Yorkshire Building Society continually launches new data-driven services for its customers—but how can it ensure the batch processes that support them run smoothly, securely and cost-effectively?
YBS worked with IBM® Gold Business Partner Elyzium to embrace hybrid licensing for IBM Workload Scheduler, which helps it to bring 300 percent more batch servers into the automated solution.
300%increase in centralised batch server coverage
2%increase in licence spend delivers extensive coverage at low cost
10%improvement in batch management productivity
Business challenge story
Supporting new banking services
Consumer expectations of retail banking have changed fundamentally in recent years. Today, customers want to manage their products anytime, anywhere and from any device. And as the digital channel has grown in importance, data-driven services that address individual customer needs are becoming a highly effective way to win new customers and nurture long-term loyalty.
Many of the applications that support these new business services sit outside of the core banking environment. For IT teams at leading financial services organisations like Yorkshire Building Society, managing these distributed systems in a consistent, secure and cost-effective way is both a key objective and a tough challenge.
Gary Williams, Production Services Manager at Yorkshire Building Society, takes up the story: “Our vision is to become the most trusted provider of financial services in the UK. To achieve that goal, we aim to offer a market-leading customer experience, and provide services that are easy to use. Whenever we provision the systems that support a new service, we must ensure that they meet rigorous governance, compliance and security standards.”
Nigel Jowett, IWS Senior Administrator at Yorkshire Building Society, continues: “Batch processes are crucial to the smooth-running of our entire IT landscape. For more than 20 years we have relied on IBM Workload Scheduler to manage everything from mission-critical overnight batches for customer accounts in our core banking system, to smaller housekeeping tasks such as backups and archiving. In total, we run more than 1.2 million scheduled jobs every month.
“Over the last few years, we have seen a marked increase in the number of distributed servers in our estate. Previously, the teams responsible for these systems would use their own open-source solutions to manage batch processes—but we knew we could gain valuable efficiencies by adopting a more standardised approach.”
Gaining greater visibility of a growing environment
To achieve the goal, Yorkshire Building Society decided to embrace a hybrid licensing model to extend its use of IBM Workload Scheduler to more of its distributed systems.
“IBM Workload Scheduler is our platform of choice for managing batch processes,” Jowett comments. “The solution delivers a single point of control for all of our management requirements—vastly reducing the time and manual effort required to set up, monitor and manage batch processes.
“In the past, we used the Processor Value Unit [PVU] licensing model for Workload Scheduler, which was optimal for executing a large number of jobs on a small number of servers. When IBM released a Per Job Processing [PJP] licensing option, we saw the opportunity to use IBM Workload Scheduler to gain greater control and visibility of batch jobs running in our distributed server environment. The PJP model is ideal for this use case because it is optimised for a large number of servers running a small number of jobs.”
To minimise the cost, time and risk of the migration project, Yorkshire Building Society engaged an expert team from IBM Gold Business Partner Elyzium.
“We wanted a partner with a deep understanding of the PJP licensing model, and experience of putting it into practice—and Elyzium delivered exactly that,” recalls Williams. “Elyzium ran a comprehensive PJP cost analysis, which gave us a clear picture of the total cost of ownership. The team’s five-year cost-saving model helped us to build a compelling business case for the project, and secure the C-level budgetary approvals we needed to proceed with the migration.”
Working together with Elyzium, Yorkshire Building Society migrated thousands of jobs to the IBM Workload Scheduler PJP licensing model environment—increasing coverage from 20 percent to 70 percent of all Linux servers. Today, the company’s operations team have 24/7 visibility of scheduling jobs across more of the estate than ever before.
“The rollout went smoothly, and Elyzium helped us achieve our IBM Workload Scheduler environment expansion without exceeding budget controls,” says Jowett. “Throughout the process, Elyzium came on site to advise us, and the team continues to respond to any calls or emails in a highly professional, timely manner.”
Strengthening control and minimising costs
With more than 12,000 PJP jobs running every month, Yorkshire Building Society’s hybrid licensing model has enabled it to increase its use of IBM Workload Scheduler by 300 percent with only a two percent increase in licensing spend—helping it to support its distributed environments securely and cost-effectively.
“The banking sector is always a moving target, and we constantly need to add new systems and services,” says Williams. “In the past, it was often not feasible for our business project managers to use IBM Workload Scheduler to support those servers and applications because of time or budgetary constraints.
“Now, our application owners can install IBM Workload Scheduler for free, and only pay for what they use—offering them speed and flexibility, and giving us robust control and high visibility. In fact, using the new approach enables us to keep our licensing spend almost flat while increasing our management productivity by ten percent.”
The PJP model is enabling Yorkshire Building Society to improve the reliability of many of its distributed batch processes.
Jowett adds: “Today, our testing team can use the IBM solution to keep a close watch over mission-critical and lower-priority jobs, which enables faster responses in the event of an issue. In fact, we may choose to deploy the ServiceNow feature to raise a ticket with operations automatically in the event of a scheduled task failing.”
Based on the success of collaboration with Elyzium, Yorkshire Building Society is already planning ways to enhance its IBM solution.
“We see that digital services are only going to become a more important part of our proposition to the market, which means that the ability to understand and mitigate the impact of technical issues will become a vital capability,” says Williams. “We are very interested in using the Dynamic Workload Console to use what-if scenarios to answer questions like: ‘What would be the service impact if the server running these batch jobs went down for two hours?’”
He adds: “We also have the ability to use Dynamic Pools to balance workloads in real time—enabling multiple servers in a pool to distribute batch workloads between themselves in order to optimise performance.”
Williams concludes: “In the IT function, our goal is to make sure the business gets the scheduling capabilities they need fast and at the lowest possible cost. Thanks to our hybrid licensing model and the support from Elyzium, we are gaining greater control over our batch environment at lower cost—helping us to minimise risk and support higher-quality services for our customers.”
Yorkshire Building Society
Founded in 1864 and headquartered in Bradford, England, Yorkshire Building Society is the UK’s second largest building society with over 3.3 million customers, 4,500 employees and assets of more than GBP39.6 billion.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Workload Scheduler solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/products/en/ibm-workload-automation
Established in 1998, Elyzium is an IBM Gold Business Partner dedicated to delivering top-quality professional services and enterprise systems management solutions. With deep expertise in business process automation, Elyzium serves clients across the UK and Europe. For more information, please visit: elyzium.co.uk
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