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Driving business transformation with workflow orchestration: A strategic imperative

By Harry Nicholson, Product Manager at Blue Turtle Technologies

Johannesburg, 09 Jul 2024
Harness the potential of workflow orchestration.
Harness the potential of workflow orchestration.

In competitive markets, stretched economies and where businesses have less disposable cash in the bottom line, organisations are under constant pressure to deliver services rapidly, efficiently and reliably. The heartbeat of this transformation is the orchestration of workflows – especially application and data workflows. At Blue Turtle, we understand workflow orchestration's critical role in streamlining operations and driving business innovation and resilience.

Application and data workflow orchestration involves the automated co-ordination and management of a series of steps that constitute a business service delivered by applications. This orchestration ensures that each step of a workflow, whether related to data processing or application tasks, is executed in the correct sequence and at the appropriate time – whether triggered by a specific event or scheduled time. The ultimate goal is guaranteeing business services' reliable and efficient delivery, enhancing operational visibility and improving service level agreements (SLAs) across hybrid and multicloud environments.

Complexity of modern workflows

What do we know? Modern businesses are inundated with data from myriad sources: transactional systems, IOT devices, applications and more. This data, which must be ingested, processed and analysed, often resides across various platforms, including on-premises systems and cloud environments. This complexity demands a robust orchestration solution that can seamlessly manage the flow of data and applications, ensuring that each step in the workflow is executed flawlessly and efficiently.

Enter Control-M, BMC’s powerful workflow orchestration platform. Control-M stands out by providing end-to-end visibility and management of complex workflows, integrating seamlessly across hybrid cloud environments and ensuring that business-critical applications and data processes are consistently delivered on time.

Real-world success story: Navistar’s predictive maintenance

To illustrate the transformative power of Control-M, let’s delve into the journey of Navistar, a leading manufacturer of commercial trucks and buses. Navistar faced a significant challenge: reducing vehicle downtime to enhance operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. They leveraged Control-M to orchestrate a sophisticated workflow that involved:

  • Data ingestion: Collecting telematics data from IOT sensors on vehicles.
  • Data processing: Transferring data to a Hadoop cluster for historical and operational data enrichment.
  • Predictive analytics: Running machine learning algorithms to predict potential failures.
  • Proactive maintenance: Co-ordinating service appointments and part replacements based on predictive insights.

Through this workflow, Navistar achieved a 40% reduction in vehicle downtime and accelerated its data processing capabilities by five times. This proactive approach not only minimised costly emergency repairs, but also enhanced the overall reliability of their fleet.

Streamlining operations across hybrid clouds and DevOps

Operating in a hybrid cloud environment has become essential for organisations seeking agility and scalability. Control-M stands out by providing seamless integration with major cloud providers such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, making it a powerful tool for modern enterprises.

Imagine an organisation swiftly setting up and configuring its workflow orchestration with minimal effort, leveraging the cloud's flexibility to automate provisioning processes. This is not just about ease of set-up; it's about optimising workflows by utilising cloud-native services to manage data and applications efficiently.

With Control-M, companies can orchestrate data pipelines that seamlessly move data from various sources to processing platforms like Apache Spark, Hadoop and Snowflake. This orchestration is critical for converting raw data into actionable intelligence, enabling businesses to make informed decisions swiftly. The reliability of Control-M ensures that service levels are consistently met, thanks to its robust monitoring, alerting and compliance features. This capability transforms how businesses handle their data, fostering an environment where operational efficiency and strategic agility are not just goals but everyday realities.

One of the key advantages of Control-M is its seamless integration into the DevOps toolchain. By adopting a jobs-as-code approach, workflows can be versioned, tested and deployed using REST APIs, JSON and Python. This integration fosters collaboration between developers and operations teams, ensuring that workflows are robust, scalable and aligned with business objectives. The result is faster development cycles, reduced errors and improved quality of service.

The strategic imperative – best practice workflows

Implementing application and data workflow orchestration is not merely a technical upgrade but a strategic imperative. The best practices for effective orchestration begin with using an as-code approach. Whether workflows are created through a graphical interface or coded directly, version control is mandatory to enable modern deployment pipelines. Storing and managing workflows in a text or code-like format ensures they are easily versioned and maintained.

Visibility into process relationships is also crucial. There are times when everything appears normal, but no processes are running. Having a clear view between a watcher or sensor waiting for an event and the downstream process that was not triggered because the event did not occur is invaluable. Managing workflows from a business perspective by codifying all service level agreements (SLAs) ensures that business priorities are always in focus.

Knowing who built the workflow, who ran it, if it was paused or killed and understanding the reasons behind any status changes provides comprehensive oversight and allows you to track every detail of workflow execution. Meticulous tracking, like that offered by Control-M, ensures that workflows run successfully, or if they fail, provides detailed information on when and why the failure occurred and how it was resolved.

Preparing for the worst is another critical best practice. Anticipating problems and collecting the necessary data to resolve them efficiently ensures that organisations are always ready to tackle any issues. Maintaining these records for a reasonable period based on industry or organisational standards ensures that past issues can inform future improvements.

Harness the potential of workflow orchestration

At Blue Turtle, we are committed to helping organisations harness the full potential of workflow orchestration. By leveraging Control-M, businesses can achieve operational excellence, drive innovation and stay ahead in a competitive landscape.