3 Ways APM SaaS Makes SMBs More Competitive
In the Age of the Mobile Consumer, Small and Medium Size Businesses Must Look to the Cloud to Compete
August 07, 2014
Chris O'Connor
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We now live in the age of the consumer, and the ability to engage with companies wherever, whenever is expected by all. Well-performing mobile apps are becoming synonymous with quality customer service, and companies are increasingly distinguished by the various mobile applications they can (or cannot) provide for their customers.

Meeting this accelerating expectation for mobile engagement means an increasingly complex IT infrastructure for organizations. How do small businesses, which often lack large budgets to properly monitor and manage a myriad of different consumer-facing apps, compete with larger competitors?

Luckily, cloud computing has been expanding in tandem with mobile, offering businesses of any size the ability to access a powerful IT infrastructure with the swipe of a credit card. With the growth of cloud has come an expansion of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, or complete software environments delivered via the cloud and able to be deployed, configured and up and running in minutes. One such SaaS solution is application performance management (APM), which may hold the answer to solving the mobile app management challenges of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

By tapping into APM capabilities via the cloud, smaller companies can implement advanced app management strategies without an extensive physical IT infrastructure - and the money required to manage it. Instead, they can deploy APM solutions in just 20 or 30 minutes to successfully track their apps' performance, detect network problems, and fix minor problems before they turn into downtime.

This burgeoning access to APM tools through the cloud is tremendous news for smaller organizations, giving them an equal playing field for consistently providing proactive, well-tuned customer service. In the past, limited budgets and IT power meant small businesses had to take a reactive approach to mobile app problems – often not knowing an issue existed until a customer alerted them.

Here's a look into how APM Software-as-a-Service provides SMBs with the tools needed to evolve into the mobile businesses customers are demanding:

1. Near Real-time Alerts

Without visibility into their apps' performance, SMBs were handcuffed in their ability to quickly respond to failing apps – often resulting in users moving to another, competing service before the problem could be addressed. With cloud-based APM, SMBs can add near real-time alerts on performance, which will appear whenever the moment of an outage or a slowing network. Instead of relying on hearing complaints from customers, SMBs can now be alerted immediately if a fix is needed.

2. Access to Deep Analytics

A not-so-talked-about benefit certain APM solutions bring to SMBs is the power of advanced analytics. SaaS-delivered APM can be equipped with analytics to dig into the processes running through apps, and subsequently uncover performance tendencies. This can help organizations realize which of their apps are constant poor performers or ones users simply do not use – allowing businesses to shift priorities and adjust app features and services to meet user demand.

3. Create Unique Environments

One major component APM as SaaS brings SMBs is its ability to evolve and scale as the company grows. Through the cloud, organizations can determine the type of APM currently needed, and subscribe to a specific environment with the option to expand and integrate it into larger systems in the future. A smaller organization may want to start with a completely cloud-based APM model, but as they grow, they may want to build an on-premise environment to co-exist with their established SaaS APM in a hybrid setting.

Whether your company is large or small, APM is crucial to ensuring your apps are properly engaging with customers. With more and more APM tools being delivered via the cloud, startups, nonprofits and midmarket businesses can now deliver the same mobile performance and customer service previously only able to be delivered by the largest corporations.

ABOUT Chris O'Connor

Chris O'Connor is the Vice President of IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure Strategy and Engineering, delivering IBM's service management software to help clients optimize their business infrastructures and technology through improved visibility, control, and automation across end-to-end operations. Prior to this role, O'Connor was responsible for product strategy and engineering for the Industry Solutions Software division, and, before that, he was Vice President of Tivoli Strategy and Market Management. Active in the IT Industry for the past 20 years both within IBM and at other industry software providers, O'Connor is also a member of the IBM Corporate Growth and Transformation Team.

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