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Published October 18, 2018

Business Transaction Management vs. Business Transaction Performance

transaction tracking

BTM or Business Transaction Management vs. Business Transaction Performance – two terms aimed to describe the current state of the affairs in what Gartner calls Transaction Profiling.


Ever since I came across the term BTM I questioned whether the term actually reflects what vendors do in this space. The word “management” implies a bi-directional relationship between the manager and the entity being managed.


In the world of Application Performance Management the term management implies “measure, monitor, administer, control, plan, automate, improve”.


If anything the BTM should be redefined as Business Transaction Performance Management or BTPM. Transaction Profiling (Gartner’s definition) while more accurate implies a specific implementation of how performance is actually accomplished – “profiling”. One can envision measuring transaction performance without actually doing any profiling.


It seems that profiling is an implementation construct and as such should be avoided when naming a broad discipline such as this. In fact BTM, as defined, is really a derivative of Business Process Management rather than an Application Performance Management discipline.


The term BTM actually confuses the market place. What part of “management” is actually being done by the vendors in the space? Most if not all vendor in this space measure performance and report. Any proactive involvement in the transaction lifecycle itself is minimal or not practical in most cases.


How practical is it to define application and business logic within a transaction “management” tool? And even if it were feasible wouldn’t it be better to do this in the BPM orchestration layer?


Managing transaction lifecycle is already defined by the Business Process Management discipline and as such belongs in the BPM space. Today’s transactions are orchestrated and therefore managed by widely known BPM tools from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others.


So either BTM is part of BPM, rather than APM and if this is true do we really need another term to describe the same thing? or BTM simply is all about performance and therefore “management” should be dropped from the acronym.


No matter what we call things, it is important to understand what these things actually are in reality. BTM, no matter what vendors say focus on performance and measurement. Any active involvement in the transaction lifecycle, while possible, in many cases is impractical and in most is not desirable for many reasons.


So BTM is really about performance, and in my view BTP (Business Transaction Performance) or BTPM (Business Transaction Performance Management) are more appropriate.


Keeping terms honest is important and benefits the end user. Why? because we are already awash in so many terms, abbreviations, acronyms, technologies, products and vendors with “super-natural abilities”.


What we need is simplicity and clarity rather than ambiguity and complexity.