Indiana Wins with Cisco Full-Stack Observability

Indiana Office of Technology improves critical services to citizens with end-to-end visibility.

State of Indiana Office of Technology (IOT)

Created to consolidate state government IT organizations, IOT establishes technology infrastructure standards, including standards for cybersecurity, and focuses IT resources to improve citizen services.

Industry: Government
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Size: 6.8 million residents served



  • Overcoming limited visibility into application performance
  • Reducing outages and downtime
  • Determining issue root causes
  • Isolating security issues that could potentially affect the entire application
  • Resolving long-standing user experience issues 


  • Obtained full visibility of critical business applications to increase resilience
  • Reduced mean time to resolution (MTTR), eliminating the need for incident war rooms
  • Lowered costs by using fewer resources at incidents
  • Accelerated innovation with adoption of new business-critical applications
  • Fostered a culture change and improved collaboration between IT groups

Imagine going to work every day knowing you have 7 million people counting on you. That's how every workday starts for Brad Welsh, the lead program manager for Application Performance Management, or APM, at the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT).

Welsh says, "We're essentially the IT department for the State of Indiana. We have 90 or so agencies we partner with and support, and they all count on us to provide the best user experience possible for all our constituents."

That is easier said than done. There are always "peak times" when Indiana residents need to use various government agencies more than others.

For example, during COVID, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development office needed to process an inordinate number of unemployment claims quickly and efficiently. If those systems weren't working, consequences could have been devastating to many Indiana residents during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

Whether it's supporting the unemployment office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the Commissioner of Higher Education, one thing is for certain: The days of working on maintaining system uptime solely during a traditional workweek are over.

Welsh says, "As a technology provider for the state, we have certain goals we need to achieve. We are shifting from a mindset of providing uptime on servers and other hardware to a mindset of around-the-clock uptime across our infrastructure. It's not just 8-to-5 anymore. Applications must be available all the time and we must have visibility into our network to make that happen."

He adds, "Application Performance Monitoring (APM) helps us keep our applications performing and healthy. When a critical application goes down with one of our agencies, we will identify that problem within Cisco AppDynamics and Cisco ThousandEyes to address the issue and get the issue resolved as quickly as possible."

There is always a critical need to understand how all applications are performing at a granular level, and Welsh and his team must deliver continuous performance across the board.

Now that we have full-stack observability using Cisco AppDynamics, Cisco ThousandEyes, and Cisco Secure Application, we have the ability to greatly reduce our mean time to resolution.

Brad Welsh, Lead Program Manager for Application Performance Management

But the process of problem solving wasn't always as easy as it is now.

"Before we implemented Cisco Full-Stack Observability (FSO)," Welsh says, "we didn't have the insight or visibility into the applications and across the network that we needed. When an issue arose, it would become a fire drill that would include many people across network, database, and many other IOT teams."

That process simply wasn't efficient. There were too many teams taking too much time to discover and resolve the issue, which meant their constituents weren't being served in a timely manner.

However, when using Cisco AppDynamics, Cisco ThousandEyes, and Cisco Secure Application, it's an entirely different story.

According to Welsh, "The toolsets we have in the APM program now allow us to monitor our business-critical applications (BCAs) consistently and respond proactively to the business and stakeholders that support the applications."

Welsh says, "Now that we have full-stack observability using Cisco AppDynamics, Cisco ThousandEyes, and Cisco Secure Application, we have the ability to greatly reduce our mean time to resolution (MTTR). As we mature, our goal is to be proactive for our partners and constituents, to use the solutions to quickly identify an issue and immediately send to the correct team."

Gaining complete visibility, insights, and actions with Cisco FSO

According to Welsh, the results so far have been game changing. "We have shown we are able to get to the bottom of issues related to licensing, workforce, and motor vehicles quickly." He adds, "In each case, we were able to get to the root causes of the issues and produce the information that the agencies needed to correct the problems with their BCAs."

For example, one of the agencies IOT supports was experiencing server performance issues with one of their business-critical applications. IOT used AppDynamics to identify the cause, and the agency was able to quickly correct it.

Welsh believes achieving FSO will not only improve MTTR, but also lower costs, accelerate innovation, and increase resilience. According to Welsh, "Ultimately, it will give us an end-to-end view within our business-critical applications. Using Cisco AppDynamics to monitor BCAs within the state of Indiana, we've gained full insight into these applications by allowing us to see the user journey through the app from start to finish. We can see network performance, application performance, and data performance."

Welsh goes on to say: "Cisco ThousandEyes gives us the perspective and view from outside our walls, and that's something we've never had before. We can now monitor our vendor cloud-hosted platforms, create synthetic testing that allows us to mimic what a user may do on a regular basis within an app, like logging in and creating appointments. If there are issues from the user's perspective, ThousandEyes will quickly alert us and provide us with that proactive stance we're looking to achieve."

Less downtime allows timely citizen access

IOT has made measurable progress, adding more than 120 business-critical applications to the Cisco FSO environment to date. 

Constituents in the Hoosier state are the big winners, though.

Welsh says: "As a citizen of the state of Indiana, I use our business-critical applications. If I want to renew a title on my vehicle, I'm able to access the Bureau of Motor Vehicles online anytime. With Cisco Full-Stack Observability, I can feel confident that systems will function as they should for me and all Indiana citizens around the clock."

That's a relief to Welsh, who has a lot of people counting on him to do his job every single day. "With AppDynamics and ThousandEyes, we have set internal precedents to deliver key health metrics on business-critical applications and in turn show how we support our partner agencies…and in the end, the constituents of the State of Indiana."

He adds that these new solutions and IOT's collaboration with Cisco have made his job significantly easier: "The relationship we have with Cisco surrounding these solutions has been invaluable."