Blog | Jan 2, 2013

Applications Monitoring – Creating a Smoother Financial Close

One of the key points in supporting our customers is to make sure they have a smooth month end close process.  Many of our customers have, in the past, identified issues that have caused them to have a longer than expected close process.  Many times the issues causing these delays are not visible, but are hidden behind the scenes.  We have put an applications monitoring process in place that helps to identify these hidden problems and allows us to be proactive in resolving them before the customer sees them.

So, what is this application monitoring all about?

Applications monitoring are scripts that have been developed that can be scheduled to run nightly in our customers’ production environment to identify hidden problems.  These scripts monitor the standard Oracle transactional interfaces and workflows and create a report that is emailed to a pre-defined distribution group for review.  On a nightly basis, these reports are reviewed and, if issues exist, our applications support team begins working on them.

These scripts are non-invasive and provide the following benefits:

-          Proactive problem resolution

-          Smoother and more timely period close process

-          Saves band width in our support group by being proactive

-          Helps prevent ‘spikes’ in ticket creation and reduce the number of ‘critical’ issues during period close

-          Creates a better working experience for the business users

Real Life Example:  Below is a real life example of how TriCore was able to help our customer improve their period close process by leveraging applications monitoring with our functional support.

Client: Manufacturing Company

Challenge: Significant problem with uncosted transactions. The uncosted transactions issues would prevent a period close and were transparent to the business users on a day to day operation.  This was causing them to not being able to close their fiscal period for months and they would have upwards of 6-8 inventory periods open.

Solution: When TriCore became involved, we not only were able to help them clean up those past inventory periods so they could be closed, but our applications monitoring allowed us to identify these uncosted transactions nightly.

Value: In a very short time, the customer went from having up to 8 periods open at a time to being able to close each period on time and even improve their period close cycle to just a few days.

What does the report look like?

Here is a small sampling of our report.  We break the report into three main categories:  Resolution Required, Workflow issues and Resolution Recommended.

Applications Monitoring Resolution Required Report

Applications Monitoring Resolution Recommended Report

How do we use the information?

We not only use the information from the report to identify and resolve existing issues, but we also use the applications monitoring process to build a repository of ‘solutions’ that can be leveraged, not only with that particular customer, but across all of our customers.  We also discuss the resolution process with our customer to identify potential patching requirements, process change recommendations, etc.

Customer Specific Monitoring

Along with our standard monitoring, we work with our customers to identify custom monitoring that can be developed to better support their production environment.  Below is a real life example of one that we put together for an existing customer.

Client: Manufacturing Company

Challenge: Being a true 24X7 manufacturing company where it is imperative that their ASCP plan runs and completes on time, otherwise work is not getting released on time and production is compromised

Solution: Working together we created a monitoring script and SOP. The script runs to look for errors in the program and to make sure it is running.  If any issue is identified, an email notification is sent to the TriCore support team and a critical ticket is automatically created in our ticketing system.  That ticket references a knowledge base article that contains the SOP for trouble shooting and resolving the issue.

Value: Less downtime due to errors and more efficient issue tracking.

By utilizing applications monitoring, Organizations can be pro-active in issue resolutions. This will help prevent spikes in issues during the period-close and enable smoother and more timely period-close. This will also help them to identify the breakdowns in business processes and design potential process improvements in different functional areas.