With Website Up More Often, Member Calls Are Down

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Members no longer call to complain that Spokane Teachers Credit Union's website is down, according to Danny Jones, web developer at the $659-million CU.

"Uptime has improved since we started proactively monitoring our web transactions," reported Jones.

Spokane Teachers CU (STCU) uses Boca Raton, Fla.-based Alertsite's Web Transaction Professional to make sure that members experience 100% performance using web applications such as homebanking and electronic statements.

Jones said that web uptime is paramount. "Members expect to be able to log in and do their transactions. Occasionally we'd get a phone call to say something wasn't working right, and that was frustrating for me because we should have been more proactive. Members shouldn't have to notify us when we have a system unavailable- we should know about it before they do and fix it."

Previously, STCU was only able to track web application performance from inside the network and from just outside the network perimeter. "We weren't looking at our services from the same perspective as our members."

AlertSite now tests the CU's web applications from servers using different Internet carriers in three U.S. cities every 30 minutes. STCU is thus able to get a better idea of what various users are experiencing.

"We receive daily, weekly, and monthly reports via e-mail," Jones continued. "Plus we are alerted via email and pager when a system reports that it is down."

With AlertSite's Error Correction Technology (ECT) upgrade, STCU's systems are tested simultaneously in real-time. STCU is thus alerted only when all three monitoring cities report an error.

"ECT eliminates false positives," Jones explained. "If only one location reports that one of our systems is down, but the other two indicate everything is up and running, then the problem is most likely on the Internet Service Provider's end and we can't do anything about it."

Web Transaction Professional monitors the eight-branch CU's homepage, homebanking, and electronic statements systems within one five-step transaction.

The five-step transaction mimics the sequence an STCU member might follow: First, AlertSite checks that STCU's homepage is properly loaded, followed by a test of the homebanking log-in and subsequent account summary screens. Clicking on an electronic statement completes the third transaction.

During the fourth and fifth transactions, a password confirmation window for electronic statements and the electronic statement itself are loaded.

AlertSite reports include DNS resolution, TCP connect, content download and redirect times as well as times to first byte.

STCU has used Web Transaction Professional since March. The hosted service tests STCU's mix of web applications, which include STCU's in-house website development and hosting. In addition, the CU uses a customized version of Harland Financial Solutions' Ultra-Access homebanking, whereas electronic statement retrieval is provided by OnBase.

Web Transaction Professional offers the option to test from up to 11 worldwide locations at five-minute intervals. Service Level Agreements can be defined under AlertSite's SLA Manager upgrade.

CUJ Resources

For more info:

* Spokane Teachers CU at www.stcu.org

* AlertSite at www.alertsite.com

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