Spirit of Tasmania

Spirit of Tasmania Gets “X-ray Vision” for its Applications—and its Business

Key Benefits

End-to-end visibility of application environment

Correlation between IT and business performance

Insight and optimization of business transaction flows

Challenge: Correlate IT and Business Performance

Business transactions—the lifeblood of every company—are often fueled by a large number of complex, interdependent technologies. And it can be very difficult to get a full view of how those technologies are performing, how well they’re working together, and how they’re influencing business success. Such was the case for Simon Pearce when he became Spirit of Tasmania’s CIO in 2018.

“AppDynamics gives us X-ray vision. … We can see everything, all on one screen, and no stone is unturned. We’ve never had this type of visibility before.”

Simon Pearce
CIO  @Spirit of Tasmania

“We had infrastructure monitoring, but that doesn’t show application performance or the resulting impact on users and revenue,” he said.

Spirit of Tasmania’s core application—a multichannel booking platform—was supported by two vendors. With one vendor managing the customer-facing portal and the other hosting the backend booking system it was sometimes difficult to ascertain which vendor should be contacted when necessary.

“This resulted in unnecessary delays in identifying and resolving issues.” he said.

To streamline Spirit of Tasmania’s IT operations and correlate them with business performance, Pearce knew he needed end-to-end visibility of the Company’s application environment. And he was determined to put actionable data into the hands of business leaders.

About Spirit of Tasmania

TT-Line Company Pty. Ltd. (trading as Spirit of Tasmania) has been operating ferries from mainland Australia to Tasmania since 1985. Its iconic red-and-white twin ships—Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II—each can carry up to 1400 passengers and 500 vehicles across Bass Strait twice a day in peak seasons.

Solution: Rapid Application Mapping and Optimization

When Pearce joined Spirit of Tasmania, one of his first tasks was taking stock of the Company’s application portfolio. He did so through the lens of business transactions. Instead of evaluating each application as an island of software, Pearce wanted to see the big picture—including all of the connections, dependencies, and critical pathways that drive revenue.

“We loosely mapped out what we thought the flows should be, showing, for example, how a credit card transaction flows through our systems,” he said.

“We had to make some assumptions as we didn’t have any visibility of application connectivity or performance.”

Soon after, Pearce attended a meeting with representatives from Cisco and AppDynamics, who gave a demo of their application performance management (APM) solution.

“The power of the AppDynamics platform was immediately apparent,” Pearce said. “I walked out of that meeting and said to my colleague, ‘This system is exactly what we need’.’”

Six weeks later, Spirit of Tasmania had AppDynamics in its production environment.

“The AppDynamics consultants were great. They mapped out our core application suite, created a test environment, and built a variety of dashboards,” Pearce said. “The process was very, very fast.”

Benefits: Application Visibility and Business Intelligence

AppDynamics provides real-time insights into application health, connectivity, dependencies, and performance. It shows the resulting user experiences and how long transactions take. And it can even tie those events and experiences to business performance.

“AppDynamics gives us X-ray vision. It not only helps us find a needle in a haystack, it helps us find the correct needle in a pile of needles,” Pearce said. “We can see everything, all on one screen, and no stone is unturned. We’ve never had this type of visibility before.”

The solution immediately revealed numerous areas for improvement in Spirit of Tasmania’s application environment. Momentary losses of connectivity, bugs and other transient events that had long been a mystery were quickly explained. The Company was able to tweak its applications and underlying infrastructure with surgical precision to optimize the user experience. And as new errors crop up, they’re easily identified and resolved. 

“AppDynamics puts us in the driver’s seat,” Pearce said, noting the improved relationship between Spirit of Tasmania and the two vendors supporting its booking platform. “We know exactly what’s happening across our entire application environment. Any issues that arise can be immediately identified and resolved in a fraction of the time it took previously.”

The solution isn’t just providing technology insights. It’s also tying those insights to Spirit of Tasmania’s business performance.

“AppDynamics is more than APM. It’s business IQ on top of APM, and it’s been an absolute game changer for us.”

Simon Pearce
CIO  @Spirit of Tasmania

With visibility and insights spanning IT and business performance, Pearce is bullish on the value of AppDynamics and its potential to do even more for Spirit of Tasmania. In addition to continually optimizing the Company’s application environment, he intends to extend the platform to additional applications and create dashboards for more business teams. 

“AppDynamics is more than APM,” Pearce says. “It’s business IQ on top of APM, and it’s been an absolute game changer for us.”

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