Today’s consumers are well-informed, connected and know what they expect from their interactions with businesses. Not only that, their interactions are electronic, and their loyalty to a brand or business is difficult to hold. Their expectation of instant satisfaction leaves little room for poor performing systems and applications. That means more than ever, transactional success is vital to the realization of customer satisfaction and revenue generation.

Typically, however, there are many components participating in even the most simple customer interaction. Ensuring successful interactions across consumer channels requires a holistic approach across the application delivery chain. Identifying bottlenecks and failures before they occur is the goal, but ultimately ensuring the success of interactions and transactions is ideal.

Traditional Knee-Jerk Resolution

The business IT shop often addresses this challenge by first applying traditional system management and monitoring tools. Unfortunately, businesses don’t come to the conclusion that “green lights are on” does not ensure consumer satisfaction and revenue generation are where they need to be quickly enough.

Traditional infrastructure monitoring is appropriate; but it should be considered the base level of monitoring, providing the health of physical systems, servers and networks. Upon that base there should be another level, ensuring those customer touchpoints are successful.

Stir in Transaction Monitoring for a Holistic Approach

The surveillance of business applications and services through the audit of transactions which span the application delivery chain is the differentiator needed for success. Implementing this layer of the monitoring solution begins with an understanding of the business domain, its consumer interactions and transactions, as well as the applications and system components that comprise the application delivery chain.

The first step is to identify an inventory of scenarios with respective transactions that most impact customer satisfaction and/or revenue generation. This requires interactions with business owners, application development and IT personnel. Armed with prioritized transactions to monitor, map those transactional steps into identified checkpoints and data values for rules processing. Checkpoints should also be identified for those application negative flow handlers which indicate challenges impacting transactional success which are not associated with the physical environment.

Additionally, transactions may have nested transactions, requiring sub-transaction success and failures to be defined to ensure a clear picture of where attention should be focused. Effective transactional monitoring will generate data and metrics which reflect the health, as well as success and failure of monitored business transactions. Finally, notifications and alerts are proactively distributed to appropriate personnel to provide timely visibility and facilitate appropriate reaction. A well-rounded solution also includes a visual monitoring component allowing a real-time dashboard into the solution.

No Rest for the Successful

It’s easy to assume that the implementation of transaction monitoring of identified scenarios completes the picture. But do not be lulled into a false sense of security.

The established monitoring rules and metrics should be continuously review and challenged. Changes in the environment or associated applications can have a major impact to transactional success and may go unnoticed. System and application change management processes should be enhanced to ensure those responsible for transactional monitoring have an opportunity to keep the rules and metrics properly aligned.