Application Performance Monitoring enhances the MyPension user experience

Published on 17/06/2021 in Customer Stories

Application Performance Monitoring enhances the MyPension user experience

The success of digital services depends on applications that run smoothly. The Belgian Federal Retirement Service embraces Application Performance Monitoring to keep its application performance – and user experience by proxy – shipshape.

MyPensionOpens a new window is the online portal Belgian citizens use to access personalized information about their legal and supplementary retirement pay. The portal features an interactive environment. “Among other things, you’ll find information on the date and amount of your retirement pay, and you can simulate all kinds of scenarios,” says Luc Coppens, ICT Director of the Belgian Federal Retirement ServiceOpens a new window .

“Our operations are also becoming increasingly proactive and automated. That keeps us from having to request data from citizens that we already have.” MyPension services respond to a clear need. Last year alone, the portal was accessed two million times.

And that’s exactly why it’s essential that the IT systems underlying MyPension do what they are supposed to. “Traditionally, tracking IT environment performance involves monitoring the different components, e.g. software, servers, and the network,” Coppens explained. “The thing is, that didn’t always give us access to the big picture. Viewed separately, the components may work fine.

But the solution as a whole? The end-user still suffers from the system’s underperformance.” What’s more, when a problem cropped up, the whole IT Department would have to kick into emergency gear. “We didn’t know where to look, which meant we had to scour it all.”

Proactive IT monitoring

By transitioning to an Application Performance Management (APM) tool, the Belgian Federal Retirement Service managed to monitor its IT environment more proactively. To that end, the Belgian Federal Retirement Service chose DynatraceOpens a new window .

Proximus and CTG were jointly responsible for the tool’s implementation. “APM tries to trace potential weak links. Artificial intelligence (AI) helps detect problems even before they happen,” Coppens explained. “But if a problem does occur, we can take a super targeted look at exactly what happened, come up with a concrete solution, and learn from it.”

The Belgian Federal Retirement Service maintains a comprehensive environment overview with a dashboard. These days, malfunctions and incidents have a much smaller impact on the IT Department. “The cause could be anything. There could be a bug in the application code, but it could just as easily be an infrastructure failure, or maybe it’s the end-user’s network that’s down. We primarily use APM to monitor applications. That way if something is off there, we don’t have to round up the infrastructure team for it.”

Application Performance Monitoring allows us to continually improve the MyPension user experience.

Luc Coppens, ICT Director – Belgian Federal Retirement Service


A better MyPension user experience

While monitoring typically used to be an operational IT Department tool, the Belgian Federal Retirement Service now provides the development and infrastructure teams with feedback too. What’s more, APM also bridges the gap with business. “The goal is to gain insights and use those to continually enhance the MyPension user experience.” Among other things, Dynatrace is used to report on our business processes, e.g. retirement payments.

“That makes it possible to monitor those processes from within the business to ensure, for example, that payment orders are made by the planned deadlines.”

APM’s implementation fits within the Belgian Federal Retirement Service’s broader digitization policy strategy. “To tell the truth, we’ve been a digital organization for ages now,” said Coppens. “We started out by digitizing the standard processes. Now we’re taking a look at how we can take that further.” In that respect, the Belgian Federal Retirement Service is considering, among other things, using AI to boost the organization’s proactivity and deploying APIs (Application Programming Interface).

“That should help us provide better access to our information and collaborate more efficiently with, for example, other public services or European institutions.”

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Luc Coppens is an industrial electronics engineer. He is a Ghent University graduate in Computer Science. Coppens joined the Belgian Federal Retirement Service in 1999 and has been their I&O ICT Director since 2007.

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