It’s tax time again and, like many of you, I will be filing my return electronically. Last year, the IRS reported that more than 112 million income tax returns were e-filed, or 77% of all the individual returns filed. That’s a lot of transactions hitting the IRS servers, and odds are with 112 million of anything you’re going to have some delays and exceptions.
Which brings me to my point—do we really know what happens to a transaction after it is executed? Where does it go? What kind of network traffic does it encounter along the way? How safe and secure is the journey? These are all things we take for granted, but quickly begin to question when something goes missing … like a tax return. (By the way, the IRS website has an entire page on e-file security and why things can’t get lost.)
Increasingly, business services are underpinned by multiple technologies and platforms woven together into a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). With SOA we are able to create highly distributed composite applications that span multiple heterogeneous platforms, and essentially allow us to realize the vision of e-commerce. However, a key challenge with SOA is achieving real-time visibility into transactions that criss-cross this extended enterprise.
One approach to the problem of transaction visibility is application performance management (APM). APM does shine a light on application availability, but it provides little insight into the granularity of transaction behavior - a critical piece of the visibility puzzle. It’s kind of like putting your child on the school bus in the morning and picking them up after school. You know the beginning and end of their travel, but you have no idea what they did all day.
Compounding this lack of visibility is the exponential growth in transaction volume and diversity. Every time someone downloads Angry Birds to their iPhone, or a credit card is swiped tableside by a waitress, we are creating another unique transaction. Realistically, we now have to track transactions from mobile device to mainframe, and do it blazingly fast, and secure, or risk losing the sell and customer.
New research from consulting firm KPMG predicts mobile payment transactions will almost double every year through 2015, topping $1 trillion in value. Gerry Penfold, a partner with KPMG Risk Consulting sums it up:
“…Battle lines will be drawn around issues such as security, infrastructure and interoperability of devices. For consumers, speed and security of payment will be the mark of success, but for technology and telecom companies, speed to market will be critical and how quickly they can respond will depend on the impact of regulation.”
Mobile is only one segment of e-commerce, but it is illustrative of the increasing need for agile solutions that provide transaction visibility across the boundaries between multiple service providers and consumers. Coupled with visibility is the need for policy and governance to secure information and ensure performance.
It may be my curious obsession now about the IRS, but it could be your concern tomorrow about a mobile transaction or maybe personal data inadvertently shared with a third party. Who cares about business transaction management? I think we all have a “dog in this hunt.” We are all impacted by the success of technology to solve these challenges.
Next generation SOA management solutions like Progress Actional are available now to address the challenges of business transaction management. What distinguishes Actional is its ability to streamline management of highly distributed environments, providing transaction tracking, Web services testing, and policy formulation and management, just to name a few...
Interested in more? Check out this Ovum Research Audit.
View all posts from Calvin Fudge on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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