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How Business Journey Observability can Reduce your Operational Blind Spots?

Our earlier article emphasized the necessity of transitioning from traditional Application Performance Monitoring (APM) to Observability-driven approaches due to the evolving complexity of deployment environments and the growing emphasis on delivering an optimal customer experience. 

Traditional monitoring, offering a bottom-up perspective, relies on sampling and synchronous function calls, often missing important data points integral to root cause analysis as well as the nuances of asynchronous calls in modern multi-party API systems. This often leads to operational blind spots, that can be attributed to the following factors: 

Lack of Comprehensive Monitoring:

Incomplete or inadequate monitoring solutions that focus on specific components or layers of the IT infrastructure can lead to blind spots. A failure to monitor critical elements can result in undetected issues.

Complex and Distributed Architectures:

Modern IT systems often involve complex and distributed architectures, including microservices, containers, and cloud services. The sheer complexity and dynamism of these environments can introduce blind spots, especially if monitoring tools are not designed to handle such intricacies.

Sampling and Aggregation Practices:

Traditional monitoring solutions often rely on sampling and aggregation techniques to handle large volumes of data. However, this approach may lead to the loss of crucial details, especially during peak loads or when trying to diagnose intermittent issues.

Inadequate Alerting Mechanisms:

If alerting mechanisms are not configured properly or are too generic, important events or anomalies may go unnoticed. Poorly defined thresholds or alerting rules can contribute to operational blind spots.

Limited End-to-End Visibility:

Lack of end-to-end visibility into business processes and customer journeys can result in operational blind spots. Focusing solely on infrastructure metrics without considering the broader business context can lead to incomplete insights.

Dynamic, Elastic and Changeable Environments:

IT environments that scale dynamically or use elastic resources, such as in cloud computing, can introduce challenges in maintaining consistent visibility. Traditional monitoring tools may struggle to keep up with the dynamic nature of these environments. Further, IT systems undergo constant changes, including updates, patches, and new deployments. Monitoring solutions that cannot adapt quickly to these changes may fail to capture relevant data, leading to blind spots.

Insufficient Contextual Information:

Without contextual information tied to metrics and events, IT teams may struggle to interpret the significance of certain activities. Understanding the business context and the impact of IT events on overall operations is essential, for which a unified contextual view of the system shared by IT Operations and Business teams is necessary. 

Poor Collaboration Across Teams:

Lack of collaboration between IT operations, development, and business teams can result in operational blind spots. Siloed information and a lack of shared understanding can hinder the identification and resolution of issues.

Addressing these challenges is crucial for maintaining a robust and effective operational environment, and ultimately delivering superior, error-free customer experiences. Adopting observability-driven approaches, such as Business Journey Observability, can help organizations overcome these challenges and gain a clearer understanding of their IT systems. Let us understand how.

Business Journey Observability to the Rescue!

Observability adopts a top-down approach as opposed to the bottom-up approach that APM follows, prioritizing the business impact on system health, supporting real-time views on unsampled data, and tracing end-to-end customer journeys.

Business Journey Observability is a holistic approach involving end-to-end visibility of processes and interactions within a business. It introduces a much-needed business context into digital transactions, since a transaction trace typically only records the function calls, APIs and internal states triggered by a customer request, whereas the embedded business data – for instance, Bill Payment Volume, Success/Failure Rates, and Turn Around Time in the case of a bill payment system – are typically not overlaid as trace attributes and are for all practical purposes “lost.” 

Business data corresponding to successful transactions is recorded in the database. However, transactions that fail for various reasons at intermediate stages only leave their fingerprints on the logs or traces. Conventional observability throws away this wealth of business information. Giving observability a domain-centric flavour by tying events and data points that are collected across disparate silos and microservices in the context of a single business transaction (including failed transactions) leads to a wealth of information for root cause analysis that can possibly lead us to insights and AI models that can predict and prevent outages in the future.

In this article, we delve deeper into seven ways in which the implementation of Business Journey Observability can enable organizations to reduce blind spots in their operations. 

Operational Dashboards Offering Comprehensive Views

Business Journey Observability provides a comprehensive view of the entire customer journey and business processes. It covers all touchpoints and interactions, ensuring that no critical step or component is overlooked. In addition, the views are designed to be transparent across silos and API providers, which means that IT Operations Management (ITOM) teams can effortlessly drill down into journey metrics (whether IT or business) and discover the origin of slowness or failures. Channel partners gain insight into which services are causing business or technical errors, and can determine how to better handle them. Business leaders can make informed decisions on whether to switch partners or throttle transactions to a particular API or microservice based on latency and failures, thereby optimizing business processes, allocating resources efficiently, and enhancing overall business performance.

Real-time Visibility

By continuously tracking business processes in real-time with unsampled data, organizations can identify issues as they occur. This proactive approach helps in addressing problems promptly and prevents them from escalating. It also allows the application of various anomaly detection models on real-time streaming data for intelligent alerting. By contrast, APM uses a sampling and aggregation-based approach which might result in valuable data for root cause analysis slipping through the cracks. APM also relies mainly on static thresholds for alerting on this aggregated data, which inevitably causes alert storms and false alerts.  

End-to-End Insights

Business Journey Observability delivers comprehensive insights into customer interactions, internal processes, and system integrations, breaking down information silos and offering a holistic view of how diverse elements impact overall business performance. It furnishes success/failure metrics for different channel partners, assisting decision-makers in selecting the most suitable partner APIs for specific business flows. Business leaders gain a panoramic view of customer satisfaction metrics, allowing them to pinpoint areas in the journey (which are referred to as “micro-journeys”) that require optimization for an enhanced user experience. Real-time segmentation of business metadata also becomes possible – for example, drilling down on billers, utility types, payment methods and more in the case of a bill payment system. 

Correlation of Data

Business Journey Observability correlates data from various sources, such as IT systems, applications, and customer feedback. This correlation helps in understanding the relationships between different events and components, making it easier to identify patterns and trends that can potentially lead to early warnings, pre-emptive issue detection and remediation, as well as intelligent operational dashboards. 

Business-Centric Troubleshooting

With business journey observability connecting the dots between IT metrics and business data, troubleshooting also becomes business-centric. ITOM teams and business leaders can both get a unified view of the customer journey, with each metric functioning not just as a number but as a reflection of business health. Data contextualization based on an understanding of the relevant domain leads to a set of business lead indicators that transform correlated events in the context of an issue into a narrative that guides decision-making and remedial actions.  

Better Traceability

Every customer interaction is traceable across the entire IT stack, which not only aids in quick incident resolution but also equips customer support teams to handle queries with unprecedented speed and accuracy. Customer service, dispute resolution and compliance become effortless as it becomes possible to search for erroneous business flows using parameters like transaction IDs, merchant IDs, API names, or error codes. This enables customer support and ITOM teams to isolate failure points, uncover underlying causes, and extrapolate data for compliance reporting or incident investigation.

Enhanced Collaboration and Adaptability

Business Journey Observability encourages collaboration across different teams within an organization. When various departments share a common understanding of the entire business journey, it becomes easier to work together to address challenges and optimize processes. As business processes evolve or new technologies are introduced, Business Journey Observability adapts to these changes. It ensures that organizations can maintain visibility into their operations, even in dynamic and evolving environments.

By addressing these aspects, Business Journey Observability ensures that organizations have a clear and comprehensive view of their operations, reducing blind spots and enabling timely and informed decision-making. Business leaders, IT Operations Management teams, and channel partners can leverage Business Journey Observability to foster a more seamless and customer-centric operational landscape. To know more about how VuNet’s Business Journey Observability platform can help you navigate this landscape with its pioneering Business Resiliency Operations Center, reach out to us at [email protected]

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