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gav (2710)

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Hacker in NYC.

Journal of gav (2710)

Wednesday June 27, 2007
11:51 PM

Business Activity Monitoring

[ #33621 ]

Business Activity Monitoring is a fancy term for writing rules that look for problems in the systems that run your business and sending people messages messages to (hopefully) fix them.

It's something I've been working on for the last year, and it's something that's helped fix a lot of things that we were making mistakes with in the day-to-day running of the business. We have a system that runs a SQL query, takes out any rows it's seen before, then if there's any left feed it through a template and send an email.

It's allowed me to take every mistake that we've found in the way that we entered data into the system, or processes, and turn it into a rule that will catch it next time. This is something I've always been keen on, every time you catch a mistake it's a positive thing. Computers can have fun checking thousands of updated records every day, and humans can do more useful things with their time, or more importantly, grow the business without having to hire more people.

It's interesting to me as I never really worked with business systems before. Almost all my previous focus was in a very narrow part of the business, trying to make websites that made it easy for customers to place orders, and then giving that order to somebody and letting it be their problem. Now I get to think about purchase orders, tracking numbers, inventory counts, profit margins, etc, things that were somebody else's problem.

One of the things I've learnt about reporting is that if you can't be lazy then there isn't any point. Our accounting package has a whole bunch of useful reports, but they rely on somebody running them. Most of the checks I've added could have written a simple script to handle, but I can just copy and paste a SQL query into the tools GUI, check off the recipients, pick a schedule from a drop down list, and be done in a couple of minutes.

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