Application fault management

Say It Ain’t So, Joe: How Poor Visibility Hurts Application Fault Management

“Say it ain’t so, Joe,” the Chicago Daily News headline read in September of 1920. Joe Jackson, the all-star batter for the Chicago White Sox, and seven of his teammates had been accused of throwing the 1919 World Series in exchange for $5,000 each.

Although a Chicago jury acquitted Jackson and his accomplices a year later, MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned them from baseball for life, calcifying Jackson’s reputation as an outstanding batter demoralized by the almighty dollar, despite signs pointing toward his innocence.

For the remainder of Jackson’s life, supporters proclaimed his innocence and decried the allegations barring him from eligibility for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1999, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for Jackson to be given distinction and be made eligible, but even an appeal from the federal government couldn’t convince the MLB to dust off home plate for Jackson.

In 2015, the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum tried again. But Commissioner Rob Manfred concluded, “It is not possible now, over 95 years since those events took place and were considered by Commissioner Landis, to be certain enough of the truth to overrule Commissioner Landis’ determinations,” according to ESPN.

That’s despite Jackson’s original claim that his teammates foisted $5,000 onto him when he refused to participate in the fix; despite his approaching White Sox owner Charles Comiskey about the issue, only to be ignored; and despite White Sox attorney Alfred Austrian allegedly convincing the illiterate Jackson to sign papers stating his involvement, moreover after Jackson had a few drinks. But most importantly, that’s despite Jackson’s teammates admitting he wasn’t involved in the fix decades earlier.

Unfortunately, by now an official resurrection of Jackson’s reputation is unlikely. A series of cover-ups have too far obscured the picture of what may have truly happened, and Jackson will continue to bear his portion of a burden that likely never should have been his.

Another Tale of Poor Visibility: Application Fault Management

Regardless of what evidence there may be in support of Jackson’s innocence, the case is one of poor visibility, on the legal system’s part as well as the MLB’s. It’s a great example of how important it is to delve deeper into a situation to discover the truth about something before it becomes an overlooked and unsolved mystery.

Similar to Jackson’s story of poor visibility, we’re starting to see that enterprises lack deep enough visibility into the application fault management process. Enterprises seem to only see the story directly in front of them. They end up missing the deeper truth that excessive abends are occurring, as well as for what reasons they are.

This is based on data collected across Compuware’s client database using its Value Improvement Program (VIP), an exclusive evidence-based customer service program designed to help qualify, quantify and increase the value customers derive from Compuware’s solutions.

We could debate why this is happening. We know that the digital economy is putting greater emphasis on the mainframe system of record. We also know that less experienced developers are taking the place of seasoned veterans.

While it’s important to understand why this is happening, there are other significant questions organizations need to start taking seriously:

  • Are the number of abends occurring across the mainframe slowly becoming the invisible poison of application development throughput?
  • Are these events impacting application performance?
  • Has it become common practice to overlook certain types of abends especially those in test?
  • How much unplanned work is this causing, putting additional stress on the organization?
  • Are these problems impacting the delivery timeline of a project and does project management know why?
  • Are these abends making it difficult for organizations to manage risk & meet their service level agreements (SLAs)?
  • Could offshore development and the lack of impact analysis testing be the next big organizational constraint?

The cross-enterprise accumulation of abends isn’t a trivial occurrence—these are the silent killers of applications. As such, organizations are in dire need of an application fault management solution that provides deeper visibility into why this issue is occurring. The longer organizations wait, the harder it will become to resolve issues keeping applications from performing up to par with expected service levels.

Improving Application Fault Management with Deeper Visibility

We’ve all seen companies make front-page news like “Shoeless” Joe Jackson when what appeared to be a simple code change caused disastrous results. Based on our data, it appears in order to meet the demands of security, many simple code changes go into production prematurely. It’s likely a large number of the computer “glitches” we hear about today are actually application problems caused by poor visibility into application fault management.

This lack of visibility, as with other problems occurring in mainframe development, points towards the truth that mainframe software companies need to provide innovative tools to help mainframe developers improve daily tasks, regardless of skill level. To further enhance development, testing and maintenance of mainframe applications, these tools must both be easy-to-use and integrate with open source technologies from across the DevOps community.

One would think most vendors offer an innovative business intelligence solution designed to provide customers with deep visibility into why problems are occurring at points in the software development life cycle. Unfortunately, too many mainframe software companies have become maintenance-milking, product-stabilizing vendors unwilling to innovate mainframe tools for their customers (although we do know of one doing the opposite).

As a North American Managing Director responsible for the delivery of Compuware’s VIP, I often hear our customers say, “No other vendor provides this type of service, especially at no cost.”

Unfortunately, Joe Jackson’s reputation is mired in nearly a century of poor visibility. The farther away this controversial story moves from its origin, the harder it becomes to find the truth based on facts. With Compuware’s VIP, enterprises can avoid being blindsided by application failures while getting a clear picture of what’s truly happening in their environments.

To learn how Compuware’s Value Improvement Program can help your organization enhance your fault analytic solution, Visit compuware.com/vip for more information or contact me directly, Jim.Seronka@Compuware.com

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Jim Seronka

Jim Seronka is North American Director for Client Management at Compuware. He manages the team of field account consultants responsible for customers’ success with Compuware products. He has worked in IT for 21 years, 16 of which have been at Compuware. He enjoys spending time with his family and being on the water.
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