Ninety partner agencies and seven million citizens rely on the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) to provide quality technology and support services each day, according to Brad Welsh, Lead Program Manager for Application Performance Management at IOT. This duty, codified into state law in 2005, comes with its share of opportunities and challenges for the Hoosier agency.
From expanding online government services to providing more user-friendly technology solutions, IOT's duties require consistent and effective visibility into numerous state agency applications. Working to meet expectations and serve citizens, the IOT looks to Cisco® ThousandEyes® to fill the gaps in its monitoring for more optimized digital experiences for its citizens and residents.
Consistent Access to Business Critical Applications
Lawmakers established the IOT to centralize IT infrastructure across Indiana's government and to bring the best and most appropriate technology solutions to state technology applications. Over the past decade and some years, the teams at IOT have held themselves to a 95 percent customer satisfaction standard—a feat for any technologist.
"The end goal for all of us—IOT and our agencies—is to deliver the best possible customer experience to our constituents," said Welsh.
Furthermore, according to IOT, it supports nearly 500 business-critical applications. These applications are vital in delivering essential services such as licensing and workforce development to the Indiana public. Handling these tasks as proficiently as IOT does is even more impressive when considering our evolving digital landscape, which relies on the unpredictable Internet.
Avoiding All-Hands-On-Deck Situations
Indiana residents rely on various state applications to carry out essential actions needed for their everyday lives. These include renewing driver's licenses, paying taxes, submitting government forms, and accessing other fundamental services. In the unfortunate event that these critical applications experience downtime, it directly impacts citizens' ability to access vital information related to their health, finances, property, and social circumstances.
As such, the IOT's work is 24/7, 365 days a year. Moreover, the agency’s charter is more than just a goal to achieve. It requires comprehensive visibility and adaptive strategies as an ongoing endeavor.
In the past, whenever the IOT network or an application had an issue, the team convened large groups of technical experts to identify the root cause. In this process, they often found that external networks, which they did not have direct control over, proved most challenging to understand.
"Before we had ThousandEyes, it was difficult to correlate the data from third-party networks, and some of our SaaS platforms were out of our view," Welsh explains.
Recognizing that this lack of visibility took time and resources away from other critical aspects of their operations, IOT deployed Cisco ThousandEyes to help the team work smarter. With Cloud Agents, Enterprise Agents, and 40,000 Endpoint Agents on managed devices, the agency says it was able to drastically reduce the number of all-hands-on-deck type events—freeing capacity for the IOT team to continue improving and expanding government services provided electronically.
Averting Lost Productivity During Work Hours
The IOT’s embrace of Cisco ThousandEyes occurred during its implementation of Cisco Full-Stack Observability. By integrating Cisco ThousandEyes into their stack, the IOT enhanced its ability to identify performance issues more accurately, expedite resolutions for internal problems, and facilitate quicker communication with external service providers when the problem lay with them.
During a recent outage, the IOT received a ThousandEyes alert indicating that its critical infrastructure was impacted and could immediately trace the source. These insights enabled IOT to direct workflows to the appropriate team, resolving the problem before the 9 to 5 workday began and eliminating the need for convening a large technical group to find a solution.
“Since bringing ThousandEyes into the APM (Application Monitoring Program) program, we’re in a better position now to see and correlate data that we didn’t have eyes on before outside of our network,” said Welsh.
According to IOT, the agency has made significant progress towards achieving its goal of high customer satisfaction and nearly flawless up-time for its critical business applications. By gaining enhanced visibility into SaaS platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365, SuccessFactors, and others, the organization has gained a clearer understanding of the end user’s experience.
Striving for Excellence in the Cloud
IOT currently monitors 120 critical business applications, with plans to add dozens more in the coming months. The group has also been able to pinpoint and present the ten best-performing applications and the ten unhealthiest applications to its leadership and the Governor's office using the Cisco ThousandEyes dashboards, offering a quality view of the status of its services.
"With AppDynamics and ThousandEyes, we have set internal precedents to deliver key health metrics on business-critical applications and, in turn, show how we support our partner agencies…and, in the end, the constituents of the State of Indiana," said Welsh.