It may not make for good courtroom drama on TV, but pretrial filings are a core part of any litigation. Tyler Technologies is a leading providing of eFiling software, and the company's Odyssey File and Serve solution is used by 14 states and nearly 30 additional counties across the U.S. to streamline and simplify the judicial filing process for litigants and court officers. The web-based software allows litigants to file paperwork with the court online 24/7. Because litigants rely on electronic filing an outage can mean not only frustration, but missing a crucial deadline in a case.
Any service interruption or performance problem with the eFiling solution invariably led to a flood of frantic calls from would-be filers trying to make a deadline or confirm that a filing had been submitted. With limited visibility into how the application was performing, the support staff at Tyler was often faced with a lengthy troubleshooting process. This created a backlog in the call center and forced the company to continuously add staff as adoption of the application grew.
In order to gain critical visibility into the eFiling solution, Tyler Technologies brought in ExtraHop.
Simple Error, Big Headache
One of the most important elements of Tyler Technologies' File and Serve solution is the automatic email it sends to attorneys notifying them that a case has been filed and accepted. One day the support desk started receiving a flood of panicked calls from users who weren't receiving confirmation emails.
Faced with the prospect of having to bring on additional helpdesk staff, the director of support turned to ExtraHop. Looking at the dashboards, the director and the IT team noticed a large volume of SMTP client errors on an application server, resulting in failed new user requests, password resets, and filing confirmation notifications. With ExtraHop, the team was able to determine within a few hours that the problem was due to a simple mistake: the application wasn't using the correct "From" email address.
"Before ExtraHop, we just had no good way to figure out what was going on," says Jamie Gillespie, director of client success and support at Tyler Technologies. "Once ExtraHop showed us the problem, it was an easy fix."
With ExtraHop, Tyler Technologies is not just troubleshooting performance problems faster, they are running a smarter, leaner business operation.
Fewer Support Calls Equals Cost Savings
Once ExtraHop helped the support team at Tyler Technologies identify and fix the SMTP issue, they saw immediate benefits. Daily support call volumes dropped by an average of 100 per day, and Gillespie and her team were able to defer hiring plans saving the company an average of $150,000 each year.
"For Tyler, it's absolutely business-critical to be able to grow the number of court systems and filings supported by our eFiling solution without having to grow our workforce at the same pace," says Gillespie, "With ExtraHop, we finally have the insight we need to quickly resolve errors before they have to be escalated to the level of support calls. That means we can run leaner without slowing growth."
From Weeks to Minutes
The eFiling support team at Tyler is not the only group to have realized significant benefits with ExtraHop. The network and application teams use the platform to manage and troubleshoot a complex array of back-end and customer-facing applications, from financial and ERP applications delivered over Citrix, to web applications for online bill payment, to Microsoft SQL, Oracle, and Apache.
According to Lance Gordon, senior network engineer at Tyler, before ExtraHop troubleshooting usually involved some combination of finger pointing and looking at tools like Microsoft Systems Center and Wire Shark. "With Wire Shark, we'd do a packet capture, but it would take weeks for someone to read it – not exactly helpful when an application is down. With ExtraHop, there are no blame darts. There are no packet captures. We can now troubleshoot in minutes what used to take days or weeks."
Knowing, Not Guessing
With ExtraHop, Tyler Technologies has the data and analytics they need to spot, troubleshoot and resolve performance problems. They also have the visualization tools that the IT team needs to prove to business stakeholders and other teams what's actually going on.
"There have been Severity 1 incidents, usually when a customer is experiencing an outage, where the CIO has actually stood over my shoulder, watching me try to track down the root of the problem," says Gordon. "It's reassuring to know that ExtraHop can narrow down and often find the absolute answer. As long as there's an answer that can be fixed, my boss is happy. My goal is to keep my boss happy."