The Ultimate Guide to Business Activity Monitoring
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is not a new concept as large enterprises have always been trying to build their custom tracking solutions to achieve end-to-end distributed tracing.
But there were problems with building a customized BAM solution, including not using it across different business applications. The support teams spent most of their time solving the challenges within that developed solution when SaaS tools providing BAM service came into the picture. Only after which, the importance and popularity of the service spread from large organizations to even small and medium ones.
Haven’t you heard anything about BAM yet? Not a problem! This blog outlines what it is along with an out-of-box tool to make Business Activity Monitoring much efficient.
What is Business Activity Monitoring?
In general, Business Activity Monitoring is all about “aggregating, analyzing and presenting the real-time information about the activities involved in a business transaction”. With that said, I know you would be having plenty of questions like “What is an activity?”, “What does a business transaction mean?”. So here is an explanation for all those terms,
- Business Process: Any application will involve several business processes, and each process will consist of one or more related business transactions.
- Business transactions: Transactions are an operation of a business that represents a set of activities. In our example, the transactions shown are New Order, Fulfil Order and Ship Order.
- Activities: An Activity is made up of one or more stages and is within the business transaction.
So, with BAM,
- Get complete visibility of your business solutions involving multiple transactions.
- Track the events, messages, transactions, and view that information in dashboards and reports, which eventually helps analyze the data collected.
- Instantly resolve complex issues by identifying the root cause of the failure.
BAM for Azure Integrations
By now, you would have realized that Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is indispensable when you need maximum visibility of your business solutions.
But questions like “why is it important for Azure integrations?”, “Do we have any tools to achieve BAM?” keep popping up in your mind.
To answer that first question, imagine an employee onboarding application with several Azure services communicating with each other. Also, in most cases, your integrations will involve multiple resources. That’s why BAM is crucial to provide end-to-end tracking on such high-level integrations.
And there are no native monitoring tools that provide Business Activity Monitoring. So the only choice left with us is to go for some third-party tools like Serverless360.
With this understanding, let’s look at the features that Serverless360 offers for Business Activity Monitoring.
Use Serverless360 BAM to gain complete visibility of your Azure/Hybrid Integrations with end-to-end message tracking and capture the necessary data that flows across your business processes.
So as the first step, configure the business processes, and you will soon get the visual representation of it as shown below.
Since the steps for configuring the business processes, transactions and stages are so simple, we will skip that part. But, if you want a detailed explanation of the configuration process, check out their documentation.
Here is the list of 5 critical operations easily performed with the support of Serverless360 BAM
A graph designer module represents the message flows within the business transactions in the form of an activity diagram. This way, you can easily track and find what happened during a particular run, including the transactions’ status.
Apart from that, each stage of any transaction will also be depicted in different colors to help you identify their status (Success, Failure, In Progress) just by looking at the workflow.
And if in case a transaction has failed and you want to know the reason for its failure, go into the stage details to figure out the root cause, and there is this tab called Action Required, which segregates all the failed transactions.
Use simple search query language to fetch all the business transactions you need, and it allows you to filter the transactions based on their name, status, and other various properties. For example, the properties might include Business Unit, Employee ID, etc.
The search queries also depend on elapsed time, a particular time interval, or a specific date. It is also possible to save these queries for accessing it in the future.
So, by tracking the business transactions, you can pinpoint the failed transactions and even identify the cause for the failure, but the real challenge is to reprocess those transactions.
Now with Serverless360’s advanced reprocessing features, modify the necessary value and then resubmit it again. Such transactions will also get a tag “Reprocessed” right by its side to notify the user about its successful resubmission.
So here, there are two types of transactions to help you in different scenarios – Dynamic reprocessing and Bulk reprocessing.
Monitor all your business processes to make sure that they are always on track. This way, you can easily watch those processes and get alerted whenever something goes wrong through various notification channels.
To help you with Business Process Monitoring, Serverless360 exclusively supports,
Query Monitoring: Monitor the performance of your business process based on the queries saved. While configuring it, you can set the period for which the data will be tracked and specify the minimum number of alerts to get received for a particular duration.
Exception Monitoring: BAM allows logging exceptions in the stages of a business transaction so that you can now get altered on the exceptions that occur in a specified time duration.
If you need to view all the alerts you received via the Query and Exceptions monitors, move to the “Alert History” tab and get a list of the alerts and more details.
Getting a visual representation of the data involved in your business transactions is very important to perform analytics.
So, as default, Serverless360 automatically generates an Analytics Dashboard where you get to visualize the collected data, including the number of failed transactions, Successful ones, etc., in the form of graphs and charts. You can also create new widgets and customize the dashboard based on your needs.
With all these features, Serverless360 also ensures the security of your business data. It enables you to configure SQL Database to store the tracked data and Blob containers for storing the tracked message header and body. So, in the end, all the data will get saved only in your Azure Subscriptions.
BAM is suitable not only for Azure integrations involving multiple resources but can also help track in other business scenarios. For instance,
- Hybrid Applications having both on-premises and cloud services
- Applications built using .NET
- Applications involving Microsoft Flow
The above are some significant scenarios where you can consider opting for Serverless360 BAM
So, this end-to-end tracking and visualization approach pinpoints the issues faster and helps to reduce the downtime of your applications to a greater extent. Finally, I hope you understood how BAM works and understood the critical features of Serverless360 to attain message tracking effortlessly.