Blekinge Regional Council had numerous IT systems and various monitoring technologies, but no centralized visibility or ability to respond to alarms and alerts in a coordinated, systematic manner.
After a pre-study, Atea and Compose IT implemented the Compose Operation Platform based on the Watson AIOps Event Manager application, giving the client a coordinated event monitoring and management system.
Provides a holistic viewof multiple, separate IT systems for monitoring and alarm management
Increases productivityand proactivity and reduces incident response times
Minimizes manual handlingof alarms and incidents
Business challenge story
Many IT systems but little visibility
Like many government organizations, Sweden’s Blekinge Regional Council had a myriad of IT systems and applications across its internal organizations. The IT Infrastructure department, tasked with monitoring all those systems, faced a daunting task. It had numerous, separate monitoring solutions for individual systems, but no single view of its environment. There was no integration between these tools, which led to duplication of work and longer lead times for solving problems. Finally, without an integrated event monitoring solution, IT personnel had to manually correlate alarms with telemetry, having no systematic way to distinguish between false and true alarms.
“The client needed a holistic overview of the monitoring,” says Anna Trägårdh, Project Manager at Atea. “They wanted to be more effective and proactive as an organization and have a full ability to overview their IT systems.”
To establish priorities and determine the client’s specific demands, Atea suggested conducting a pre-study to evaluate and map the region’s needs to potential software solutions. At the end of the pre-study, the Watson AIOps Event Manager application—now part of IBM Cloud Pak® for Watson AIOps—emerged as the clear solution for the region.
Atea then approached Compose IT, an experienced consultancy and systems integrator whose Compose Collection modules are designed to complement the Watson AIOps solution. Compose IT subsequently ran a successful demonstration of the Watson AIOps software’s capability for the client in March 2019 and promised go-live before summer.
A consolidated event monitoring solution
A team from Atea and Compose IT began working together with representatives from the region’s IT infrastructure department and other stakeholders. During the pre-study, Atea had identified the project’s risks, dependencies, problems and opportunities and documented the business requirements, which allowed the implementation team to use the detailed report as an implementation roadmap.
The team implemented the Compose Operation Platform with the Watson AIOps Event Manager solution, which provides a consolidated view of the region’s IT systems across multiple environments. Its AI and machine learning capabilities help deliver actionable insights, and the solution automatically groups events related to the same problem and provides context for faster resolution.
“Watson AIOps is really good at collecting information from many different sources and centralizing the information to one point,” says Markus Carlsson, Head of Professional Services at Compose IT.
Compose IT not only provided systems integration and consultancy, but it also contributed a critical component of the overall solution. Its Compose Collection software modules — Dynamic Dashboard, Dynamic Event Management, Event Routing and Reports and Visualization — offer the client an integrated dashboard and event classification engine to help the region better manage events in the Watson AIOps system.
The Watson AIOps solution lets the region monitor and visualize many different sources of information, providing a wealth of information about multiple systems. The Compose Collection modules help classify that information, determining who sees which alerts. This helps ensure that users only see relevant information and that alerts and alarms go to the right recipient. Adding the Compose Collection tools to the Watson AIOps umbrella system also provides the client with the opportunity to build group or other customized views with drill-down functions and alarm enrichment.
According to Hans Wahlgren, Business Development Director at Compose IT, adding dynamic event management to a monitoring solution such as Watson AIOps is critical: “Today one of the challenges if you have an operation center like this, is that you have lots of screens with thousands of alarms or events being shown on these screens. And users don’t really know which of these events are actually critical.” Now, users only see those events and alarms that they need to act upon.
The combined Atea and Compose IT team chose an agile approach to deployment, successfully negotiating the client’s evolving needs as the project progressed. Working in sprints, the team would integrate systems with the Watson AIOps application, present it to the client, and receive feedback. The solution did, in fact, go live in the early summer of 2019, as promised. The team then hit pause until the fall and finished the final sprint of the project in early 2020, completing the project in one year.
Centralized visibility means fewer false alarms
After working with Atea and Compose IT to implement the Watson AIOps Event Manager solution, Blekinge Regional Council gained the capability to monitor its myriad IT systems with a single solution. This holistic visibility is enhanced by the dynamic event management, dashboard visualization and event routing capabilities of the Compose Collection modules.
The region can adapt views to different roles, stakeholders and their needs. Users can visualize the alarms on a map of the region’s facilities and see graphical reports in real time.
Even as the region has gained greater visibility into its systems, it has reduced the number of alarms it needs to respond to because the system filters out irrelevant and unimportant alerts. And, because alerts and alarms are routed to the correct person, incident response times have been reduced, as has the manual handling of alarms.
By centralizing its monitoring operations, the IT Infrastructure department has improved its productivity and proactivity. Further improvements are expected as well-defined processes and routines are developed both within the IT Infrastructure department and between units outlining clear roles and responsibilities.
“The Compose Collection software modules built in Watson AIOps Event Manager were the tools that made this perfect for the client,” says Peter Håkansson, Sales Director at Compose IT. The client realized its quick results in part because the Compose Collection modules are pre-built for the Watson AIOps Event Manager application and can be quickly customized and implemented.
“They have really seen the positive results of a consolidated view,” says Håkansson. “I think they have also seen many opportunities to include more systems. They’re now starting to think, ‘What else can we actually consolidate into this one-view system?’”
The project team was able to meet its first, short go-live deadline and help the client achieve results in large part because Atea had already conducted a pre-study before engaging Compose IT for the systems integration work. When the project began, there was a clear roadmap to follow. “One success factor in this is to be able to invest in the pre-study to work together with a client and focusing on value instead of price,” says Trägårdh.
Håkansson believes that the agile approach was another key success factor for the project. “It was like one company. I was sitting with the client, with Atea and the customer. It was really like we’re all in this together and not a client, supplier, project type of setup. It was really a nice feeling.”
Trägårdh concurs. “We were able to handle small amounts of activities and still get results fast,” she says. “The team with Compose IT, Atea and the client itself has been like one group; it hasn’t been us or them. I think that the transparency we have had in the group is another success factor. That is my point of view as a project manager, where I can see the total benefits of the project.”
Blekinge Regional Council
Created in 1863, the Blekinge Regional Council (link resides outside ibm.com) oversees healthcare, public dental care, traffic and public transportation, and regional development, culture and education for Blekinge County, in the south of Sweden. The county has approximately 160,000 inhabitants within five municipalities. It is the smallest administrative county, with less than 1% of the total area of Sweden.
Founded in 1968 in Kista, Sweden, IBM Business Partner Atea (link resides outside ibm.com) has positioned itself as Sweden’s leading IT company. Its motto, “We build Sweden with IT,” reflects its efforts to lay the foundations for a smarter and more innovative Sweden by creating world-class IT infrastructure throughout the country. It specializes in delivering products and services that simplify the operation and management of its customers’ IT environments. Atea operates around 30 offices across Sweden to be close to its customers. It has 2,600 employees, 1,500 of which are consultants.
About Compose IT Nordic AB
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, IBM Business Partner Compose IT (link resides outside ibm.com) has been providing customized solutions and services in IT operations, IT service management and application performance management for more than 25 years. It serves customers in both the public and private sectors and in most industries across the Nordic region. The company has offices in Stockholm, Gävle and Östersund, employs approximately 25 people and boasts sales of approximately SEK 40 million.
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