Docs » Overview of Business Workflows » Configuring Business Workflows

Configuring Business Workflows πŸ”—

Business Workflow configuration groups existing logically-related traces according to criteria you apply, creating Monitoring and Troubleshooting MetricSets for those traces so that you can monitor performance indicators on transactions using dashboards and alerts. Business Workflow configuration also lets you filter your troubleshooting view to display only the end-to-end transactions you identify as relevant to your analysis.

Configuration parameters apply to traces that you identify and group together according to their common initiating operation or another point in their trace path, so that you can see end-to-end duration, error rate, and so on.

If you are an administrator, you can configure new Business Workflows yourself. Otherwise, you can contact your system admin to configure new Business Workflows.

Configuration overview πŸ”—

To configure Business Workflows, you need administrator privileges. Broadly speaking, configuration is a six-step process performed when you are logged in to Splunk APM:

  1. Open the APM Business Workflow Configuration page
  2. Decide which of the following you want to do:
    • Create a new workflow rule
    • Modify an existing workflow rule
  3. Configure a business workflow
  4. Enable the created or changed workflow rule
  5. Save your changes to the workflow rule set

To help with configuration, initiating operation rules are available to you by default. Splunk APM also includes pre-built dashboards.

Business Workflow configuration steps πŸ”—

As an admin, perform the following steps:

  1. Log in to Splunk APM
  2. From the Organization Settings menu or the navigation panel displayed on admin dashboards, select APM Business Workflows
  3. Do either of the following:
    • To create a new workflow rule, click New Rule
    • To revise an existing workflow rule, click on the rule you want to change and select the edit button for it.

Deciding how to name Business Workflows πŸ”—

Business Workflow rules use span tags to make trace behavior in transaction processing explicit and transparent.

In this context, rules can be as follows:

  • Service rules examine traces to see whether a specific service such as authentication occurs in those traces. If a match is found, you can create a Business Workflow using the first span of the matching service or the specific indexed tag in the service.
  • Global Tag rules examine traces looking for globally-scoped tags such as tenant class or application ID. Tags of this kind have a single value (such as transaction_desc) across the entire trace. When a trace includes the specified global tag, the value of that tag is used as the Business Workflow name.


The Business Workflow configuration page includes the following system-generated rule by default: β€œAll traces will be associated with workflows that are identified by the initiating operations of those traces.” This is the only default rule. While you cannot edit the default rule, you may optionally disable it.

When to keep or disable the default rule πŸ”—

If the initiating operation of a trace is granular enough to capture meaningful workflows, as for example with API calls, then the default rule is useful because it groups related traces by their initiating operation, which is different from other initiating operations.

In systems where many traces have the same initiating operations, as for example because there is a gateway in place, then you may want to extract the Business Workflow name from a service other than the initiating operation. In this case, you can use either the service: endpoint or service name for a Business Workflow.

Configuring a new Business Workflow rule πŸ”—

To configure a new rule from Splunk APM, do the following:

  1. In the APM Business Workflows page, select New Rule.

  2. In the rule configuration modal window, use the Rule Type dropdown to select one of the following:

    • Service
    • Global Tag
  3. In the parameters section of the same modal, use the Target Service dropdown to select a service from among those listed, or start entering the first part of a service name so that auto-complete in the combo box can identify your service choice.

  4. In the Source of Workflow Name dropdown, select one of the following options:

    • Matched service:endpoint

      The service name and the endpoint name from the first service span (initiating operation) are added together to create the workflow name. This is the default option. You can disable it if desired, but you cannot move or remove it.

    • Tag value

      The value of a selected tag on the matched service span is also used as the workflow name.

  5. Review the summary statement of the rule displayed dynamically in the modal window.

  6. Click Save to record your choices.

  7. In the APM Business Workflow Configuration page, select the new rule from the list of rules.

  8. Click the toggle switch next to the rule name to enable that rule.

  9. In the row of action buttons at the top of the list of rules, click Save Changes (or, alternatively, Discard Changes).

If you choose to discard your changes, a modal window prompts you to confirm the discard directive.


There is a difference between enabling a rule and applying it. The enable/disable toggle affects an individual rule by turning it on or off. After you modify one or more rules, you then use buttons that act on the entire rule set to save or discard those changes. Changes are not applied unless you save them.

Rule protocol for Business Workflows πŸ”—

To reduce the likelihood of partial rule changes generating unexpected results, changes to rules are accumulated throughout a single computing session and applied all together when you click Apply Changes. Change encompasses all of the following:

  • Creating rules
  • Editing rules
  • Deleting or disabling rules

The Business Workflow configuration UI displays rules numbered in continuous sequence 1 to n, regardless of whether those rules are enabled or disabled. Because each trace belongs to only one workflow rule, priority matters. When multiple rules could apply to the same trace, that trace is matched to the highest priority rule.

  • The practical limit on the number of rules you can have is 99.
  • You can enable or disable a rule using its toggle switch without affecting the content of the rule.
  • Using the directional arrows in the UI to move a rule up or down in the list changes the rule priority relative to other rules. Rules at the beginning of the list have higher priority than rules at the end of the list.
  • After you apply or discard changes, the buttons to Apply Changes and Discard Changes are disabled. This is their default state until you introduce a change.
  • For the service:endpoint naming rule, if a trace contains multiple endpoints of the service, the earliest service: endpoint span is used for the workflow name.
  • For the service, tag naming rule, if the service appears in multiple spans within a trace with various values of the selected tag, the earliest occurrence is used for the workflow name.

Sample Business Workflow configuration πŸ”—

Suppose you want all of the traces that go through to be identified for analytical purposes as a Business Workflow. To make that happen, you would do the following:

  1. Log in to Splunk APM.
  2. From the Organization Settings menu or the navigation panel, click APM Business Workflows.
  3. In the APM Business Workflows page, click New Rule.
  4. In the Rule Type dropdown of the configuration modal, click Service.
  5. Click the Target Service dropdown to select from the list displayed there, or enter in the combo box for Target Service.
  6. Glance at the :menuselection: Source of Workflow Name dropdown to verify that the default option Matched service: endpoint is displayed.
  7. Click Apply.
  8. Use the toggle switch next to the new rule name to enable that rule.
  9. Click Save in the upper right corner of the configuration page.