French Department of Justice Monitors 90% of IT System Through a Centreon Centralized Solution to Support Users and Agile Transformation.
“Since we adopted Centreon, all teams share the same IT monitoring solution and work practices. This has enabled us to monitor 90% of the Justice Department’s IT system—helping improve availability. As well, as part of our organization’s agile transformation, the new monitoring solution contributed to breaking silos and strengthening communications. Synergy and efficiency within our teams have also improved. ” – Nirina Razafimandimby, Deputy Department Head of Operations and Productions, IT Division, French Department of Justice.
The project in a few words:
- Modernizing operations at the Department of Justice, within the framework of the digital transformation plan driven by the Minister of justice
- Dematerializing internal and external processes in order to improve citizens’ access to justice services and facilitate the daily work of public servants
- Unify and optimize IT operations and work teams through convergent IT tools and practices
- Implement a new toolset to support the agile transformation of the IT department
- Replace nine different monitoring system distributed across the country to a single, centralized IT monitoring platform
- Extend the IT monitoring perimeter Centralize IT monitoring under a single solution to gain a global view of the IT system’s performance
- Adopt a scalable solution, that will easily integrate future agile tools managed by the IT department, that will connect to testing tools and provide IT teams with relevant and shared KPIs
Solution: Centreon Business Edition
- A single, centralized IT monitoring solution under the full control of the headquarters IT department
- Improved mean time to repair performance ensures higher system availability
- Human and material resources cost optimizations through central management of IT infrastructure monitoring
- Improved collaboration and communications across IT teams through adoption of common I&O practices
- An enhanced IT monitoring service portfolio
- Alignment with agile and DevOps processes
Modernization efforts at the French Department of Justice stem from an ongoing national digital transformation strategy for public services. The plan involves optimizing and dematerializing IT systems and processes to improve service delivery to end users, employees or citizens. As part of these efforts, the Operations and Production Unit at the headquarters IT division successfully centralized IT monitoring for the entire IT system (both central and regional) within a single monitoring solution based on Centreon.
The Department of Justice’s Operations and Production Unit ensures availability of 90% of the Justice Department’s IT system. This includes the messaging system and business applications such as prison visiting rooms or criminal records management. On a daily basis, nearly 1,000 sites must be monitored by the Unit, who is also overseeing the organization’s digital transformation. Furthermore, as a means to gain speed and responsiveness and better meet business needs, the IT division has been adopting agile methods. The decision to centralize IT monitoring through a Centreon EMS-based platform, with the purpose of streamlining and integrating tools is happening within this context.
In less than two and a half years, a single, centralized IT monitoring perimeter was deployed, marking a transition from a heterogeneous and decentralized system comprised of nine local sites and a central operation center into a unified outfit, capable of managing more than 1,000 sites across the country through a common solution and methodology.
This single and shared approach strengthened cohesion, communication and efficiency between teams working from the headquarters and those in each of the regional offices. Human and material resources dedicated to IT monitoring were optimized. From 20 people assigned to IT monitoring, only 3 are now needed, the rest have been redeployed on other value-adding projects. On the material front, the number of servers required was divided by 10, from 40 to only 4. In alignment with agile methodology, silos were broken within the IT department and teams were empowered by their common platform and working methods.
The full story
The digital transformation at the French Department of Justice aims to dematerialize processes and enhance service for users and stakeholders. In this context, the organization’s Operations and Production Unit successfully centralized monitoring of the IT system, deploying Centreon Business Edition as a single, “umbrella” solution. The objectives were met. Teams report more efficiency and cohesiveness, better alignment to agile approaches adopted by the IT service, and overall IT resources optimization.
A proactive DX strategy
The French Justice Department is structured around a general secretariat and 5 divisions which are responsible for judicial services: prison administration, youth protection, civil affairs, and finally, criminal affairs and pardon. On a daily basis, the IT Division at the Justice Department manages over 1000 sites (courts, prisons, etc.). “The Operations and Production Unit, within the IT Division, employs 120 people. Our mission is to run centralized business applications (criminal records, prison visiting rooms, for example) in compliance with SLAs defined by IT executives, and ensuring the availability, security and general maintenance,” explains Nirina Razafimandimby, Deputy Department Head of Operations and Productions, IT Division of the French Justice Department.
Business Challenges: Adapting to Agile Methods and Improving End-User Support
Supported by a budget of 530 million Euros, the Department of Justice digital transformation roadmap focuses on dematerializing processes and service, through the creation of digital portals, for example. The objective is to simplify access to justice for citizens. Even in this day and age, requirements to send papers through the mail or to commute to a point of service are all too common to obtain copy of a criminal record, book a visitation space in a prison, request an update on a judicial procedure or submit evidence, for instance. To help the organization manage these business challenges and enhance user support, the IT Division must also transform itself, as Nirina points out:
“We’re transitioning towards agile and DevOps methods to break down operational silos, better align to business needs, and support the overall digital transformation. Centralizing IT monitoring for 1000 sites was part of our commitment to evolve services.”
Centrally Driven IT Monitoring Compliant with Agile Transformation
The public digital transformation initiative implies the centralization of major applications supporting government services. “In 2016, our IT teams were using nine monitoring tools—there just was no common ground. Most of the time, we used various Centreon and Nagios-based solutions, but other tools were also used to monitor certain equipment,” recalls Nirina. “We needed full visibility across a variety of IT assets, which was the basis of our decision to deploy a unified IT monitoring solution across applications—be they local or national in scope.” Furthermore, given our agile commitment, IT teams needed to be able to adopt whichever innovative tools that was needed without having to worry about it being monitored. Centreon, already a favorite among teams quickly appeared like the best candidate to help us achieve our goals.
“Centreon was providing the best solution to monitor all types of IT assets, including those supporting agile and DevOps initiatives. Deal breakers were the ready-to-monitor approach, with the extensive Plugin Packs library. Being able to count on the expertise of the solution provider and its engaged community was another key criteria for selecting our monitoring solution”
The project: Integrating nine heterogeneous monitoring systems into a single IT monitoring platform
Started mid-2016, the project was planned around two stages: first, the integration of the nine monitoring tools into a single, centralized IT monitoring platform, and second, adding to the monitoring perimeter the data center which hosts shared applications. “Each unit within the IT Department was using its own local IT monitoring system. We had to migrate these 9 systems into one central Centreon Business Edition platform hosted in a data center,” explains Nirina. “We retrieved all the data from the previous systems and expanded the scope of the monitoring perimeter. At present, the sites we do not monitor in Centreon are those that cannot be monitored, such as our secure telephone platform, for example.”
“The centralized approach allows to monitor 100% of the infrastructure that can be monitored, which represents 90% of the IT system of the Justice Department. We’re meeting a larger scope of IT monitoring needs, which has greatly enhanced our IT monitoring service portfolio. ”
The second stage brought us to monitor the data center which was hosting applications. With the valuable assistance of experts at Centreon, the data center was promptly added to the monitoring perimeter. The scope of service, advice and technical support they provided was greatly appreciated.
Results: Improved efficiency and cohesion across teams, optimization of resources
Nearly one in two people in the IT department regularly uses the Centreon platform and the entire team uses it 24/7, for on-call duty. All report faster incident detection and say their resolution times are improved. “We can tell that service quality has significantly improved, even if I cannot yet tell you by how much” mentions Nirina.
“With an interconnected IT monitoring solution that is capable of correlating data, we’ve become more efficient, detecting a greater number of incidents, and working smarter overall. At the end of the day, shorter resolution times translate into improved system availability.”
Through the implementation of a common solution and repository of practices, all driven by the central IT department, material and human resources have been optimized. The numbers speak for themselves, as Nirina shares:
“Significant economies of scales were achieved—where we were previously in need of 40 servers, we now need to manage only four. Moreover, from 20 people needed to manage IT monitoring, we now only need three. We were able to develop the skills of these dedicated resources to make them even more efficient at IT monitoring.”
Another key point is that the solution’s ability to integrate agile and DevOps tools contributes to the agile transformation of the IT department. “There is peace of mind knowing that a new IT asset will simply be monitored by Centreon, or if necessary, that a plugin can be developed in a timely manner,” says Nirina . “Similarly, because we are all using the same solution, we do things in exactly the same ways, whether at the local level or at headquarters—we are developing synergies across teams.”
Indeed, sharing the Centreon platform allowed to unify internal practices and save time. We’re all dealing with the same issues for which there are also common solutions. To foster better communication and the sharing of experience, monthly committee meetings are held bringing together local and headquarter teams that have a stake in IT monitoring. This helps building and improving common practices.
Next steps: dashboards for upper management and integration of DevOps test data into Centreon
Nirina’s team is currently looking to leverage more of Centreon’ capabilities, opening new possibilities for the organization. Harnessing for instance the platform’s interoperability and visual data reporting capabilities, upper management could be served with dashboards customized to their exact needs. Linking IT monitoring to DevOps is also being examined. “We’re looking at the possibility to create synergy between testing and monitoring tools, to retrieve for example data from selenium battery tests directly from Centreon,” explain Nirina, before concluding:
“A centralized IT monitoring solution creates convergence that goes well beyond the benefits of correlating alerts and making IT monitoring more relevant overall. As they now share the same practices, people that did not speak to each other before are now having ongoing discussions on common needs and ways to evolve the Centreon platform —from a perspective of continuous improvement and agile practices.”
To go Further
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