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Operational Stability: solving the black box effect with customer engagement

Bram Keijers, 11 augustus 2021

Recently a customer escalated an integration issue in which was noted “I know that something goes wrong, but I do not know what or who can solve it and what the impact is on the daily operation”. The customer has had a black box experience: the integration tool viewed as too complex to understand and therefore it is perceived as unreliable. This hurts the confidence of the customer which in turn slow down adoption and innovation. Therefore it is important to prevent these experiences from happening. This is done by improving the operational stability of the integration domains. This blog will show how operational stability can be achieved and how the overall experience will benefit.

The blind spot of the black box effect

Wikipedia defines the black box effect as “a system which can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs (or transfer characteristics), without any knowledge of its internal workings”. Integration tools are often perceived as such by a customer. A system is sending data to the integration tool, something magical happens and out comes data or an exception. The initial reaction is to solve the technical issue, which is off course required to ensure correctness of data and continue the day-to-day operation. But when a solution is reached the process is ended under the assumption that everything is solved and the customer is happy. And that is exactly where the blind spot for the black box effect occurs: not picking up that the issue is not bothering the customer but the lack of insight, understanding and self-service is.

Operational stability puts the customer in control

The solution for overcoming the black box effect is to engage the customer to not only contribute to the functionality of the solution, but also invest in the maintainability and continuity of the integration domains. Let the customer decide how to overcome a functional data issue! Overcoming the black box effect is done by defining and updating a strategy per domain of integration. This strategy yields KPI’s which can be used to measure the confidence in each integrated domain. This results in the required transparency of the integrated solutions which raises the confidence of the customer. And this is exactly what we define to be operational stability!

So the main takeaways to achieve operational stability:

Our offering

At Acorel Technology our goal is to create healthy dataflows throughout your organization. We have developed a portfolio of monitoring tooling which help to achieve operational stability. Want to let the healthy data flow through your systems? Contact the A-team!

Bram Keijers

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