Delivering the Goods

I nearly forgot my wedding anniversary the other week, although in a limited act of self-defence, I confess that my attention had been taken by the football team I have the misfortune of supporting winning only their second game of the season. Usually, it is the players who take their eyes off the ball.

With less than 24 hours to put the anniversary situation right, I frantically began scouring the internet for my wife’s favourite brand of jewellery. Upon typing the name into the world’s favourite search engine, I was surprised (and secretly delighted) that one of the leading players on the World Wide Web was holding a sale of this particular brand.  Further investigation revealed that not only did they have the item that she had been fawning over for several months but it was currently half the recommended retail price.  Adding in a free trial of their optimum ordering and one-day delivery service meant that the precious stone could be in mine, and more importantly, my wife’s possession in time for the big event, as long as I completed the transaction within the next hour. Who would have thought that instant redemption was just two mouse-clicks away?

The next day, nothing arrived.

Frantic with worry, I checked the status of the order on the website in question. My worst fears were confirmed: No Tracking Information Available.  Over the hastily arranged meal that evening and frequently hiding behind an embarrassingly large bouquet of ‘apology’ flowers I tried to analyse what could have gone wrong. But in the end, I decided it was futile and determined not to lose anymore face with my beloved; I let the matter rest for the evening.

Sometimes, things just don’t go to plan. It happens in everyday life and even in the most robust IT systems.

For example, IBM WebSphere® MQ is used by major international companies across the globe to guarantee delivery of millions of data messages between devices across a broad range of operating platforms.  With such a high volume of data traffic passing though the various systems, it is not surprising that some messages may go astray or not reach their final destination. But what if the message that doesn’t arrive is the all-important message that triggers other dependencies upon successful delivery?

With the huge investment that companies make in this software and the dependence on which many rely to complete their day-to-day business, leaving anything to chance would appear to be a risky strategy to adopt, especially when an automated monitoring solution is readily available.

Halcyon’s new MQ Manager allows you to monitor the seven key elements of the IBM WebSphere MQ product; MQ Queue Managers, MQ Listeners, MQ Channels, MQ Queues, MQ Services, MQ Cluster Manager Status and MQ Events, so you can be promptly notified of any issues affecting message delivery, allowing you to take corrective action, in most cases automatically, before it impacts the business, potentially costing you time and money.

Now, I have a loving and trusting relationship with my wife and she accepts, albeit grudgingly sometimes, that things can go wrong and the best laid plans can fall over.  The relationship with my boss is somewhat different. Time is money, failure is not an option and perception is reality. Therefore, I expend a large amount of my time and energy in ensuring everything is running smoothly to maintain the status quo.  My working day would be so much easier if I could automate the mundane tasks and set automatic actions to keep my systems (and my family life) running smoothly.

I suspect that this scenario is familiar with many among you that are reading this. Sometimes, you just need an extra pair of eyes and hands to watch out for the small detail (such as important data messages or impending anniversaries), to assist you while you are otherwise engaged and ensure that the goods are delivered to the right place at the right time.

By the way, the wedding anniversary gift arrived the next day. In my rush to complete the order, I’d completed the delivery address details with my home address but with the zip code for my workplace, hence the non-availability of tracking data.  I have now rectified this with my own automatic response; the addition of automated form completion in my browser.