The high-stakes applications, including Kaiser's laboratory, medical records and pharmacy tools, are the reason the nonprofit health-care organization puts so much stock in managing its applications--and doing it efficiently. If one application in the organization's laboratory system chain fails, for instance, it affects the medical staff and patients, too.
"We know within a minute if an application is having a problem," says Chip Gauthier, manager of SASS for the Oakland, Calf.-based HMO. "Instead of waiting for users to call in, we're more proactive."
Like most businesses, Kaiser operates with an especially tight IT budget these days. There is little wiggle room to hire more labor. So the organization relies heavily on monitoring tools to help track the company's growing population of servers and applications.
Kaiser's SASS group recently cut some of its overhead by adding a new management console, Heroix Corp.'s RoboCentral, to centralize alarm monitoring. The system eliminated the need for a full-time staffer to gather and consolidate alarms, Gauthier says.