Driving Business Performance Through Application Performance Management

A GigaOm Research Brief

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Strategic Goals for Application Performance Management
  3. Which Performance Monitoring Measures Are More Important?
  4. How Important Are More Advanced Features, Specifically?
  5. Conclusion: Caring About Performance Indicates Organizational Maturity
  6. Respondent Demographic Appendix: Summary Slides
  7. About Jon Collins

1. Summary

Today’s organizations are increasingly aware that future success lies in delivering software applications that directly engage with, and respond to, the needs of customers. However, for many enterprises, a strategic vision often clashes with the realities of legacy thinking and systems. In a recent GigaOm study we asked several context-setting questions, to look at the evolving role of application performance management (APM) and monitoring tools with respect to business and customer value delivery. In particular, how do more proactive organizations leverage APM tools to deliver on their innovation and broader business goals?

Key Findings:

  • Proactive organizations, who put the business first and are mature in terms of IT best practices, are driving transformation. They see application performance monitoring as significantly more important than their peers.
  • In general, respondents prioritize diagnosing and fixing problems over delivering the best possible customer experience; these priorities reverse for more proactive organizations.
  • Business- and user experience-related metrics are seen as more important than technical metrics when it comes to monitoring the performance of applications—a factor that increases for public cloud-first organizations.
  • Looking at more advanced performance monitoring features, measuring user experience is most important, which fits with the strategic goal of improving customer experience delivery.
  • More proactive organizations are far more likely to see more advanced performance management features as important.

More business-focused and operationally mature organizations are reaping the rewards of application performance management, through the use of more advanced monitoring features such as real-time user experience monitoring and providing a composite view of log and performance data. While such tools and capabilities do not represent success in themselves, more mature processes and tools go hand in hand.

What Do “Proactive” Organizations Think of Application Performance Monitoring?

In this report, we look at the evolving role of application performance management, and particularly whether a more proactive group might treat it differently. So, how might we define such a group? In a recent GigaOm study, to gauge the respondents we asked several context-setting questions, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Proactive Group A Responses

So, does there exist a more proactive group, from an IT-business perspective? We might consider these as respondents, who answer positively to the following statements:

  • We are undergoing a digital transformation driven by the board
  • Our lines of business are driving technological change
  • Our IT operations are highly mature in terms of best practices

A total of 177 respondents either agree or strongly agree to all of the above, which equates to roughly half of our sample: this provides a good basis for comparison of the two distinct approaches. So, can we see any difference between the more proactive group (Group A) and the second half of the sample (Group B), specifically on the topic of performance monitoring and management?

Figure 2, below, contrasts the ‘proactive’ Group A with Group B in regard to performance monitoring coverage of the DevOps toolchain. As we can see, the ‘proactive’ group A has a much better handle on their application performance monitoring: 65% of this group have fully comprehensive or some coverage, compared to 18% in Group B.

Figure 2. DevOps Toolchain Utilization

This gives us a good basis to determine what is driving performance management strategy, and what features more proactive respondents see as important.

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