Monitor Your Self-Service Network the Way You Want

September 25, 2017 | YVONNE STOECKLE

ATMs and the rest of your financial institution’s self-service devices are becoming far more complex than they once were. Software upgrades are happening more frequently than ever, and multi-vendor networks are the norm, not the exception. There are more than 4,000 events that can affect a self-service terminal – and anyone charged with ATM maintenance or operations probably feels as if they’ve experienced them all at one time or another.

New technology and evolving consumer behavior is crashing up against legacy infrastructure and limited back-end visibility, forming a perfect storm for ATM operations teams.

Two recent statistics stand in jarring comparison to one another:

  • Nearly three out of four respondents in ATM Marketplace’s 2016 ATM and Self- Service Software Trends report felt that ATMs will increase in importance by 2020, “as more automation will be introduced to handle additional types of transactions.”
  • Three out of four FIs said they had limited visibility and/or were not getting enough information when asked about monitoring their ATM fleet.

Availability and reliability are high priorities for ATM channel teams around the globe. The true cost of a terminal being out of service goes far beyond the tangible expense of lost transactions (estimated at up to 10 cents per minute). The negative perceptions about a financial institution’s brand that could be conjured when consumers experience an out-of-service ATM are also very real, and potentially significant.

What it means to you

Comprehensively monitoring the self-service channel has never been more critical to success. A multi-vendor, multi-device monitoring tool is the only way you’ll be able to get a holistic view of everything that’s happening in your network.

For instance, if a specific terminal is down for 48 minutes on a given day, are you able to tell if it went down during peak hours, or why it malfunctioned? Or if any other terminals were affected? Truly holistic monitoring software will be able to automatically collect and report on that data, sending it to various departments and levels of management, allowing your organization to make refinements to help optimize the network.

This capability should extend to as many devices as possible. If the machine is running Microsoft, Linux, or any embedded OS that supports SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) messages, your software monitoring tool should be able to grab those fault messages, process business rules and help manage those machines.

Making the data actionable

Gathering the information is only half the battle. If the data is only understandable to one or two software engineers on your team, it’s not going to be much help in the day-to-day management of your network. A good monitoring tool will offer up key stats and data points in an easy-to-understand format, through a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile device – whatever works best for your team.

Service technicians should be able to pull logs, trace files, get results from automated test patterns and be able to quickly review information in real time, either at a terminal or remotely, that can help them get a picture of the ATM’s current status. Behind the scenes, that software should be doing the heavy lifting:

  • Logging and tracking error rates on individual modules, to better predict and flag potential failures before they occur
  • Resolving minor errors and issues automatically, with no user intervention
  • Parsing the data according to flexible, changeable rules that meet your organization’s KPIs
  • Sorting the data into a measurable, easy-to-understand dashboard that can be shared with key stakeholders outside the ATM channel

Think of your monitoring tool like a Swiss Army knife. Do you want one simple blade? Or do you want something that has the tool you need, no matter what the situation?

Some monitoring tools available on the market today focus on a set of network status messages. Historically, that’s about 20-60 messages. When the monitoring system gets one of those messages from the ATM, a ticket is created, and that ticket is turned into a dispatch. The service technician or CIT provider goes to the machine and evaluates the issue, based on minimal information – nothing more than the standard, general status message.

With 4,000+ events possible, monitoring and reporting out just 60 general status messages means your team and techs are using a chainsaw when they could be using a scalpel. A better solution is to incorporate monitoring software that places an agent directly on each ATM, so you get detailed, specific information. Device monitoring can figuratively put eyes, ears and a brain on self-service terminals, and remotely determine what is – and isn’t – working within the network.

As your organization shifts from manual oversight to a monitoring tool, your strategy needs to shift as well. Rather than focusing on ad hoc challenges as they arise, you can focus on creating a personalized system. Your monitoring tool should enable you to filter out some issues (tabling them for weekly or monthly discussion) while highlighting the issues your team wants to prioritize. A collaborative partner like Diebold Nixdorf can help identify the most common fault types and, over time, work with you to refine the rule sets and diagnostic process you’re using.

The bottom line

The right monitoring tool can help you eliminate 50% of dispatching visits, alert you to issues before they cause your terminals to error, and give you the information you need to make better long-term decisions for the health of your self-service network.

Customization is key. No two banks face the same challenges, and no two banks have the same internal structure.

Explore our new infographic, "ATM Monitoring: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" to see how we can help improve the management of your self-service network.

With flexible solutions and experienced implementation experts, we work with you to identify your unique priorities, so you can deliver better results across your entire self-service channel. Let's start a conversation today.