While working on a configuration management project, we were challenged with defining what a business application was. A company was hired to set up monitoring to evaluate the health of a business application. In order to do this, they had to monitor all configuration items used by the business application. Since the contract was based on number business applications monitored, we needed to have a definition for a business application. So how can a business application be objectively defined?
The first realization is to understand that tools like MicroSoft Office are not business applications. They are tools completely business agnostic. These tools do not automate a particular business function but tools to automate tasks previously done manually.
So what is a business application? A business application is generally referred to in the abstract such as ‘claim payment system’ does not refer to anything executing in the environment. To properly evaluate the health of the business application, all supporting configuration items need to be evaluated.
A business application was defined as . . .
A business application is defined as the collection of software services and hardware used to automate a specific business task or function. Business application is an abstract concept with a commonly referenced name to facilitate management from both a financial and utilization perspective. Typically a business application will automate entire business processes such as finance, customer relationship management or manufacturing to accelerate business. An application can traverse multiple tiers of the technology services such as application instances, web instances, database instances and servers. Each application consists of software components ‘running’ on hardware. These software and hardware components are those items in the environment that can be uniquely identified and monitored.