Using Monitoring to Bridge the Gap Between Process and Technology
November 14, 2013

Ivar Sagemo
AIMS Innovation

Share this

For several decades now, IT infrastructure has been the fundamental engine of business processes. Going from the abstract idea of a business process to a smoothly running technical implementation of that process ought to be straightforward, right? But as we know, such is not the case. Technology has improved by leaps and bounds, but our ability to leverage it to our best business effect isn't nearly as well optimized. Too often, IT has become its own little world, all but divorced from the business side and unable to take into account business goals and strategies in the way services are managed.

Consider, for instance, solutions such as Microsoft BizTalk and the way BizTalk-driven processes are typically implemented:

• Company requirements translate into logistic rules and requests. For retail stores for example, packages need to be shipped on time or warehouse stores supplemented adequately. Ideally at the lowest cost and the highest reliability.

• The flow of information is then determined and logical rights are assigned to make that happen. When a company specifies where shipments should go and which are rush orders, as the shipments move towards a destination, updates must be provided to a website. Business logistics such as these take on a technical slant when processes are implemented.

Instead of focusing on whether information is actually getting from one location to another in a timely and accurate manner, monitoring services generally miss the mark and revolve around issues such as the CPU utilization of underlying systems, available storage of associated databases, etc.

Also problematic is that thresholds are typically determined arbitrarily and don't always correlate to actual success or failure of the business process it was derived from. This has the effect of making it harder and slower to solve problems when they occur.

It's also an essentially reactive approach: "Wait until something goes wrong and then fix it." Much better would be: "Anticipate what is likely to go wrong, and ensure that it doesn't."

And what happens when the process changes?

Imagine, for instance, that a new business system is brought in-house such as a new sales tool, involving a whole new data source. How easy or difficult is it for a BizTalk monitoring system to adapt in parallel? Usually, a series of manual modifications are needed — possibly by outside consultants specializing in BizTalk. This is slow, cumbersome, and operationally costly. It also introduces the possibility of inadvertent mistakes that could easily compromise monitoring when the whole point was to improve it.

Building a Better Mousetrap

Instead of that all-too-familiar paradigm, let's imagine something quite different.

• Smart discovery. What if BizTalk monitoring systems, once deployed, could automatically discover the business processes that led to the IT decision such as how information flows, critical dependencies, normal performance at different times and under different conditions — and thus establish accurate thresholds needed to ensure effective performance?

• Intuitive design. What if, instead of having to call in a consultant when things go belly-up, IT people could look at a topological map and understand the issue themselves? What if they could drill down into that map, getting specific technical insight needed to fix the problem quickly?

• Out-of-box best practices. What if your BizTalk monitoring system already knew the kinds of monitoring problems other companies have faced, and the best ways to avoid those problems? What if your organization could benefit from that kind of insight without having to call in a consultant?

While, the goal of every organization is to take those great ideas developed at the process stage and carry them through to the final IT implementation, we know that solutions change after initial deployment: new processes, new partners and changing business demands mean processes shift as the journey toward final implementation moves along. We'd like to think that monitoring could help in that journey.

Ivar Sagemo is CEO of AIMS Innovation.

Share this

The Latest

March 04, 2024

This year's Super Bowl drew in viewership of nearly 124 million viewers and made history as the most-watched live broadcast event since the 1969 moon landing. To support this spike in viewership, streaming companies like YouTube TV, Hulu and Paramount+ began preparing their IT infrastructure months in advance to ensure an exceptional viewer experience without outages or major interruptions. New Relic conducted a survey to understand the importance of a seamless viewing experience and the impact of outages during major streaming events such as the Super Bowl ...

March 01, 2024

As organizations continue to navigate the complexities of the digital era, which has been marked by exponential advancements in AI and technology, the strategic deployment of modern, practical applications has become indispensable for sustaining competitive advantage and realizing business goals. The Info-Tech Research Group report, Applications Priorities 2024, explores the following five initiatives for emerging and leading-edge technologies and practices that can enable IT and applications leaders to optimize their application portfolio and improve on capabilities needed to meet the ambitions of their organizations ...

February 29, 2024

Despite the growth in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) and ML across a number of industries, there is still a huge amount of unrealized potential, with many businesses playing catch-up and still planning how ML solutions can best facilitate processes. Further progression could be limited without investment in specialized technical teams to drive development and integration ...

February 28, 2024

With over 200 streaming services to choose from, including multiple platforms featuring similar types of entertainment, users have little incentive to remain loyal to any given platform if it exhibits performance issues. Big names in streaming like Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Max invest thousands of hours into engineering observability and closed-loop monitoring to combat infrastructure and application issues, but smaller platforms struggle to remain competitive without access to the same resources ...

February 27, 2024

Generative AI has recently experienced unprecedented dramatic growth, making it one of the most exciting transformations the tech industry has seen in some time. However, this growth also poses a challenge for tech leaders who will be expected to deliver on the promise of new technology. In 2024, delivering tangible outcomes that meet the potential of AI, and setting up incubator projects for the future will be key tasks ...

February 26, 2024

SAP is a tool for automating business processes. Managing SAP solutions, especially with the shift to the cloud-based S/4HANA platform, can be intricate. To explore the concerns of SAP users during operational transformations and automation, a survey was conducted in mid-2023 by Digitate and Americas' SAP Users' Group ...

February 22, 2024

Some companies are just starting to dip their toes into developing AI capabilities, while (few) others can claim they have built a truly AI-first product. Regardless of where a company is on the AI journey, leaders must understand what it means to build every aspect of their product with AI in mind ...

February 21, 2024

Generative AI will usher in advantages within various industries. However, the technology is still nascent, and according to the recent Dynatrace survey there are many challenges and risks that organizations need to overcome to use this technology effectively ...

February 20, 2024

In today's digital era, monitoring and observability are indispensable in software and application development. Their efficacy lies in empowering developers to swiftly identify and address issues, enhance performance, and deliver flawless user experiences. Achieving these objectives requires meticulous planning, strategic implementation, and consistent ongoing maintenance. In this blog, we're sharing our five best practices to fortify your approach to application performance monitoring (APM) and observability ...

February 16, 2024

In MEAN TIME TO INSIGHT Episode 3, Shamus McGillicuddy, VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) discusses network security with Chris Steffen, VP of Research Covering Information Security, Risk, and Compliance Management at EMA ...