Implementing AI-powered Automation to Assure Application Performance at Capita Group

Background

  • Consulting, transformation and digital services business
  • More than 20,000 clients worldwide
  • Over 61,000 employees
  • 2020 revenues: 3.325 billion GBP

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Understanding Capita Group

Capita Group is the UK’s leading business process outsourcing and professional services company. Capita provides its more than 20,000 customers with innovative consulting, digital services and software business solutions that simplify the connection between businesses and customers, and governments and citizens.

Headquartered in London, The Capita Group operates in the UK, Europe, India, and South Africa across six divisions including Software, Technology Solutions, People Solutions, Customer Management, Government Services and Specialist Services. Today the company has over 61,000 employees and its 2020 revenues were approximately $3.3 billion GBP.

Managing Application Delivery across Business Units

In recent years, company expansion and successive acquisitions have added a significant amount of complexity to Capita’s IT organization.  Following this series of acquisitions, Jerry Aherne, Infrastructure Operations Manager at Capita, and his team, were tasked with integrating a wide range of IT services and standardizing around fewer solutions. They were simultaneously tasked with onboarding engineers who were (traditionally) accustomed to working in a single domain/client environment. Throughout this integration process, Jerry’s team needed to ensure each technology had gone through the appropriate governance process to ensure service and operational levels were met and in line with Capita’s operating model.

While this integration process was underway, Capita was also shifting its focus to the cloud. Cloud gave the team a more agile approach to application delivery without the concern of costly hardware and capex spend, but that agile approach introduced new challenges. The team quickly learned they could not rely on their manual approach to managing resources as they moved farther along in their cloud journey.

Before the introduction of Turbonomic, the team relied on numerous spreadsheets and manual intervention to track resource consumption, VM sprawl, and forecasting. This manual approach forced them to be very reactive rather than proactive in managing resources, which in turn drove a higher rate of performance issues with both client VM’s as well as the platforms themselves. This challenge of managing an environment containing 11,100 workloads (5,100 on-prem/6,000 in the public cloud) was beyond human scale.

“Turbonomic’s automation platform allows us as a business to transform into a more agile service provider. It has allowed us to make informed proactive decisions that ensure application performance is delivered first and foremost whilst also ensuring costs are kept to a minimum.”

Jerry Aherne
Infrastructure Operations Manager
The Capita Group

 

Implementing Automated Resource Allocation to Assure Performance

With Turbonomic, the Capita team had a single view of all their hosting platforms regardless of whether they were on premises or cloud. This level of visibility immediately allowed them to drive up host density and reduce VM sprawl whilst ensuring application performance. Using Turbonomic’s application-centric performance metrics, the Capita team was able to build out the applications topologies, giving them a complete view of their application stack from top to bottom.

Visibility was only the beginning. The next step was to implement automated resource actions. But, as with any new management tool that is introduced, trust needed to be established quickly.

Jerry and his team began with the automation of VM placement. In time, they demonstrated that with Turbonomic they could implement full automation of right placement as well as right sizing. Presently, they are relying on Turbonomic’s AI-powered automation to fully manage their BAU RDS platform which is used by all their BAU teams to manage all their hosting estates, client environments, networks, and storage platforms. This initial win is now used as their benchmark to demonstrate how Turbonomic can help reduce waste without compromising performance.

Looking Ahead

As they look to the future, Jerry and his team have additional automation use-cases they aim to implement. They aim to forecast future builds and migrations in and out of their platforms. They are also looking towards delivering automation of server builds both on premise and cloud. By expanding their use of Turbonomic automation, they aim to empower their engineers to step away from manual processes and concentrate on service improvement and next steps in Capita’s product evolution.

Their overarching goal is to continue to improve efficiency and reliability, reduce incidents, drive automation, and deliver cost benefits all while improving the service they deliver to their customers.

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