Just because they were not aware of the lost orders that were occurring, did not mean that they weren't losing orders. This large retailer learned a valuable lesson despite losing millions of dollars in orders.
Many companies are in the same position as this retailer. The have complex applications that are the result of several years of integration. New applications, while tested, are not fully understood or instrumented to provide the level of detail needed to uncover these issues before they impact the customers and company revenue. Like this retailer, they believe that everything is running fine, but may be unaware of problems lurking in the background.
The Business Issue:
When a large industry leading retailer began receiving reports of lost customer orders, they did not initially believe the reports. Was it possible that hundreds of orders from large commercial customers were simply disappearing? They did not believe so and initially assumed these customers were simply submitting the orders incorrectly. However, as the number and size of the orders continued to increase, they had no choice but to accept that the problem may be within their systems.
As with many retailers today, their ordering system was a composite of a variety of legacy applications and included both in-house and 3rd party developed components. Several weeks went by as they began tracking order flow through the systems. Eventually a 3rd party application was found that appeared to be the cause. However, it took several iterations with the supplier to determine that it was possible during peak activity for the application to discard messages it could not process. It didn't matter that some of these orders discarded were for millions of dollars of equipment. Apparently this application assumed that the order could simply be resubmitted if not processed. Unfortunately, for this retailer some customers chose to submit their orders to another supplier that was more reliable.
The Technology Solution:
As a result of these issues, this retailer installed AutoPilot M6 and AutoPilot for WebSphere MQ. Nastel AutoPilot solutions directly improve their availability. AutoPilot M6 provides insight when the problem was occurring. AutoPilot is configured to alert them if this or similar problem happen again. Most importantly, AutoPilot provides proactive application management to minimize the opportunity for the problem to occur at all.
With AutoPilot installed, this customer is able to monitor their applications proactively and prevent problems such as the one above from occurring. This means that customer orders are processed and not lost. And their CIO sleeps much better at night.