In the last blog I wrote about making it possible to identify, and even start to remediate, problems and errors in systems running important business processes in close to real time, without having to re-engineer the software environment that runs them. In reality, however, achieving that often requires some additional capability.

Keep track of your processes

That requirement is also only going to grow with the increasing use of cloud-based services where contributions to business processes will come from other sources. These might be close business partners managing their own part of a larger business process, but they could just as easily be a third party service provider performing specific process tasks on contract.

Whichever it is, there is a need for the people managing the overall business processes to have a clear idea of what is happening and where, should any part of the process go wrong, the problem lies. Wasting time tracking down such problems is not just wasting money, it also risks losing business reputation and credibility.

Where is the middle of the cloud?

Obviously, a typical customer puts their key business processes right in the middle of its digital nervous system in order to implement its business process and data flow, but with the use of cloud services creating far more collaborative services between and across peer businesses, it becomes difficult to actually identify where that `middle’ really lies.

At Integration Matters, of course, we already have a far more comprehensive view of what is happening within large, and largely dispersed business operations through our partnership with TIBCO. With that we have full insight into what all those TIBCO services are doing.

TIBCO – and more

But we can take it further, for we have now added products that can give a detailed understanding of what's happening to your processes in applications like SAP. We now have sensors that not only to get the data from the TIBCO landscape, but also read the data from the systems TIBCO connects to.

So users not only get a view of what is going on in TIBCO but also in the other applications TIBCO is linking into the overall business management environment. In particular, customers have been asking us to integrate with API management systems, for in cloud-based environments this is where  customers are building far more complex, collaborative business process environments, and where the different applications are joined together.

This is where business transactions start and terminate nowadays, while they work the results can be truly wonderful, but as soon as they go wrong it is one hell of a job to find out where and how it went wrong, unless you can get in there and look at the transactions across the APIs.

On premise, off premise – but always monitored

This will become even more powerful following TIBCO’s recent acquisition of Mashery. Until that acquisition Mashery had an important downside for many enterprise users: being cloud-only made it impossible to monitor all the transactions lost in an API gateway because they would never get through onto the on-premise systems. So users would never be able to monitor them with their own on-premise tools.

So we need to go to where business transactions start to die, or where the touch point with our customers starts to die, and that means we have to go to these API management tools or out into the cloud with extended monitoring capabilities.

Our tools may be on-premise, but they can, in real time, actively monitor APIs operating out in the cloud, off premise.

Complexity continues to grow

What I see in Europe is that the enterprises still have a lot of on-premise installations with a lot of applications running valuable data that participate in the business process. That all needs to be well managed, for that is still the bread and butter in IT to have these systems up and running. And the majority of companies still have them in-house and on-premise.

But the new agenda is to have these applications integrated with, collaborating with, new cloud delivered IP systems, CRM systems, catalogue systems and supplier catalogues and so on. This is why API management is going to be a big trend this year.

In addition, the coming of hyper-converged data center environments, coupled with the orchestration of applications in and out of them, and the use of continuous delivery of updates and upgrades to applications will add new layers of complexity. It will no longer be the case that 'those three racks run SAP' or whatever.

Where does it run? And what if it does not run?

Keeping track of where applications are being run within the data center, or more importantly in which physical location a specific transaction has been executed, given that the next process or transaction may be executed in a completely different part of the world, will be vital information in resolving process problems.

And this is just a by-product of what we do. Whenever we collect the data we understand exactly from where, logically, it comes in the process, which application generated that data and where, physically, that application is located. So we can tell you exactly that your error rate in one data set or application is much higher than the error rate in another data set or application.

Curious to learn more about our nJAMS software for end-to-end monitoring? Contact us for an online demo.

About the Author: Hendrik Siegeln is co-founder and Managing Director of Integration Matters.