Case Study

More Effective Workforce and Improved Bottom Line at VINCI

Executive Summary

VINCI Construction UK is a national construction and facilities company and part of VINCI, a world leader in concessions and construction that employs close to 191,000 people in some 100 countries. Following the rollout of personal devices to its team of mobile repair technicians (MRTs), VINCI needed a solution that would provide the operational visibility to address issues with devices and ultimately improve user experience. Since deploying Splunk Enterprise, the company has seen benefits including:

  • Faster issue resolution through proactive troubleshooting
  • Improved system design and performance
  • Increased efficiency of MRT workforce and improved bottom line
SPLUNK PRODUCTS
Challenges
    • Lack of real-time visibility into PDA mobile devices
    • Traditional troubleshooting extremely time consuming for application team
    • High volume of errors negatively impacting MRT workforce efficiency 
Business Impact
    • Faster issue resolution leads to increased efficiency of MRT workforce and improved bottom line
    • Troubleshooting moved from reactive to proactive
    • Application support team freed up to be more strategic
Data Sources
    • Event logs
    • SQL server logs
    • WebSphere
    • IBM Maximo

Why Splunk

VINCI Construction UK has a large team of MRTs who work remotely to perform repairs on assets within customer facilities, including fixing heaters, lighting and air conditioning. The company rolled out new personal digital assistant (PDA) mobile devices to assign jobs to the MRTs and enable them to better manage their own workload. As with many mobile solutions, the platform suffered with a number of errors from launch, which impacted the user experience. VINCI Construction UK IT department’s application team needed to identify the cause of issues, which was an additional, time consuming task. With nine different Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) producing nine different system outlogs, the volume of data to sift through was considerable. VINCI Construction UK needed a new solution to improve issue resolution and improve the MRTs’ mobile device experience.

Somerford Associates, a Splunk partner, recommended Splunk Enterprise to the application support team at VINCI Construction UK, which is responsible for the performance of all major applications. VINCI Construction UK now has a number of servers, each running a number of JVMs, forwarding event logs, SQL server logs and WebSphere logs into Splunk Enterprise. The application support team has set up a number of dashboards to provide a real-time view of the performance of the PDAs, enabling early identification of any issues. They also use Splunk software for ad hoc issue investigation and use the insights they gain to change the way the system is designed, in order to avoid these issues recurring.

“Over the past few years the IT Department has seen an increased demand for more intelligent ways of working. We need systems that offer a perfect balance between great user experience, around the clock availability, accessibility from many different locations and devices, and low operating cost. Splunk is part of this more intelligent way of working; without it we would not be able to manage these systems effectively and offer the high level of service the business requires to remain competitive.”



Ben Paddick, IT Director

Moving troubleshooting from reactive to proactive

Before using Splunk software, VINCI Construction UK’s application support team had to rely on the MRTs to alert them when problems occurred with the PDAs. This meant that troubleshooting was delayed and issues took longer to resolve. VINCI Construction UK now has a number of Splunk dashboards set up to help the team address any errors. These dashboards provide a real-time view of error occurrence, including transmission and database errors. They enable the application support team to catch issues faster, so they can often be resolved before users become aware that there is anything wrong.

 

“Splunk has been a lifesaver. It’s not that often that you come across a platform that ticks all the boxes and more. We can now be proactive in tackling the issues that left our workforce idle, enabling them to be more effective, which ultimately impacts the bottom line.”



Stephen Poore, Application Support Manager

Application support team freed up to be more strategic

The shift to proactive troubleshooting has freed up time for the application support team to become more strategic and make changes to ensure that the system performs better in the future. For example, with one particular error, VINCI Construction UK used Splunk Enterprise to discover that escalations involved a number of steps that were updating unchanged information each time. This was causing the problems for the end users. Using the insights from Splunk software, the application support team was able to change the design of the escalations, so that the information is only updated once. 

Faster issue resolution leads to increased efficiency of MRT workforce and improved bottom line

When the PDA system was launched, VINCI Construction UK experienced a number of errors. The application support team now has a Splunk dashboard set up which shows software being pushed out to the PDA users in real time. If this process fails, VINCI can immediately see there is a transmission error, enabling the team to act quickly to resolve the problem and ensure any disruption to the MRTs work is minimal. Similarly, VINCI Construction UK encountered another issue that temporarily brought the whole system to a halt. With Splunk Enterprise, the application support team quickly got to the bottom of the problem, discovering that a report was opening cursors on the database but not closing them, which caused the JVMs to hang. The team has now set up an alert to identify that issue if it happens again. The ability to quickly identify and resolve issues like these means that the MRTs remain fully productive, which has a direct impact on VINCI Construction UK’s bottom line and more importantly its customer service.