Tracking integrated business and service transactions across multiple IT systems is important in today’s fast-moving business climate. Being able to track them across two major IT companies (Dell and EMC) that recently merged to form Dell Technologies, one of the largest technology companies in the world, is absolutely vital.
That’s why Dell IT’s recent launch of a visualization tool that lets our business and IT teams use Dell technology to monitor transactions on a single dashboard is a critical step in the EMC/Dell integration.
It is called the Enterprise Integration and Services Business Monitoring Portal (EISBMP), a system that combines cutting-edge Dell technology solutions to bring together all integrated transaction data into a single view where business and support people can see transactions across multiple systems in a comprehensive dashboard.
Accessed via single sign on, the EISBMP has allowed us to consolidate more than 15 different tracking applications into one. It also lets us showcase our Pivotal platform and a range of other technologies across the powerful Dell portfolio that, combined with open-source apps, create this cloud native application.
The first phase of this project, which tracks legacy EMC transactions and serves internal IT customers, was launched in May and currently handles 20 million transactions a day. We plan to extend the portal to include legacy Dell over the next three to four quarters, expanding that volume to 120 million per day as our dashboard expands companywide. We also plan to open the EISBMP to our channel partners to allow business-to-business dashboard access in the near future.
The need for a single view
Like most growing organizations, EMC and Dell had amassed an array of systems and apps used to monitor transactions and support requests across various data bases. Our business and support users would have to check multiple locations to track a transaction from one phase to the next across our organization.
For example, prior to EISBMP, IT might get a call from a sales representative asking for insights into what is happening with a given sales order. Maybe they already confirmed the transaction data had been processed from the SAP database but didn’t know if it ever reached the third-party order fulfillment system we use to ensure our transactions conform to trade compliance regulations. Or they may be looking for its status in Salesforce.com, a third-party customer relationship management app we use.
There was no good portal that gave sales reps insight into what was happening with a given customer order to keep track of its movement across the many systems and tools.
With EISBMP, sales reps, as well as numerous other business users and support providers, can enter the transaction number to see where their customer order is within the business lifecycle.
Our new centralized dashboard tracks transactions for some 1,500 to 1,600 services that we support. And we expect to support another 3,500 services in the near future.
Bringing it all together
When EMC and Dell merged a year ago, the array of systems and platforms on which we processed business and support transactions became even more complex than the already complicated network of processes each individual company was grappling with.
Around that time, our Cloud Native Interactions (CNI) team, part of Dell IT’s Enterprise Integration Services, took on the job of creating a system that would integrate the various data sources and consolidate the various tools for the legacy EMC network.
Our task was to create a framework that would allow our various systems to work together, to connect to each other and exchange data and messages. The goal was to bring everything together in one dashboard.
We began by collaborating with business and support users to understand their needs and planning the high-level architecture we would need to build such capabilities. We then analyzed the kind of tools and technologies we would need to make it work.
My team decided to use Pivotal Spring Framework to build our portal. Not only did using Spring Framework fit into our practice of using our own technology, but it also provided an open-source product that is easy to use and offers standardization.
Technologies we chose include our own Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Pivotal Gemfire, Spring Boot and Spring Cloud Microservices.
The result is a single dashboard that is customizable and offers better insights into our integrated transaction data, which is also easily maintained. Users can search for transactions faster and see their status all in one place. Replacing 15+ apps with just ONE has resulted in significant cost and resource savings.
We are now working on completing the domain requirement to let our business partners access the EISBMP on a business-to-business basis. We are also working to extend the portal to integrate legacy Dell transaction data so that the dashboard will track transactions across the combined company. And eventually, we will offer mobile capabilities so that team members in the field can tap into such real time tracking information.
Overall, our new tool is enabling business and support teams to stay on top of their day-to-day transactions, track and address issues as they arise, analyze companywide metrics and leverage data to improve their performance and stay ahead of industry trends.