Insight with operational intelligence uncorked for guests at special event

Deeper understanding of operational intelligence – currently one of the hottest topics for financial organisations – was delivered to an invited audience in the heart of the City.

The special evening event, hosted by DRYiCE iControl and entitled ‘Achieving Insight with Operational Intelligence’, was held at 200, Aldersgate. It was a chance for experts in the field, such as Tim Mason of Deutsche Bank and Marlon Arthur from DRYiCE iControl, to share top tips in the course of their presentations. 

Addressing some of the major business challenges faced by the banks, Mason described how technology monitoring has been remodelled and streamlined to deliver real-time insight.

He outlined what it takes to align real-time monitoring against a defined “value chain” or “value stream” in a production process, using metrics that include volume, speed, timing, completion, matching, throughput and quality. 

The benefits were there for all to see. For product services, the approach ensures that monitoring covers what matters, providing business context so that fixes are achieved in the right order of priority.  This in turn means that the operations side of a company no longer has to undertake manual checking of business flow to understand if IT is generating problems.

For the business side this brings reassurance that end-to-end targets can be met and service level agreements delivered.

Mason made clear how business flow monitoring is about measuring and monitoring the business outcomes required of the technology. This results in four benefits. Firstly, improved stability, proactivity and reduced mean-time-to-resolution, with a dashboard showing performance, impact and the root causes of problems. 

Secondly, regulatory performance needs are consistently met. Mason gave the example of how significant fines can be avoided by making the right investment to define flows and targets. In the case of BCBS 239 compliance, for example, success involves the storage, tracking and monitoring of 2,000 metrics.

Thirdly, transparency, particularly in defining service-level targets across the entire business flow, has improved efficiency. Finally, client perceptions can be greatly improved through real-time monitoring of their connectivity and provision of end-to-end performance reporting by product. 

Mason also covered the capabilities that are instrumental in creating an end-to-end monitoring programme. This includes process discovery with performance metric design, followed by the design of monitoring, its implementation and continual reporting in order to highlight near-misses and areas for improvement.

Citing practical challenges, Mason explained how this approach is enabling Deutsche Bank to remain compliant and avoid potential fines through timely reporting.
Mason’s presentation prompted a series of questions from the floor, covering several topics including the challenges to implementation, the question of cultural change and how to embed this into day-to-day thinking. One audience member wanted to know if the approach proposed by Mason had been used in all environments “to test the system”.

The audience then heard from Marlon Arthur, client relationship manager at DRYiCE iControl. In his presentation, Arthur detailed DRYiCE iControl’s great strengths in supporting institutions seeking compliance with the massive burden of regulation. The audience were especially interested in the onerous requirements of BCBS 239. 

In response, Arthur gave the example of how one of DRYiCE iControl’s major clients initially engaged it to tackle principle five of the BCBS 239 requirements – that of timeliness. The institution had exhausted a number of solution options and realised that DRYiCE iControl had the requisite skillset and experience to assist with compliance. 

From an initial proof-of-concept concentrating on “timeliness”, DRYiCE iControl’s remit was expanded to cover the principles of “accuracy” and “completeness”. The scope included 23 key risk reports or metrics and for each, the value chain was mapped out, right from data capture, through system processing, manual acceptance, report generation and publication. 

Arthur said once the right metrics were determined, they were simplified into what were termed “measurements” and “observations”.  Much of the data for the observations was extracted from end-user-developed applications. 

An interface was added to DRYiCE iControl’s iControl engine where the data is managed and context supplied, at first allowing users to enter their observations, prior to moving to automation.  Existing monitoring (ITRS Geneos) was used wherever possible, to build a real-time dashboard that online users could utilise immediately. 

Having run through the programme that is delivering the required level of BCBS 239 compliance so effectively for this client, Arthur stressed how it was the understanding of the value chain in relation to risk metrics that provides a sound basis for defining controls and performance indicators.

“Activities that the business performs alone do not provide a complete picture of the value chain,” he said. “You must engage both business and IT. Our approach ensures the right controls are monitored and measured in real time – which not only provides a view of compliance but also improves stability.”

He added: “Defining what to measure is at the heart of this. In our experience, many firms struggle with this.”
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