APM… how about if we start at the beginning?
Nowadays everyone swears by APM (Application Performance Management): consumers, IT specialists, and lots of others. But what actually is APM? First let’s take a look at one of the building blocks that makes APM what it is: user experience monitoring.
End-user monitoring an essential part of APM
Yet technological progress has caused the very nature of monitoring to be forgotten. What makes an IT manager, a chief of production, or a marketing manager want to set up a monitoring solution? In most cases, it’s not about technology but rather the need to track KPIs on a dashboard. End-user monitoring has been around for a long time. Outsourcing agreements, managed services, and hosting in external data centers have had a hand in making monitoring projects more real. Still, when it comes down to it, and whatever the technology or software vendor involved, the purpose is the same: an eye-catching dashboard is an effective tool for demonstrating the returns on investment of strategic decisions or for enforcing service level agreements.
To return to APM, what is ‘Application Performance Management’? Application Performance Monitoring is not a product or a software solution, but rather an approach that takes shape according to needs and is an integral part of the cycle of service that is delivered to users. The key word here is “user”; in other words, a customer or anybody who uses a service. Unfortunately this key word has more or less disappeared from the equation in favor of a more technical discourse.
Before adopting a product or service, companies must start by identifying which of their applications are critical and the type of indicators that are the most meaningful. These should be put into action within a gradual approach, step by step, in order to get the best possible ROI. Users should be at the heart of the strategy because they (and only they) are the best judges of the quality of a service or application. Now that we know this, where should we start? With synthetic monitoring, passive monitoring, troubleshooting, or mobility? There is no single answer! What is sure is that if you embark on several projects at once, the chances of something going wrong are higher!
To conclude with something more concrete, let’s take this example: an industrial enterprise wants to have a provider deal with managing 3 of its business-critical applications in order to concentrate on its core industry. It identifies the 3 business-critical applications: its CRM, its management application, and its production monitoring application. The providers it has identified supply an agreement stipulating quality of service guarantees. In this case, the simplest solution to set up to provide dashboards and check SLAs is without doubt active or synthetic transaction monitoring.
Here robots simulate user behavior to supply performance and availability metrics. Does this mean APM is in all cases an attractive dashboard built on active monitoring? Not necessarily. What is sure is that the first step is to ask the right questions in order to elaborate a consistent Application Performance Management strategy.
At ip-label, we concentrate first on understanding the stakes, what is involved, in order to best help our customers in their digital transformation projects. Building the right KPIs is a decisive step – it’s the only way to validate and check ROI. And so the right question is not just to know which APM solution to implement, but instead “which strategy should I apply to generate meaningful dashboards”?