Managed Applications

SAS’s managed application capability combines 26 years’ managed network experience with 15 years’ application development experience into one of the UK’s most rounded and best differentiated services. The rare combination of both network and application track record (alongside considerable infrastructure experience) provides an unsurpassed depth of knowledge regarding technology performance interactions, best practice and end-to-end optimisation aspects.

 

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SAS is further distinguished by the fact that it is not only able to design and develop custom-built applications (Web, Windows and Open Source - some examples of which are shown in our downloadable booklet) but it is also able to proactively monitor and manage the full application path. The net result is that SAS is uniquely able to identify, isolate and address technology performance issues and improve the end-user’s experience of business critical applications.

 

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MApp.png Custom Application Development

SAS has more than 15 years’ experience developing both Web and Windows based applications. We have experience in almost every language, platform, architecture and device. An at-a-glance summary of SAS’s experience is shown in the tables below.

We have engaged with many industry areas and are particularly strong in the health, professional services, retail, manufacturing and utility sectors. Unlike many, we do not off-shore our application development. All our developers are our own full time UK-based staff.


 

Technologies

SAS Managed Applications has a broad technology reach in databases & development languages. We also engage with Open Source software alongside the normal Microsoft stack.

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Integrations

SAS has a proven track record of integrations with some of the biggest names. These include logistics specialists, payment gateways, e-commerce solutions and enterprise systems.

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MApp_2.png Application Audit & Monitoring

In the same way that SAS monitors networks (WAN, LAN and WLAN) 24 hours a day, every day we have taken the same approach with application monitoring. We believe in the simple truth that performance is not just about a ‘point-in-time’ but a never ending objective.

The audit service is designed to identify & isolate performance issues. Subject to the agreed scope, it may also include an analysis of the underlying development code. The monitoring service generates alerts to the customer whenever agreed performance parameters are breeched. The two services (audit & monitoring) are delivered together.

MApp_3.png In-House Operation Audit

The service includes a review of application lifecycle management and documentation alongside an analysis of people, processes and technologies. This includes aspects such as engagement with application development contractors, right through to the appropriateness of the technology stack.

Also included is an audit of design disciplines including testing, key check points and quality assurance. At the conclusion of our analysis we produce a report which benchmarks our observations and makes recommendations for the business.

MApp_4.png Application Platform Migration

A good example of an operating system that is no longer supported is Microsoft XP (out of support from April 2014). Similarly VB6 is no longer officially available. It’s a fact that running and maintaining business critical applications on a decade-old platform increases risk exponentially. But it’s not just about risk related to business continuity; it’s also about keeping pace with the benefits associated with technology advancement. Although application migration tools are available, most are not refined enough to capture the subtleties of business logic.

Also included is an audit of design disciplines including testing, key check points and quality assurance. At the conclusion of our analysis we produce a report which benchmarks our observations and makes recommendations for the business.

Customer Snapshot

Shown are just some of the customers we have provided SAS applications support services to

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MApp_5.png Application Functionality Testing

The old adage ‘more haste, less speed’ was never more apt. The result of rushed launches can be bad user experience, sluggish performance, an inability to perform at scale... and adverse PR. And it’s the bad press (internal or external) that tends to kill most applications.

We view functionality testing as a critical quality assurance process and follow a robust testing methodology. During this process we test all functions by feeding them input and examining the output. We check this against all design documentation and specifications.

MApp_6.png Application Load Testing

This service is designed to emulate an increased load on an application and its working environment (ie: the operating system, the underlying hardware and the network) to stress test its performance. The aim is to identify the maximum operating capacity of the application and expose any bottlenecks that may occur when operating at capacity.

The graphic below illustrates a simplified test. In it the number of virtual users and transactions are progressively increased until the server processor utilisation (or the end-user response time) reaches a target threshold. The simplified graphic below illustrates the headline process.

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MApp_7.png Application Hosting & Connectivity

We provide three primary options for application hosting, namely (1) on-premise at the customer’s offices (2) via our private Cloud engaging our Redhill DC facility (3) via the public Cloud engaging Microsoft Azure.

We can also provide a choice of network connectivity solutions including BT, Verizon, Level 3, Colt and Virgin. In terms of timescale, we have existing resilient gigabit connections straight into BT’s core network enabling us to provide application hosting in days, not weeks.

MApp_8.png End-User Experience Monitoring

Smart monitoring keeps users happy and apps healthy. Our monitoring is designed to prevent poor user experience by establishing an acceptable response time based on the time of day, day of week, load on the system, location of the user etc. We are able to monitor across multiple geographic locations and both public & private networks.

But SAS’s monitoring service is not limited to network alone. As detailed earlier, it embraces all three of the interlinking layers impacting the application path, namely: network, infrastructure and application performance. It is the interaction of these three core layers that influences end-user experience and it is where SAS excels.

MApp_9.png Application Performance Optimisation

Our process starts with a site visit and a technology audit. We use monitoring tools for a minimum of 2 weeks (ideally longer) to ensure sufficient application performance issues and usage patterns have been captured. We then complete a report and make benchmarked recommendations.

Thereafter we work with the customer to implement agreed application performance enhancements. To be clear, this service goes beyond monitoring alone. The objective of this service is to ‘find and fix’ application performance issues to support continual process improvement. This application optimisation service should be repeated regularly.

MApp_10.png In-House Developer Support

SAS is able to support this in-house resource by providing a virtual extended team of application development specialists backed up by highly experienced network and infrastructure personnel. The spirit of this service centres on scalable support through partnership and is not about replacing in-house resource. In terms of calibre we have multiple Partner of the Year Awards, numerous ISO accreditations, and Microsoft Gold status for Application Development.

Our in-house support service starts with an audit to get up to speed regarding in-house capability and from this we make initial observations and recommendations. We will then work with the customer to align SAS resource with their operational and strategic needs. This may range from short term cover for holidays or staff absence, through to support for major development projects. We are very happy to talk you through example engagements and case studies.

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MApp_11.png Business Intelligence Services

Business Intelligence Services are defined as a set of theories, methodologies, architecture and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information. The headline process is illustrated in the simplified graphic shown below.

A tangible example of SAS’s capability in this area is demonstrated in our engagement with Debt Line. In this example, considerable amounts of data (from multiple sources) are mapped, normalised and output in formats that enable more effective tactical, strategic and operational insights and decision making.

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MApp_12.png Application Path Management

We've outlined our application audit and monitoring service. Now, we’re moving from monitoring to full management. We are offering this specialist service because an application path is a fluid environment that requires ongoing monitoring, testing and expert management to consistently ensure best performance.

This optimisation goal can only be achieved by focusing on the end-to-end application path - network performance, infrastructure performance and application performance. It’s the crossover of these interlinking aspects that delivers good and consistent end-user experience. The simplified graphic below illustrates this point.

App_Path_Management-01.png

 

 

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Persimmon Homes