Sunday, 29th November 2020

Seven learnings for delivering digital experiences through application performance monitoring

Digital transformation has seen application teams embrace a broad range of new technologies and associated approaches, from mobile first to cloud-native architecture. These deliver greater agility; end-user focus and more innovation than ever before. They also create significant volumes of complex data. By Conor Molloy, Senior Vice President at Riverbed Aternity International Division at Riverbed Technology.

In order to provide an optimum digital experience for your internal and external users, it’s vital to gain visibility into this data so you can track the performance of your technology, to identify and resolve issues before they negatively impact users. This is referred to as application performance monitoring (APM). The following top learnings will help you create an effective APM strategy to deliver the high-quality digital experiences that will set you apart from competitors.

1. Despite reliance on digital applications, few are monitored

Concerns around cost, scale and integration with legacy architecture have all impeded traditional APM adoption. However, in today’s end-user orientated climate, businesses cannot afford to allow this visibility gap – the space between what your tools are telling you and what your users are actually experiencing – to persist. Doing so could decrease organisational productivity, negatively affect customer satisfaction, and ultimately damage revenue.

Relying on employees to close this gap, by flagging poor system performance, is untenable. Instead, companies need to monitor end-user experience from the device to the application, through to the infrastructure and into the network. This approach provides IT teams with direct visibility into performance so they can find and fix issues as they occur, in some cases even before users become aware of them.

2. Monitor everything, including services out of your control

Your business relies on the end-to-end experience of all your applications, regardless of whether you or a third-party are delivering the service. Given the explosion of cloud adoption – 80 per cent of organisations will have migrated to the cloud and colocation by 2025, according to Gartner – it’s more important than ever that companies ensure they have visibility into these solutions. This visibility will empower businesses to hold vendors accountable and keep an eye on service-level agreements.

3. Application technologies are multiplying, increasing the need for APM

Cloud-native application development was designed with modern hyperscale infrastructure in mind. This approach sees traditional monolithic application infrastructure broken up into microservices – smaller, functional components – that can be scaled individually to deliver large-scale efficiencies. Particularly for the enterprise-scale businesses that are therefore driving their adoption.

The typical cloud-native technology stack is made up of a wide variety of commercial and open-source platforms. As the number of vendors and technologies grows, so too does the complexity and need for a strategy that delivers simplified visibility – APM.

4. APM’s big data challenge

Businesses create a significant volume of varied data on a daily basis. For instance, a credit card processing company will create petabytes of data every day by executing millions of application transactions. To make matters more challenging, the transactions will have been processed by tens of thousands of distributed application components in the cloud, making them subject to state changes. All of this data will need to be processed and stored and as a consequence, whilst the complexity is great, so is the need for high definition data.

5. Detailed data is key to troubleshooting

Detailed, second-by-second visibility into the systems your applications run on is crucial in today’s high-paced business environment. Checking the health of your systems at one-minute intervals is acceptable for infrastructure monitoring, but to troubleshoot business transactions it must be done in a matter of seconds. After all, five seconds is considered critical for revenue-impacting transactions, so application performance monitoring data must be equally high definition.

6. It’s time to implement big data for application monitoring

In an attempt to consistently monitor device, application, infrastructure and network performance, many companies fall into the trap of only sampling a small fraction of executed transactions. This leaves sizeable blind spots, creating the possibility for critical information to easily go unanalysed. In turn, this can compromise the overall quality of the data set.

However, it can be avoided with big data technology, which has already been proven to be capable of handling large-scale data collection and analysis. This allows businesses to deliver the lightning fast responses consumers expect from their applications and, in doing so, maintain brand credibility.

7. APM will quantifiably improve your bottom line

The driving force behind the majority of digital transformation projects is a company’s desire to improve their bottom line. The value of transformations can only be quantified, and their positive impacts amplified, through monitoring the end-user experience new technology is delivering. As such, a systematic approach to APM is crucial to delivering tangible financial results.

Take Riverbed as an example, its APM technology monitors the digital experience of every kind of application in an enterprise’s portfolio from the point of consumption – the user’s device – and upgrades the approach to a big data practice by delivering high definition data quality at scale. As a result, customers enjoy five times the return on investment over three years for large-scale APM deployments.

APM has a proven ability to deliver optimum digital experiences that translate into business results, so what’s stopping you embracing it?

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