by two-thirds, freeing up valuable resources and increasing productivity.
Improved network management is further achieved with increased visibility to changes in routing neighbors of network devices. This new automatic alerting on changes allows IT to proactively manage any associated detrimental events that might be triggered. Additionally, the alerting, capacity planning, and real-time visibility features provided by Entuity have given the Discovery IT organization:
Enhanced network management efficiency
Accurate data to make smarter decisions
Reduced operational complexity
Key Results Achieved with Entuity Network Management include:
Ease of network scalability and addition of appropriate IT resources for ongoing company expansion
Reduced number of service outages with improved alerting and root cause analysis
Decreased MTTR by two-thirds and increased end-user satisfaction and productivity
Embracing the digital worldview, Entuity provides digital network analytics for the changing enterprise. Our highly automated, unified, enterprise-class solution puts deep network insight at your fingertips, frees IT staff to focus on strategic projects, and easily integrates with major framework environments. Entuity’s support and services teams are frequently praised for their rapid response, networking expertise and involvement in special engagements.
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