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Using business workflows in Splunk APM


As an engineering manager of a highly complex cloud environment, you need to know how the microservices behind each of your applications affect your KPIs. You want to group together different microservices that compose important business transactions, and track them holistically.


A Business Workflow is the start-to-finish journey of the collection of traces associated with a given activity or transaction. It enables monitoring of end-to-end KPIs and identifying root causes and bottlenecks. It provides a way to easily group relevant traces based on:

  • their initiating operation
  • any other tag/endpoint on a downstream service

Some business workflows are provided out of the box based on initiating operation. However, only a Splunk Observability Cloud admin can configure or add a business workflow.

Use Cases

Business executives and engineering executives might use Business Workflows in Splunk Application Performance Monitoring to:

  • Monitor end-to-end rate, error, and duration (RED) metrics for most critical transactions
  • Ensure the organization is meeting associated KPIs, such as
    • What is the 90th percentile of the logins duration?
    • What percentage of checkout requests return an error?

Site reliability engineers and service owners might use Business Workflows in Splunk Application Performance Monitoring to:

  • Troubleshoot an issue
  • Narrow down context to only services involved in the transaction of interest. For example:
    • Which downstream service is responsible for increased response of the API class?
    • Are the errors in the Login service only happening for API calls from the homepage?

Finally, in systems where many traces have the same initiating operations, for example because there is a gateway in place, you might want to extract the Business Workflow name from a service other than the initiating operation.


The Splunk Application Performance Monitoring overview page shows the Top Business Workflows (90th percentile) by requests, error rate, and duration. You can get more information by selecting the Business Workflows tab. There you can:

  • View workflows sorted by decreasing/increasing latency or decreasing/increasing requests and errors
  • See the behavior for a workflow over a past time period
  • Filter the dashboard to view workflows for a particular environment

Next steps

If you found this article useful and want to advance your skills, Splunk Education offers a 4.5-hour, instructor-led course on Using Splunk Application Performance Monitoring. The hands-on labs in the course will teach you how to:

  • Identify the key elements of Splunk Application Performance Monitoring
  • Differentiate between metrics, traces and logs
  • Navigate the Splunk Application Performance Monitoring pages
  • Create detectors to alert on Splunk Application Performance Monitoring metrics
  • Create custom dashboards
  • Troubleshoot an issue after an alert triggers

Click here for the course catalog where you can read the details about this and other Splunk Application Performance Monitoring courses, as well as register.