As we approach the launch date of Atomic Scope, I thought of sharing some insights on how we got into developing this product. Before I jump into the details, let me give a quick introduction about myself and the product purpose.
I’ve been in the software industry for 18+ years and my experience revolves around Microsoft technologies. I started my career with Aditi Technologies and was fortunate to be part of the Microsoft business unit. I got opportunity to work with several Microsoft product groups including Office, Windows and BizTalk Server. My journey with integration started while working on BizTalk Accelerator for RosettaNet in 2002. Few months later I moved to Redmond and co-developed the first version of BizTalk Business Rules Composer, that shipped in BizTalk Server 2004.
In 2006 I joined Microsoft IT where I worked on several integration solutions for Microsoft Integration team. My role involved not just creating solutions using BizTalk but also the surrounding system like tracking, monitoring, automation for build and deployment, etc. I led the engineering team responsible to move entire B2B integration from legacy software to BizTalk Server. We did several migrations from BizTalk Server 2006 R2 to the latest versions as Microsoft continues to invest in the product.
Around 2014, we adopted Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services (MABS) which eventually led us to Azure Logic Apps. In my last role at Microsoft, I was leading the engineering team who co-developed the B2B integration capabilities along with Azure Logic Apps product group. Several key features in the Enterprise Integration Pack (EIP) that the team shipped in Dec 2016 were result of collaboration between Microsoft IT and the Logic Apps product team.
About Atomic Scope
Atomic Scope is built with the mission to fill the void we have in the market to track and monitor end-to-end functional business processes implemented using Microsoft BizTalk server and Azure Integration technologies like Logic Apps. The product caters to scenarios where enterprises might have their implementation on BizTalk server, or Azure Logic Apps or mix of both in hybrid integration scenarios. The product ships with a bunch of ready to use components like BizTalk Pipeline Components, .NET SDK, and Azure Functions exposed as Logic Apps Custom Connectors. Once the components are placed inside the processing pipeline, you get rich capabilities to enable tracking of messages and business properties at run-time and great visualization with a modern front-end web user interface.
For more details on the product features, how it works and trial, please visit the website.
The Product Journey
For me, the journey to create a product like Atomic Scope started around summer of 2016. In my role as Engineering lead for Microsoft Integration team (now called Core Services Engineering), our group was responsible for creating integration solutions to enable business process integration across various groups within Microsoft and with external organizations. I won’t go into details but our software solutions were processing several billion dollars of transactions including payroll, supply chain, volume licensing to name a few. You can get more insight into integration solutions in Microsoft IT here.
During the past several years, the team also created few tracking applications to provide visibility to business transactions flowing through the integration platform. The primary persona for these applications were the service engineering team who is responsible to support thousands of business transactions processing millions of messages per month. Secondary persona for these applications were IT business users who wanted to know if their business transactions are getting processed as expected. Most of these applications started as side project with 1-2 people working on it to provide tracking visibility but over few months, the team size grew to full feature crew (6-8 members).
All the solutions we built were providing visibility into processing happening on the integration platform, but not to the extent that business needed. The configuration was almost design time, till we got metadata feature implemented in Integration Account for B2B integration on Logic Apps. Any new message property required updating code or config file by developer and non-functional requirements on how to present the data, what actions can someone take on it, etc. were never ending. Soon we had a dedicated feature crew to work on tracking solutions for last couple of years.
By the time we were building 3rd such application, first one for BizTalk, next for Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services (MABS) and finally for Azure Logic Apps, I start sensing that there’s an opportunity to create a product around end-to-end tracking. If Microsoft IT needed such solution, I could imagine other enterprises requiring similar tracking solution and not many could afford to create one by themselves.
Our group was already using BizTalk360 for monitoring BizTalk infrastructure and with Azure Logic Apps monitoring feature addition to the product, I knew that we need to be quick to build tracking product before Saravana and his team creates one. Little did I know that time I’d join hands with Saravana and his team to build the product together.
I shared my ideas with few of my team members and with product group members about creating a true end-to-end business tracking product that will compliment BizTalk360. But soon I realized that Azure Logic Apps product team would not build the product as the implementation of business processes is very specific to organizations and would deviate them from creating product features to enable new integration scenarios.
This is very similar to BizTalk product which provides a framework to track activities without getting into actual implementation. Moreover, creating generic tracking and monitoring solution requires deeper understanding of business processes implementations across thousands of integration solutions, which is not feasible for product group.
This is when I reached out to Saravana to see if his team is interested in building a true end-to-end business functional tracking and monitoring platform. I was sure that just like Microsoft, other BizTalk 360 customers would need such generic product instead of creating own custom solutions. And as I expected, Saravana already had a small team doing feasibility study to build the product which you see now as Atomic Scope. Srinivasa Mahendrakar, who has about 12+ years of industry experience with integration at various enterprises, conceptualized the same ideas as I had, and was leading the product feasibility, talking to various customers, understanding the need and building prototypes to prove that a generic product can be created around business process monitoring.
Saravana offered me a role to partner with Srinivasa, bringing in business scenarios from my experience at Microsoft combining with requirements his team has heard from hundreds of their customers. The core team that started 6 months back comprised of Saravana, who needs no introduction in the Integration community and led the overall design architecture, Srinivasa, who brought in industry experience on integration, our in-house experts with UI/UX technologies like Angular and myself with several years’ experience of creating large scale enterprise products and services. Together we created a product that I truly believe will help enterprises with their functional tracking and monitoring needs. The team that created the product together has about 45+ years of experience in integration, working in different domains and implementing solutions to meet business needs.
What started as competitive idea in summer of 2016 ended up as collaboration work between Saravana, his team and me. I’m very positive on the prospects of Atomic Scope being used by all enterprises that have created integration solutions on top of BizTalk server and Azure Logic Apps.
I encourage you all to try the product. There is a 30-days trial license that you can download from here. We also provide demo of the product to give a quick preview of the product and help you get started. You can also request a demo by simply filling the form on the product portal.