According to the Akamai research, a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7 percent.
Modern business application services are often large and complex softwares, distributed and asynchronous, making them vulnerable to failures and slowdowns. Sometimes even small performance issues can trigger undesired consequences. For example, slow system response in a customer-facing solution can lead to diminished performance and, thus, negative conversion rates. This, in turn, leads to revenue loss and tarnishes your brand image and loyalty.
Businesses need to manage, monitor regularly, and optimize their applications’ performance and availability to ensure uninterrupted business processes. There is a need for a holistic approach for maintaining the health and availability of such applications.
But there is limited guidance available regarding proper application performance management for big IT environments. This blog presents insights into how IT leaders and business owners should organize their application performance management for better monitoring and maintenance.
First, let us revisit what is APM and how it fits into the business context.
What is APM (Application Performance Management)?
APM or application performance management is an essential tool to help optimize and monitor the performance of your business-critical applications. It is a wide term that comprises applications monitoring, problem resolution, problem prevention, and consistent application improvement.
APM is often confused and mixed with applications performance monitoring, but it is not the case. Application monitoring is a way to reveal the behavior of a system or application over time. It is a supporting activity for performance management and is not enough for catering to the needs and requirements of a complex, modern application.
Benefits of Organized Application Performance Management
Implementing proper application performance management has more benefits for organizations than better conversion rates and brand loyalty. For instance, businesses have observed increased process efficiency due to reduced delays in overloaded processes, downtimes, and disruptions that hinder employee productivity.
In addition to that, the TCO, or the Total Cost of Ownership, is also reduced courtesy of APM. This can be seen across multiple factors such as –
- minimized costs for further improvements of applications when the code integration problems are identified and solved before going into production,
- lowered support costs from enhanced efficiency of the support staff, support engineers can address performance and availability issues faster and better.
- Well-planned cloud capacity as consistent APM will let you estimate your cloud capacity requirements and allow dynamic resource allocation and consumption.
For SLA or Service Level Agreement monitoring, APM data helps bring transparency into collaboration with 3rd party vendors (enterprise application service providers and Saas providers) and ensures service quality is retained at the expected level.
Proper APM Workflow Organization
Whether you use off-the-shelf APM tools or homegrown tools, ensuring a proper workflow for your APM process requires you to take measures based on the data and inference from the tools used to monitor application performance.
An organized workflow for proper APM looks like the following –
- Problem Detection
From the flow mentioned above, Alerting (#3) should only involve relevant stakeholders only for serious issues for effectiveness, and Reporting (#9) should not be ignored and should include all that was detected, how the problems were solved, and the influence they had on the entire organization.
Entities to be involved and main costs of APM
The sources of performance degradation can be present across all software layers and components. For instance, traffic spiking, slow webpages, tangled code structures, or overload or incomplete transactions. Thus, the involvement of people from different departments and functions is important for a comprehensive APM.
A single designated person should not own APM but a designated person or, better, a small group of people that can ensure efficiency, consistency, and focused effort. It is crucial to bring together all the stakeholders across the application life cycle. Some involvement from developers, QA specialists, operations teams, and even application administrators is a necessity.
Coming to major costs related to APM, there are three areas where businesses will have to spend to get maximum benefits –
Reviewing current IT infrastructure, monitoring tools development and solution setup & maintenance, purchase of product license, and finally assigning a specific monitoring team for all these efforts.
Special considerations are sometimes needed when opting for enterprise application solutions such as Saas or Paas-based CRM, Project Management tools, Marketing Automation, ERP softwares, and so on. It is crucial to check for response time, errors and cloud services, and cloud storage availability. Even if you don’t have access to the code of these platform-based enterprise application solutions, it is wise to at least check for performance problems caused by customizations for resources optimization.
In this blog, we advocated for the creation of an extended application performance management team. We laid out the importance of organized application performance management over performance monitoring. The latter should only be kept as a balanced constituent of APM while thoughtfully leaving out unreasonable metrics and noisy alerting.