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Many IT managers and project managers worry about the performance of their IT environment. Are applications responding fast enough? How are end users experiencing certain procedures? And if I want to release an update, will it have an impact on performance? All these questions and uncertainties have led to Application Performance Management (APM) becoming an increasingly important field, but also to increasing frequent misconceptions about it. Time to answer the 6 most frequently asked questions about APM!

1 – What is APM?

Poor IT performance and problems affecting the availability of applications, mobile devices and back-end infrastructure have a direct impact on the success of a business. Application Performance Management addresses this problem. Webopedia defines it as ‘tools and processes responsible for monitoring and managing the performance and availability of software applications’. In other words, APM helps to get clear picture of the performance of applications and to report on this to the IT staff. APM continually scans existing processes for anomalies, enabling IT staff to resolve this immediately.

2 – Why do I need it?

Among other things, APM enables you to provide a better customer experience and ensure the growth of your business and turnover. The customer is king, and should always be the focus of your strategy. Research by the Aberdeen Group shows that a 1-second delay in performance can lead to a dip in conversion rate of no less than seven percent. That is not only bad for immediate revenues; it also has negative long-term effects. Most customers don’t come back after a single negative experience with a web store or customer service department. Poor performance also has direct and indirect consequences for end users, employee satisfaction and productivity.

3 – What tooling is available?

APM is an evolving field. APM methods used to be primarily reactive, which meant that problems were only identified after the customer had already been confronted with them. The new APM methods allow for a proactive approach, so that problems are resolved before they become an issue for customers. To get the best results, monitoring at the following levels is desirable:
– Monitoring at application level
– Monitoring at the technical level
– Monitoring of entire chains, from the perspective of the end user

4 – What is meant by ‘chain monitoring’?

End users perform hundreds of actions daily. Together, these actions make up processes that are supported by several applications. We refer to all these applications that support the same process as the ‘chain’. Naturally, these applications have dependencies. An application with hiccups will have an impact on every link in the chain. This makes it important to measure from A to Z, so that the end user really does have a good experience.

5 – How do you integrate APM into your existing processes?

Companies that are successful in performance management can attribute some of their success to a change in their mind-set and the way their processes are organised. Creating support among all the components in the chain plays an important role in this. A dashboard alone will not bring about any change; it is about the people who subsequently have to put it to use. The monitoring processes must be embedded in the organisation. For example, the alarm bells need to sound not only when values exceed a critical limit, but also when certain sequential events take place or other specific situations occur. In addition, a strong link has to be created between IT and the business.

6 – How will I gain by it?

Of course, APM tooling costs money, and the changes involved will also take some effort. Nevertheless, it is an investment that gives a quick return. Just think: how much does it cost if employees are twiddling their thumbs for an hour because a system is down? How many customers are unable to complete their order if the payment system is giving problems? Preventing system failure and other IT problems not only produces immediate financial gains, it also keeps employees and end customers happy, which means it also yields a higher turnover in the long term. Want to know more about drawing up a business case? You can read more in the blog ‘Chain monitoring: costs versus benefits‘.

Marcel Wigman

Marcel Wigman

Performance Architect

During his career Marcel has helped organisations such as the Dutch Railways, Prorail, ASR and various municipalities with improving their IT-services. Speed, capacity, scalability and stability of the software are keywords in this. Marcel started his career as a developer in 1996, followed by working on performance testing, load modeling, performance troubleshooting and in the last few years automating performance testing in agile development projects. Within the organization Marcel is known for his Dynatrace expertise.

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