Getting Our Batch Priorities Straight

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In our busy lives, we’ve all had to learn how to set priorities. For most, work and family vie as our most important “workloads,” constantly competing for limited resources. If we only had an assistant that would help maximize our time, we might find more bandwidth for fun. As the master controller of our lives, we choose how to manage our personal time. We set priorities as we wish. When it comes to work, however, things are different.

At work, we are given two priority queues to manage. The first is the work our managers give us, generally more than an efficient sysprog can manage in a day. The second is the priority they set to the various business workloads. A good part of our job is managing those priorities and delivering on expectations. We struggle to meet SLAs that seem to be plucked from the wishing tree. We spend too much time trying to balance competing priorities that don’t always make sense, even from a business standpoint.

At one shop, the team was told that the payroll batch for upper management was the highest priority. Many other shops consider most production work to be top priority, which, practically speaking, means that all work will wait at the same speed. It’s a real challenge to align these priorities.

Identifying the Priorities

As users of online systems, most of us understand that, in most cases, online work is far more critical than batch. We also know that delays in batch may impact online data; and, the system may not update records in as timely a manner as we might wish. And yet, we can’t ignore batch either. But when users are screaming and you’re trying to find a quiet place to think through solutions to a performance problem, it’s easy to let batch issues go for weeks, even months.

And for a while, you might even get away with that. But when batch is delayed, especially with due-out times consistently later than the SLA, you will find your feet held to the fire. That’s the downside of a performance analyst job. When performance is good, you get no credit—the system just works. When it’s bad, it’s on you.

The Assistant You Always Wanted

But what if you could have an assistant whose only job was to help you manage batch? What if that assistant was willing to work 24/7 and was also an expert on the mainframe? Would that help you regain control of your life?

It turns out there is such an assistant and the good news is that this assistant doesn’t expect a large salary, great benefits or even vacation days. But it does mean approaching your management for some software budget money. Compuware ThruPut Manager can seamlessly help you deliver on SLAs, while you focus on OLTP work. The product helps you understand what’s going on with your batch, while managing it. So, when there is something that needs your attention, you’ll generally have a heads-up before the phone starts ringing.

We could all use more time in our lives and a valuable personal assistant can go a long way to helping us get our priorities straight and feel in control of our lives. Check out these features and see if this doesn’t make you smile.

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Chief Innovator, Denise P. Kalm began her career in biochemical genetics (M.S. University of Michigan). She went on to have a career in IT, beginning with programming, moving to performance and capacity planning and then to work for vendors. Her experience as a performance analyst/capacity planner, software consultant, and then marketing maven at various software companies grounds her work providing contract writing, editing, marketing and speaking services. She is a frequently published author in both the IT world and outside. Kalm is a requested speaker at such venues as SHARE, CMG and ITFMA and has enhanced her skills through Toastmasters where she has earned her ACG/ALB. She is also a personal coach at DPK Coaching.