Improved visibility across operations
The State Agency modernized its technology systems with app migration to the cloud and increased visibility with Elastic Observability.
Streamlined data monitoring
The State Agency consolidated its infrastructure on AWS and established a “single pane of glass” view of data using Elastic’s rich data collection and visualization capabilities.
Saved significant time and costs
The State Agency saved as much as a week of staff time per month using Elastic to automate previously manual processes.
Using Elastic Observability, a State Agency improves insight into systems’ data and boosts efficiencies
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 and it became necessary for employees to work from home, this State Agency, choosing to remain anonymous, had to quickly transform its technology networks, systems, and infrastructure. The IT environment had been developed primarily for people working in one location, and it suddenly had to be available to a remotely distributed work environment. The agency urgently needed to strengthen IT infrastructure resilience and increase visibility into that infrastructure. It also needed the ability to meet the new expectations of its constituents, who suddenly required services delivered to them remotely or digitally.
The agency knew it must modernize its IT infrastructure and consolidate monitoring tools to resolve these challenges and improve visibility into its operational and cybersecurity data with a “single pane of glass”.
We looked at the technology issues we were trying to solve and realized that we needed to move away from transactional data dashboards which make it hard to find issues to ones that could handle more complex and streaming data moving us towards being proactive.
Creating a consolidated view of data for more proactive management
As the Chief Digital & Data Officer’s team investigated options, it became clear that Elastic was the observability platform of choice for monitoring multiple applications. The agency was also already using Elastic in some areas of the agency.
The agency chose to deploy Elastic Observability via Elastic Cloud Enterprise on AWS to monitor systems and the environment and deliver context around the data to make it actionable. The agency created an extensive infrastructure on AWS with Elastic providing a single pane of glass to view it. The easy integrations and plugins with AWS and Elastic provide substantial value for the agency.
Elastic now monitors all the agency’s IT processes and applications end-to-end, starting with data replication when it moves data from mainframes into other apps, providing the technology team with a more proactive stance. Previously, the agency had been mostly reactive, often learning about internal and external technical problems only after employees and the public had been impacted.
As the agency became more complex through technology expansion, additional legislative demand, and increased attention on cybersecurity, we needed a consolidated view of operations. The technological challenge was not only dealing with all this complexity across mainframe and data centers and AWS, but also how to add context around the data.
To ensure a successful deployment, the agency also partnered with Elastic Consulting. During the consulting sessions, the agency came prepared with thoughtful questions and an agenda planned down to the minute which helped to develop a well-planned strategy.
This included, getting started with Elastic, moving to the cloud, and continuing to assist in designing the architecture around collecting the data needed to be successful across multiple use cases. Frequently new ideas would be born from their time with Elastic consultants, making that partnership all the more valuable.
I think a large part of our successful transformation was that we made sure we had foundational capabilities in place as we deployed Elastic and moved to the cloud. We asked questions and worked closely with Elastic every step of the way on monitoring, alerting, and visibility, and we didn’t wait to add reporting. Through this approach, we were able to put a comprehensive solution in place from the start and become much more proactive.
Achieving 80% improvement in efficiency by automating processes
With Elastic, the agency can use out-of-the-box integrations to monitor systems and data and respond as needed. Additionally, as part of its Elastic Observability solution, the agency has created multiple dashboards to visualize, automate, and analyze the data gathered by Elastic.
"When it comes to using Elastic, our approach can be simply stated as Peter Drucker is famously known for observing, 'if you can't measure it, you can’t improve it,'" says a Consultant to the CIO for the agency.
An example of this principle is the use of Elastic Observability for the agency’s internal Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) app which has resulted in substantial time savings. The agency used to spend a week or more analyzing monthly financial data manually via a spreadsheet with hundreds of records and sub-records. The process is now automated using a data dashboard powered by Elastic and can be completed in a day.
With Elastic, the finance department is saving about a week’s worth of time each month on spending analysis. With the transparency of data, questions can now be answered from information we couldn't see before.
The agency’s Mission Control dashboard integrates and monitors data, including configuration management database (CMDB) data, to provide contextual information about the environment. It also utilizes a monitor built into the Elastic solution to observe server uptimes and applications performance.
Elastic is also used by the agency to manage time series data and get increased value from its Jira platform through in-depth tracking of the number of technical infrastructure issues, their status, and the time to resolution to inform process improvements.
Every month, we gain a deeper understanding of IT functions across the agency and can clearly see trends and anomalies in our systems. In these ways, the observability the Elastic platform provides has been a game-changer for our infrastructure resilience.
Elastic as a single platform for multiple solutions
Ultimately, Elastic has helped the agency improve visibility across its infrastructure and address its top priorities of digital modernization and transformation. As a result, the agency has automated processes which have delivered significant time savings.
We like to think of Elastic not just as a product but as a design pattern. With it we’re improving infrastructure monitoring and visibility. We’re also increasing productivity for our finance department. As we learn about Elastic, we’re realizing how we can apply its capabilities in multiple ways, which will allow us to do more than we otherwise could all with a single platform.
The team is beginning to use Elastic in live channel support interactions with the public by tracking customer service data and performance patterns such as chat, phone, and in-person wait times, and using the information to make improvements. The CIO says that the agency is optimistic about how it will continue to improve IT operations and meet its goals in the future.