For people that build, deliver and manage software in the healthcare industry, application reliability is an absolute necessity. With patients’ privacy and wellbeing at stake, there is little to no room for application downtime or other software failures.
Empowered, a subsidiary of Aflac Incorporated, manages a digital platform that simplifies the process of selecting and enrolling employees in benefits offerings and dramatically increases sales for brokers while reducing errors and administrative costs.
Tens of thousands of insurance brokers rely on the Empowered platform to work with businesses to enroll their employees in benefits programs – and many of those agents access the platform on a daily basis.
A few weeks ago, we spoke with Empowered CTO Bray Jones to find out how they ensure rapid code changes don’t impact their customers.
1. Maintaining 24/7 Availability of Mission Critical Apps
For every healthcare organization running software, downtime means more than brand tarnishment and, likely, lost revenue. It means that people don’t have access to information vital to their health and wellbeing. Ensuring 24/7 (or five 9s) availability, then, should be a top priority for all of us.
OverOps provides optimized software data that enables quick identification, prevention and resolution of critical software issues. By analyzing code at runtime, OverOps is able to identify errors that would otherwise be missed by testing suites, log analyzers and APM tools.
2. Releasing Code Changes Quickly with Confidence
For Bray at Empowered, rapid code changes are a big concern. “We are introducing many code changes quickly, and there’s only so much that you can test. Having a tool that can preemptively diagnose problems is vital.”
Many companies are struggling with this same issue. How do you accelerate feature and code delivery without putting your application’s reliability at risk?
Using recently released CI/CD integrations, IT orgs can leverage OverOps data in pre-production to identify errors missed by QA and test automation and automatically block critical issues from being promoted. This capability is supported by an open-source scoring system that takes into account new or increasing errors and slowdowns to determine the stability of a release.
3. Overcoming Fear of the Unknown
Over the years, many of the people we’ve spoken to have expressed a fear of the unknown. Bray shared a similar sentiment with us, “our greatest fear is often the unknown. We’re constantly thinking about what we might have missed in testing when we put code into production.” And we’re sure he won’t be the last.
After all, there’s only so much you can test for, and the level of foresight required to cover all possible failure cases is impossible to achieve. Even 100% code coverage doesn’t guarantee success.
Overcoming this fear is about attaining much-needed, previously unavailable context around “invisible” errors. With OverOps, uncaught exceptions, swallowed exceptions and unlogged errors are all known errors. OverOps is not only aware of these events but is able to alert you on the most critical issues as they occur by deduplicating them and classifying anomalies in real-time.
4. Resolving Issues in Production Before Customers Notice
“When we came across OverOps, one of the key features that caught our attention was the ability to capture and store the complete parameters and variables at the time of an issue. We had previously relied heavily on application logs, which felt like a shot in the dark.”
Once the issue of unknowns is taken care of, OverOps arms teams with the code-level insight needed to reproduce and resolve even the trickiest issues in test AND production. This includes the 7 key components of True Root Cause:
- 1. Code Graph
- 2. The Source Code
- 3. Exact Line of Code in Which the Errors Occurred
- 4. Data and Variables
- 5. Log Statements (including debug and trace level in Production)
- 6. System / Environment Variables
- 7. Event Mapping to Specific Applications, Releases, Services, Etc.
5. BONUS: Shifting Left
Many companies are now “shifting left” by adopting production monitoring practices in earlier stages of the release cycle. The goal, of course, is to identify issues before they ever reach production.
Empowered is accomplishing this by creating a dedicated team of employees tasked with using OverOps to identify and resolve critical issues before they reach production and impact customers.
These 5 examples of how our customers leverage our data are just the tip of the iceberg. No matter where your coverage gaps are – in testing or in production, in issue detection or resolution – OverOps has a solution for you.