It's All About the Business

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It's All About the Business

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You may think you’ve heard this discussion before, but I’d wager a guess that you’ve actually heard more about transactions than about business. I want to tell you why you actually need to put the focus on the business.

In today’s world where more and more businesses move to the web, the application is the face of the company. It is the business, it is the revenue stream. From DVD rentals to talent management, everything is an online application. Someone suggested to me recently that the only business they cannot use the Internet for was getting a haircut. But I am sure they are working on it too!!

From the CIO to the ops team pushing the latest application release out, there needs to be a common context that drives the business unit towards a robust, efficient and a highly competitive application. That context is the business transaction.

Here are a few reasons why you should focus on the ‘business’ side of the business transaction:

1. When the application is the business, competitive advantage means having a better application. Now in an ideal world, when someone builds an application they would like it to be better than anything out there. But having an edge is not a one time thing. It’s constant evolution, which means rapid change and faster adaptation (Flickr does 10+ deployments a day!!). Dynamic changes to an application’s features and functions directly impact the business transaction and the overall user experience. At the end of the day, what you care about most is how your users are being serviced.

2. When the application is the business, managing an application is no longer just about monitoring CPU, JVM memory or timing key methods. It’s really about understanding the user experience, managing the business operations and creating service levels to ensure optimum performance. Business transactions are the binding factor for attaching SLAs to business operations and for creating a common ground between dev teams and ops teams. Focusing on the business transaction is a great way to validate the whole cycle including a rollout or the current state of the app at any given time.  Also, the growth of business means more capacity to serve. This means the growth of servers. So, instead of multiplying management complexity with more resources, a focus on user-centric SLAs is the only scalable way to address performance.

3. When the application is the business, the responsibility of managing applications (and hence the revenue stream) falls on IT Operations. But development is responsible for building the app and for the innovation in it. The creates an interdependence (and what we see as the DevOps movement). By creating a common language to categorize user requests – “Are the checkouts doing ok?” “Is the sales order processing running faster than before?” – these teams are better able to communicate and effectively manage application performance over time.

Using the business transaction as a unit of management for the application makes your company more agile, competitive, scalable and high performance. In future posts, I’ll review the various ways to approach overall application management and take a deeper dive on why a business transaction focus is critical to success.

At the end of the day, it should be all about the business!


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