TMNA Services provides professional support services to the companies of Tokio Marine North America (TMNA), the holding company for the Tokio Marine Group’s U.S. operation. Those companies include Philadelphia Insurance Companies, First Insurance Company of Hawaii, and Tokio Marine America. In line with its parent company philosophy, TMNA Services is committed to being upfront, honest, and customer focused.
TMNA Services partnered with Catchpoint to:
- Hold vendors to their commitments.
- Provide full transparency into IT and prove IT’s maturity.
- Gain deep insight into performance trends.
- Support remote workers.
Catchpoint has become our source of truth for the IT environment. With it, we improve processes, save costs, and provide a new level of visibility and transparency.
In 2014, TMNA Services needed an application performance monitoring (APM) tool to cover a variety of needs, from improving customer and employee experience to providing insight into the IT environment. IT AVP Pete Charlton worked with senior IT leadership to create a short list of vendors, ultimately choosing the Catchpoint solution.
According to Charlton, Catchpoint was selected for numerous reasons. Because TMNA Services runs a hub-and-spoke model – with remote offices backhauling to its data center for application access – it needs to observe from outside its data center.
“With Catchpoint, we could deploy nodes throughout our network as close to the end user as possible to emulate their experience,” explains Charlton.
Plus, even at that time, Catchpoint had the largest footprint of public nodes compared to the other vendors that TMNA Services considered.
“This footprint crosses diverse carriers, emulating diverse browsers, mobile connections and mobile devices, which allows us to capture interesting metrics,” continues Charlton.
Charlton was also impressed that Catchpoint is continually evolving it's observability solutions. “Because Catchpoint is constantly adding new types of observers, we can expose visibility of new services that we might traditionally only provide a view into via reporting.”
Finally, Charlton underscored the simplicity of administration. “Our team is lean so easy administration was essential. Catchpoint is intuitive to deploy and tune over time,” he states.
With Catchpoint nodes deployed throughout the U.S. and Mexico over several carriers, and the ability to run active monitoring and testing, TMNA Services doesn’t need to wait for users to report issues.
“We can’t measure and understand the user experience just by looking at a few nodes or tracking availability within our data center. I don’t know of a better way to measure the user experience than to completely emulate it, which is what Catchpoint enables us to do,” Charlton says.
Holding vendors to their commitments. While TMNA Services does not monitor the SaaS providers used by its sister companies, it helps verify vendor SLAs.
“We leverage Catchpoint to arm partners in the group companies we support with data so they can confirm their providers are meeting their SLAs – or prove they’re not,” says Charlton.
With Catchpoint, the company can generate a screen capture on error whenever a test fails, and even capture the response. As a result, it can see when a vendor experiences an outage but fails to inform TMNA Services or its sister companies.
“We used to have to take our vendors’ word for things but now we can see precisely what is happening,” says Charlton.
Streamlining troubleshooting. Using Catchpoint, TMNA Services has reduced the time spent troubleshooting issues with its partners. Observing from outside of its environment over several carriers helps the companyisolate and troubleshoot ISP issues in certain regions. TMNA Services can run tests in specific geographies over multiple carriers when regional users report issues. “Now we can easily isolate an issue and escalate directly with our vendors, bypassing internal escalation,” explains Charlton.
Proving the maturity of IT. Charlton’s team is responsible for the majority of IT for the group companies. Previously, it had to manually pull data to share metrics with each of the companies. Even then, it mainly showed service desk tickets, and availability statistics for the network and infrastructure but none for application performance and availability. Now the team monitors each company’s applications in separate containers, so to speak, allowing TMNA Services to create distinct dashboards it can share with each company’s stakeholders.
“We didn’t have the maturity to provide this level of insight before Catchpoint. Now we can illustrate how we’ve grown as an IT organization, such as the fact that we’re running 5-minute polling of applications,” says Charlton.
Gaining deep insight into performance trends. TMNA Services appreciates that Catchpoint provides raw data. As Charlton explains, some monitoring tools capture every data point and average out performance, memory utilization and more over time. However, that falls short when doing root cause analysis or looking for a system fault.
“If you look back at averaged or normalized data, you won’t see outlier data points that give the bigger picture. Being able to go back over a year to see the raw data points related to how our application was responding is helpful, especially as we are continually looking to improve the services we deliver,” says Charlton.
Providing full transparency into IT. In the TMNA Services environment, nearly every application is dependent on DNS, LDAP, and network connectivity. However, as Charlton explains, IT doesn’t traditionally monitor certain underlying services because it counts on them being available. With Catchpoint, the team can create measurements and reports around these services.
“Being able to report on this is something unique we’ve done using Catchpoint. It enables us to provide total transparency into how our environment is behaving,” says Charlton.
Supporting remote workers. Nearly five years ago, TMNA Services and its sister companies decided to go fully mobile to enable business continuity, such as during snowstorms. When Covid-19 hit, only essential personnel worked from the companies’ offices.
With nearly everyone working remotely, the company had to change how it observes the end user experience. Calling upon Catchpoint enables TMNA Services to seamlessly evolve with this new model.
“Everyone has varying levels of home connectivity and might even suffer from poor WiFi coverage in parts of their homes. With Catchpoint, we can generate instant tests in remote areas. Plus, Catchpoint’s large node presence enables us to troubleshoot regional Internet issues,” explains Charlton.
Integration with key tools. TMNA Services calls upon AppDynamics, Cacti, ServiceNow, and SolarWinds to monitor its infrastructure services. By connecting Catchpoint to these essential tools, the company greatly enhances its observability capabilities.
“With Catchpoint, we can easily correlate the data from these disparate tools in dashboards to report on availability 24/7 and more easily spot and troubleshoot potential issues,” says Charlton.
As Charlton underscores, TMNA Services needs to measure itself as a service provider because the uptime and availability of the applications that serve its sister companies directly impacts their business results.
“Policyholders want a seamless, positive experience. By ensuring applications and systems are available for employees at all times, we enable our sister companies to ensure streamlined quote and claims processing. That translates to higher conversions and revenue,” says Charlton.
Charlton appreciates that the IT leadership at TMNA Services understands the value of a strong operational backbone and monitoring framework.
“It’s a good IT practice to drive higher efficiency over time. That’s exactly what we can do with Catchpoint. And that translates into value as we observe our IT infrastructure and applications, and as our sister companies seamlessly execute their processes to satisfy policyholders,“ concludes Charlton.