When United Arab Bank needed to improve its network performance it turned to ManageEngine for support. As a result, the UAE-based financial institution gained greater visibility and central control over its IT infrastructure.
United Arab Bank, which has established itself as a leading solutions provider for a growing commercial and industrial base across the seven emirates, has been working closely with ManageEngine to provide greater visibility and central control over its IT infrastructure.
Karthikeyan Muthuraj, Head of IT Service Delivery and GRC at United Arab Bank, tells us about the bank’s IT and network infrastructure and how ManageEngine has helped them improve their network performance as well as its service and operations management.
He also speaks about his journey in the last two years with UAB, his IT governance and service delivery initiatives and how they have resulted in business-oriented culture changes in IT support.
Can you give us an overview about the solutions you have deployed?
We have two core ManageEngine solutions deployed in the United Arab Bank IT department: ServiceDesk Plus and OpManager.
ServiceDesk Plus is the IT help desk tool we use for enterprise-wide IT service management.
OpManager and its sub-modules are used for infrastructure monitoring of day-to-day operations, monitoring network traffic, measuring capacity and managing IP addresses.
We are also using OpManager for our configuration backup and network change management.
In addition, we use NetFlow Analyzer for network capacity usage and reporting.
What necessitated your decision to implement the solutions?
We needed to know our business and establish clear accountability on what we own, whom we serve, how we offer and when we deliver. We also needed to track performance and measure the staffing level. While IT is seen as a cost centre, the ManageEngine solution helps us, to a great extent, justify the operating cost. Finally, we wanted to enhance the way we communicate with our internal business units.
In short, size is irrelevant when it comes to service quality. Even when there is a small team, the quality of the service needs to be measured in order to ensure we travel in the right path. At UAB, the mission of our business is to offer a superior customer experience, and we measure our success in terms of our core values: integrity, customer focus, competence, consistency and courteousness.
In line with those values, we have implemented this solution to spread the culture of service management, which will eventually result in helping our internal business units to achieve their goals and targets.
How did the vendor meet your objectives and what selection process did you adopt?
Often, we aim for ‘too big’ and end up with delays and troubles. So when UAB decided to implement service management processes, we were very cautious in our objectives, which are based on SMART methodologies. That is, we want our objectives to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART).
The vendor covered these objectives by breaking down the solution into phases and POCs. Every workflow we have created was tested and used in production to see the benefit and only then have we moved to the next module. When it comes to the selection process, the adoption is more towards cost and simplicity.
We believe in a lean and highly productive staffing model. We do not want to have additional team members just for managing the administration tools. So we were looking for a tool that can be managed by our staff directly, that’s how we ended up by buying ManageEngine products.
Is the solution delivering on your objectives?
Yes. In fact, we started exploring more options, which we shall use for day-to-day service delivery. For example, we shall manage IT projects in the enterprise edition of ServiceDesk Plus. We also expect to save license costs on other expensive software by managing those contracts in ServiceDesk Plus and linking the contracts to projects. That will give our senior management a 360-degree view.
How and when will you achieve return on investment on the implementation? How have you calculated this?
We started realising the ROI six months after implementation. The first milestone was achieved by measuring vendor-related cases and dependencies. Around 30% of backlog tickets were due to vendor dependencies.
Our earlier method was working with emails and phone calls directly, and we were unaware of the volume of work performed by the IT department. Now we calculate MTTR and backlogs based on support staff and covert the man days to understand the effort and estimation per staff.
Also managing physical assets and licenses is vital to cost savings. This tool can provide great insight when it comes to IT asset management. We now have good visibility on what we spend, including spending trends which helps us to optimise costs.
What are the advantages of your new system compared to your old one?
Earlier, we didn’t have a fully-fledged service management tool. Also asset management was done in an Excel register, which is a totally manual and time-consuming process. When we implemented the ManageEngine solution, we gained the following key advantages:
- We are now able to measure the service level for our users and deliver services on time
- Instead of tracking entire conversations in email, they are recorded in the tool, which retrieves older records seamlessly
- The tool is less prone to errors and delivers more accurate management reports
- We have an automated recon process in terms of assets
- We can capture improvements observed in the procurement process as warranty detail
- We have better control on end of life (EOL) for products
- We introduced an RFID asset tagging process
- Our business knows what to expect from IT and when it will be delivered
Has the system given you increased visibility into your operations? If so, how?
When it comes to operations, our network team is a happy OpManager customer. Capacity and availability reports are crucial when it comes to service delivery and to meeting new demands. For about 250 network devices, we use OpManager for end-to-end management.
Especially for a small environment like us, we need a simple solution without impacting the total cost of ownership on a long run. There are bigger and better products available, but organisations need perspective and analytical thinking when deciding which products suit them.
When it comes to SDP, we use it as a one-stop solution for end-to-end tracking of HR, IT and procurement tasks with the ability to drill down into SLAs and approvals. At any point in time, we know who, what, and how we serve, which is all crucial for establishing our baseline and for enabling further improvements.
Why did you choose to work with the provider?
Spending close to 10 years in this region, we already know the IT management market space, ManageEngine, and its referenceable customers. I was working as a service delivery manager for the biggest bank in this region prior to joining UAB, and ManageEngine software was the service management tool in that bank as well. So when I came to know my UAB colleagues were in process of evaluating the ManageEngine solution, I vouched for it.
Also vendor support is extremely important in terms of utilising the tools in the right way. Elitser and ManageEngine are both very approachable and quick to support our needs, so that was another key reason to choose this product.
How long did it take to implement the solution?
It took less than two months to kick start the application usage. We started with the ServiceDesk Plus Service Request module and eventually built service levels. After six months, we implemented change management workflow with approvals. Then we extended our scope to include asset management and project management as well.
Was the solution delivered on time?
Yes. The terms were clear between the bank and solution provider, and the solution was delivered as per expectation. The one change that we expect in the next release would be having specific codes while using specific modules. For example, incident IDs start with IM and changes start with CR. Specific codes like that will help us in reporting within modules.
Did the system require any additional training for staff?
Actually, there was no training during implementation, and we haven’t needed any since. This uses a drag-and-drop model in most of the modules. The person who manages this tool doesn’t need a programming background. They just need to use logic and have a grasp of the plug/play concept.
How far has the system future proofed your company?
We have defined our strategies around IT service management, what module to introduce and when. We have a clear plan designed as part of IT Governance, and our Chief Information Officer, Ayman AlQudsi, is very supportive of streamlining IT service management and governance.
As part of our future strategy, we would like to build a detailed CMDB with asset relationships and cost models. Also, we have plans to build custom workflows, automate more processes and minimise email communication concerning day-to-day IT service delivery.