Application Performance Management Enables DevOps ROI
May 01, 2015

Gabriel Lowy
TechTonics

More organizations are discovering the efficiencies of adopting DevOps practices for application lifecycle management. As they do, they realize that Application Performance Management (APM) enables DevOps ROI (return on investment).

Large enterprises typically run multi-tiered applications across a variety of systems and platforms. These can range from in-house mainframes to external clouds. With the accelerating usage of cloud-based apps, the complexity of integrating these applications is a challenge for even the most sophisticated IT teams.

Greater agility is the underlying business case for a DevOps approach. Leveraging increased automation, DevOps applies agile and lean practices throughout the software lifecycle. It allows IT to launch higher quality applications and deploy them faster than in the past.

The Key to Better Performing Applications

APM is integral to helping companies realize ROI on their DevOps initiatives. By moving performance analytics forward in the development lifecycle, DevOps teams can discover dependencies to learn how an application will perform once it goes “live”. Metrics derived from continuous transaction monitoring act as an early warning system for operational or quality issues – before the application is released into production. These metrics can then be used to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) against which the production environment can be measured.

Rather than waiting for post-production performance data to analyze what went wrong, the DevOps team can build performance analytics models that can anticipate operational and quality problems before the delivery phase. As production metrics more consistently adhere to KPIs, application performance – and user experience – improves.

Sharing the data with line of business teams at this stage accelerates the feedback loop from the various application stakeholders. These can include internal users, customers and partners. This feedback is essential for all constituents to make changes about what capabilities the application should have. The DevOps team can then make adjustments faster and with less stress while maintaining focus on optimizing the user experience.

Closer collaboration between development, operations and quality assurance teams can alleviate other issues as well. Silos of performance data held by different teams – infrastructure, server, network, virtualization or application – can be integrated into a higher-level view. As stand-alone data sets, their benefits are diluted by their incompatibility. This is a common problem with point solutions. While each may be separately indicating good application performance, the user experience may still be poor.

Related to this silo issue is that each of these solutions comes with its own console. Their incompatibility can generate many false positives. IT teams will often get frustrated and eventually ignore most of the alerts they receive.

Meanwhile, performance continues to suffer. Internal users abandon the application, eroding productivity. Customers grow frustrated and leave the site, costing revenue and reputational damage.

Benefits of an Integrated APM Platform

This data only begins to yield meaningful insights when it’s integrated into a unified strategic framework. A unified platform approach to assuring user experience allows performance metrics from the DevOps process to be correlated with post-production data.

Information about how users engage with an application and the feedback those users provide about their experience are most valuable for the DevOps team. These include metrics such as the number of tickets generated due to user complaints, adds, drops or changes that occur in the normal course of business, or customer comments in app stores or on social media.

A unified platform with advanced performance analytics provides IT teams with operational intelligence about user experience at the point of engagement. They allow triage techniques to pinpoint the root cause of performance issues in real time to accelerate troubleshooting and mean time to repair (MTTR). The “R” in MTTR really refers to “reliability”. All of this performance data then cycles back to the DevOps team so that processes can be refined to improve agility.

A unified APM platform that enhances user experience directly correlates to the enterprise product life cycle. Companies can realize faster time to value by accelerating product development and launches. User experience that consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations builds loyalty and strengthens competitiveness. ROI improves through reduced costs, enhanced productivity and new revenue streams. Better application performance also mitigates risks, such as uncompleted transactions, reputational damage or compliance violations.

Gabriel Lowy is the founder of TechTonics Advisors, a research-first investor relations consultancy that helps technology companies maximize value for all stakeholders by bridging vision, strategy, product portfolio and markets with analysts and investors
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