First Abu Dhabi Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank leads charge for customer UX with full-stack observability

Key benefits

Optimized 180 apps performance, improving availability of customer services

Reduced P1 incidents and downtime, achieving 99.92% availability

Proactively reduced MTTR for AppDynamics-monitored workloads and transactions

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), a leading provider in UAE banking, cut downtime and improved the customer experience and full-stack observability with Cisco AppDynamics, ThousandEyes and partner Perform IT. FAB built a culture of continuous improvement, fueled by better insights and application visibility.

“By managing application performance more proactively with AppDynamics, we’re providing concrete value to the entire business."

Navid Thakur
Vice President of Enterprise Tools and Automation, FAB


Deliver exceptional and reliable customer service across hundreds of banking services while taking a proactive approach to application monitoring and performance. Gaining insights to improve best practices and team collaboration.


With Cisco AppDynamics, ThousandEyes and Perform IT, FAB gained visibility into critical applications, optimized performance, and reduced P1 incidents. FAB will be equipped to deliver exceptional customer experiences through full-stack observability.


The bank reduced downtime for customer-facing applications up to 70%, and improved mean time to repair (MTTR). Better application monitoring boosted performance across FAB’s business, IT operations, and dev/test teams.

"The combination of AppDynamics and ThousandEyes will give us deeper visibility across the full digital supply chain. As we continue on our path to full-stack observability, we’ll be equipped to deliver stellar experiences for our customers."

Emma Lewis
Head of Technology Service Management, FAB


Strengthen one of UAE’s largest banking service portfolios with zero downtime

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is more than the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates. It's one of the country’s most customer-focused institutions and is always looking to improve its services across a large portfolio of financial solutions, products and services to better serve its corporate and retail clients.

FAB is also a beacon of progress. From its commitment to invest more than $75 billion in sustainable initiatives by 2030 or partnering with Visa to empower female entrepreneurs, the company is helping to lead the UAE forward to a healthier future, both financially and socially.

This commitment to customer success and progress is now driving a digital transformation within FAB. Since 2018, the bank has taken an increasingly proactive approach to the monitoring and performance of its customer-facing applications, leading to dramatic improvements in service quality and reliability.

Getting ahead of customer needs

Through its digital transformation, FAB’s business, development and IT operations teams embarked on the task of collecting consistent performance data on its many applications to improve visibility into core KPIs, such as service availability, mean time to market (MTTM) and business transaction health.

Teams wanted better insights into infrastructure performance and ways to monitor their performance without siloes. They prioritized eliminating inefficiencies and downtime in FAB’s customer service, which they considered unacceptable, to remain competitive and continue delivering the best customer experience.

“We can’t rely on customers to tell us something is wrong. That would be unacceptable,” says Emma Lewis, Head of Technology Service Management at FAB. “We need complete visibility across everything that’s happening within our applications so we can spot and address performance issues before they do.”

To that end, FAB completed an audit to determine where it needed to focus its IT investment to break down data silos and gain more control over the customer experience. One opportunity stood out: the need to improve application performance management.


Superior availability of more than 180 applications

Perform IT, an AppDynamics Titan partner, replaced the previous monitoring tools with AppDynamics, allowing FAB to have a more agile and integrated approach to application management. Proactive alerts and dynamic baselining allow teams to quickly spot and address performance issues before they impact customers. What’s more, complete visibility across the application system allows FAB to understand the root cause of performance issues and triage them at the source, rather than simply patching them at the surface.


FAB initially onboarded 60 business applications onto AppDynamics — but strong results and positive feedback from employees saw that figure rise to 120 applications just one year after going live. Today, the company uses AppDynamics to monitor 180+ applications, delivering value to teams across the organization. Perform IT supports the local FAB team in their effort to standardize onboarding and enable application teams in the right usage of the tool.

“We saw instant results from AppDynamics, and the speed with which we continue to onboard new applications onto the solution is a testament to the value it delivers,” says Navid Thakur, Vice President of Enterprise Tools and Automation at FAB. “It’s also a testament to our employees and their commitment to continuous improvement of our services.”

The impact of AppDynamics as part of the journey to full-stack observability has been widespread, enhancing performance of FAB’s business, IT operations, and development and testing teams. The solution broke down silos between these functions, which now work together closely to detect, alert and resolve performance issues in record time.

“By managing application performance more proactively with Cisco AppDynamics as part of our effort towards full-stack observability, we’re providing concrete value to the entire business. More than 180 applications now run with fewer incidents and improved availability, which means less effort for our teams and a better experience for customers,” says Navid Thakur.

“We can’t rely on customers to tell us something is wrong. That would be unacceptable. We need complete visibility across everything that’s happening within our applications so we can spot and address performance issues before they do.”

Emma Lewis
Head of Technology Service Management, FAB

Adopting a DevOps mindset

AppDynamics is also supporting FAB's effort to pioneer a new approach to IT among UAE banks. FAB is one of the early adopter banks in the country to migrate from on-prem IT applications to software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud technologies, all while maintaining visibility across these services via AppDynamics. Local partner, Perform IT brought their expertise with AppDynamics and cloud-native applications to deliver the right support to Fab and its digital transformation journey.

In parallel, the bank is moving towards a DevOps mentality in its application management and development. Instead of pure project delivery, where applications go into production as soon as they’re ready, FAB now encourages teams to take ownership of the apps they build and optimize new services that take the customer experience to the next level.  

“Our goal is for every service team at FAB to have AppDynamics open all day, every day — not only to deal with performance issues and keep our business running smoothly, but also to dive deeper to better understand how our systems behave and uncover new ways to make our applications stronger than ever,” says Emma Lewis. “How can we reduce response times? How can we eliminate blips and service issues at peak demand periods? How can we make the experience better for customers? These are the questions that can transform the way we work and serve the market, and now we have a solution that can help us find the answers we need,” she adds.

FAB also plans to shift its application development to cloud microservices in the long term, managed and deployed via Kubernetes. Visibility into application performance will be essential in the new environment — yet another reason the bank has adopted AppDynamics to help modernize its IT operations. 

Going the extra mile with AppDynamics and Perform IT

Lack of visibility is often a challenge for APM solutions. Using AppDynamics and the expertise of trusted system integrator Perform IT, FAB has been successful at minimizing the impact of a typical distributed business flow.

AppDynamics integrates with third-party tools to take data out or bring data into the system, which is becoming business-as-usual as AppDynamics starts to take a central place within the bank’s monitoring suite of tools. Having the ability to immediately react and address an integration opportunity proved beneficial for the DevOps mindset where sprints can be aggressive to delivery timelines.

Automating the deployment of agents is an important leg in the overall monitoring adoption strategy for the FAB team. Working closely with AppDynamics and Perform IT enables FAB to seek and implement automation opportunities that work in the environment.

"When adopting a next-generation APM software like Cisco AppDynamics, you want to make sure you get the most out of the solution and then some. The value that we provide is best practices and interoperability when it comes to interfacing with AppDynamics.”

Stanislav Ivanov
CIO, Perform IT


Trailblazing a better experience for customers and employees alike

The first phase of FAB’s undertaking aimed to reduce downtime and performance incidents across its application portfolio, has been a resounding success. Following a recent benefit realization exercise, dozens of employees reported improved uptime and faster issue resolution thanks to their use of AppDynamics to monitor and manage application performance. 

For instance, FAB saw a 61% reduction in downtime for a business-critical service providing point-of-sale and integrated self-service banking, an 87% reduction in downtime for Internet and mobile banking, and an impressive 98% reduction in downtime for the multicurrency bank account service.

The team responsible for FAB’s instant credit decision engine also reported it can now respond to requests from business stakeholders and find the root cause of performance issues more quickly. Instead of 120 milliseconds, responses now take as little as 70 milliseconds, a 42% improvement.

“ Our goal is for every service team at FAB to have AppDynamics open all day, every day — not only to deal with performance issues and keep our business running smoothly, but also to dive deeper to better understand how our systems behave and uncover new ways to make our applications stronger than ever.”

Emma Lewis
Head of Technology Service Management, FAB

“With AppDynamics, we can incentivize our application owners and recognize them for what they truly are – trailblazers who keep our business connected to its customers.”

Emma Lewis
Head of Technology Service Management, FAB

Equally important to Navid Thakur is the fact that teams gained new insights into FAB’s performance at a granular level. Looking through the AppDynamics dashboards has opened devops/support teams’ eyes to anomalies that previous monitoring solutions never picked up, and empowered them to take proactive action to fix them, preventing major incidents.

“We transformed the way we work, and it all started with the visibility we gained with AppDynamics,” says Navid Thakur. “We’re totally in sync with our application performance, which has made us proactive and keeps our service lines one step ahead to detect and analyze faster and pin-point at the probable, and in various scenarios, exact root cause.”

Navid Thakur continues, “The partnership with Cisco AppDynamics as product vendor and Perform IT as a partner to implement and onboard services to the platform has been very valuable. To operate these advanced technologies, companies need the right skills to be in place and we experienced that with Perform IT to be the right partner for accelerating our journey with the AppDynamics product.”

Building a proactive culture

In addition to optimizing performance, FAB’s focus today is on training employees to take full advantage of AppDynamics, create their own reports and dashboards, and uncover insights that will inspire them to go even further to perfect the customer experience.

Proactivity has become the new standard for the bank’s IT teams, which now monitor their systems and application code with unmatched vigor. AppDynamics allows them to detect gaps and opportunities for improvement more easily than ever, inspiring a cultural shift to accompany FAB's technology transformation. Whether it’s seeing and quickly resolving a five-second delay in the payment system or fixing a coding error, AppDynamics gives the teams the tools to address issues before they impact the business in major ways.

FAB’s mobile banking application, for example, notified the team of a potential service degradation, allowing the team to quickly address the issue before customers were impacted. AppDynamics also detects anomalies and proactively notifies teams, enabling them to identify the root cause quickly and fix potential issues within minutes.

“We’re changing the way we manage the bank’s performance with a commitment to improvement and empowerment for our teams,” says Emma Lewis. “With AppDynamics, we can incentivize our application owners and recognize them for what they truly are – trailblazers who keep our business connected to its customers.”

Looking ahead to full-stack observability

FAB continues its quest for solutions that allow for optimizing customer experiences even further. Most recently, the company added ThousandEyes to its technology stack for comprehensive digital experience monitoring.

“The combination of AppDynamics and ThousandEyes will give us deeper visibility across the full digital supply chain. As we continue on our path to full-stack observability, we’ll be equipped to deliver stellar experiences for our customers,” concludes Emma Lewis.

"We transformed the way we work, and it all started with the visibility we gained with AppDynamics.”

Navid Thakur
Vice President of Enterprise Tools and Automation, FAB

About First Abu Dhabi Bank

FAB is the UAE’s largest bank and one of the world’s largest and safest financial institutions. FAB’s focus is to create value for its employees, customers, shareholders and communities to grow through differentiation, agility and innovation.

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the bank’s international network spans five continents, providing global relationships, expertise and financial strength to support local, regional and international businesses seeking to do business at home and abroad. FAB is a trusted adviser and regional partner to major institutions, emerging companies and individuals seeking to do business in the UAE, the MENA region and beyond. As an engine of growth for the region, it helps customers to thrive and grow stronger by managing risk, providing access to capital and facilitating trade flows across developed and emerging markets.


With total assets of over AED 1.1 Trillion (USD 312 Billion) as of September-end 2022, FAB is rated Aa3/AA-/AA- by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch, respectively - the strongest combined ratings of any bank in the MENA region. The Bank has been ranked by Global Finance as the Safest Bank in the UAE and the Middle East since 2011, and #31 Safest Bank globally in 2022. The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks 2021 rankings, measured by Tier 1 capital, ranked FAB as #1 in the UAE, #3 in the Middle East and #91 across the globe. FAB is also a regional sustainability leader (MSCI ESG rating of AA, ‘Leader’ category), and a constituent of MSCI ESG Leaders and FTSE4Good EM indices.

About Perform IT

Perform IT is an international IT consultancy company specialising in Digital Transformation Services, Business Observability Solutions, and Managed and Professional Services. An AppDynamics Titan partner, Perform IT is a leading FSO partner across EMEA having successfully delivered 500+ solutions to clients across multiple sectors including Telecommunications, Financial Services and Government Agencies.


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