83% MTTR reduction
99.99% alerting accuracy
92 percent savings/$2.5 million over five years
Automated Alerting with xMatters Expedites Global Response
Since W.K. Kellogg first discovered wheat and corn flakes in 1898, one key ingredient has consistently proven essential to the company’s success: innovation. Today, the Kellogg Company has grown to 33,000 employees and reaches consumers in 180 countries with some of the world’s most recognized brand names: Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Eggo, Keebler and Pringles.
The Kellogg Company continues to invest in technology to bring efficiency to every area of its operations. Employees are dedicated to meeting the company’s information technology demands, and Kellogg is ever searching for ways to make its distributed IT teams more social, collaborative and efficient – and more valuable to the business.
“At the Kellogg Company, IT is really shifting to be a more business-centric profit center now – rather than a cost center,” says Brian J. Amaro, Senior Infrastructure Analytics Architect for Kellogg Company.
Every Minute Matters
In 2013, the Kellogg Company executives initiated a three-year plan to elevate company efficiency.
Along with finding a new IT monitoring solution, the Kellogg Company sought to automate notifications regarding IT events and integrate them with the monitoring. Until then, IT team members manually alerted relevant employees about immediate needs. Yet it was impossible to manually map for myriad possible incidents across potentially thousands of groups.
Productivity – and profitability – depend on timely alerting. Reaching the right person rapidly can save the company thousands of dollars, or more. In the event of a power outage, for example, the company must instantly alert potentially hundreds or thousands of employees to reboot applications and core production systems, and restart operations in the 30-60 minutes of backup power before the lights go out. Failure to restart in this window puts the company at risk of a 12-to-14-hour outage – valued at up to $1 million a day.
Automated, Global Alerting
Amaro and the team evaluated notification solutions, and presented a business case to management. xMatters rose to the top of the list for its automated alerting capabilities, as well as for a projected positive return on investment. “Kellogg management approved xMatters based on the business benefits alone,” Amaro says, “not to mention the technological advances of being able to easily integrate with our cloud solutions and other IT operations management.” xMatters also ties smoothly into the company’s broader cloud-based infrastructure, including its new monitoring solution, ScienceLogic, and its ITSM and CMDB application, ServiceNow – for truly integrated monitoring, configuration item management, event management, incident creation, and alerting. Customizable event alerting couldn’t have come at a better time.
With the new monitoring solution, the number of devices that Kellogg tracks grew from 1,100 to 18,000 in just one year. Yet it’s easy to keep track of all those contact numbers and preferences for anyone who may need to be alerted, freeing the team from having to manage the database or hunt for numbers. Based on preferences, events in the monitoring and help desk solutions automatically kick off tailored alerts for 2,000 potential events to the relevant people across 88 global teams via phone, SMS, email and push. If someone doesn’t accept the alert, xMatters escalates the issue to the next person on the list, ensuring a timely response. Hyper-focused targeting and escalation prevent alert fatigue. “My favorite capability with xMatters is truly the way that Kellogg can escalate events,” Amaro says, “without having to worry if their devices are actually correct in the system. xMatters validates every device.” Now, whether it’s assigning a ticket, setting up an instant conference bridge or escalating communications, xMatters facilitates two-way communications to the relevant internal IT teams and external service providers responsible for a rapid resolution.
Word about xMatters spread quickly, leading application teams to line up to get onto the solution. Recently, the company expanded xMatters to cover its critical incident process, where it reduced the average time to find the appropriate on-call person. “xMatters is going to be one of the applications we use as a foundation, and not just for IT needs,”Amaro says. “We can use it for alerting for just about any business process.”
Resource Costs Down 92%
The combination of improved monitoring, ticketing and alerting drives down cost and response times at Kellogg. In total, the process cuts resource costs by 92 percent, a savings that is expected to add up to $2.5 million over five years.
Alerting now exceeds 99.99 percent accuracy. And most impressively, the company has cut mean time to resolution from 12-14 hours down to 1-2 hours. Faster resolution ultimately means more profitable operations and happier employees and customers.
“The Kellogg Company’s partnership with xMatters is a match made in heaven,” Amaro says. “There is truly never a problem with the solution – it is one part of our IT infrastructure that I never have to worry about. I know it is working.”