Late in 2011 Quocirca conducted a research project across the USA and Europe to investigate what would be top of mind for CIOs and their management teams in 2012. We asked respondents to select their top 5 priorities from a list of 15 hot IT issues. These ranged from desktop upgrades, through various types of cloud deployment and network issues to improving the way applications are delivered.
Top of the list by a long chalk, selected by more than half the 500 respondents as a top 5 issue, was application performance management (APM). Perhaps this is not surprising; the other issues with high scores included private cloud deployment, data center virtualization, optimizing the application lifecycle, deploying new customer applications and business transaction management. All of these involve delivering more effective applications to the business, but APM is about ensuring that this goal is actually achieved.
As with any investment that a business makes, ensuring that it delivers as promised requires measurement. Ultimately IT is about delivery of the applications that enable the business, be they utilities such as email and document management systems or core applications that drive the business processes that differentiate one business from another. APM is about measuring the effectiveness of applications and therefore IT.
APM tools enable the proactive monitoring of the various factors that affect the overall performance of an application and ultimately the experience of its users. This includes the various application software layers (database, application server etc.), the network and user access environment. APM tools also provide the ability to see how performance changes through time. The output is actionable advice on how to maintain and improve application performance levels.
Consistently through the research it was CIOs (20% of the sample) who recognized the importance of these issues and expressed greatest concern about their organization’s ability to address them. That is not to say other IT managers were complacent, they were not far behind their bosses in most cases.
There was widespread recognition of the pressure to deliver better application performance, with 70% overall saying user demand will increase. CIOs were particularly worried with 80% saying that they did not have the application performance metrics well mapped to business goals and that monitoring needed to be more proactive. This latter point was consistent across the industries covered by the survey which were ecommerce, financial services, technology and a range of other commercial organizations.
The value of being able to better measure application performance and deliver measurable improvements efficiently goes beyond business and user satisfaction. One of the key aims, especially for CIOs, was to free up their staff to focus on more strategic goals rather than just fighting to keep the lights on. There was a clear willingness to invest in APM tools that delivered on promise rather than just seeking out those that cost the least.
IT managers recognize that being able to measure the performance of their applications is the only sure-fire ways of ensuring all IT investments are delivering as promised.
The report includes a self-evaluation tool to enable readers to measure where their organization’s maturity, with regard to APM, sits.
Quocirca will be presenting the report findings at two webinars on June 28, and at a seminar in the UK on July 5, links below:
Bob Tarzey has been an analyst with Quocirca since 2002. His main area of coverage is route to market for ITC vendors, but he also has an additional focus on IT security, network computing, systems management and managed services. Tarzey writes regular analytical columns for Computing, Computer Weekly, silicon.com and Computer Reseller News (CRN), and has written for The Times, Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph. Bob blogs for Computing, Info Security Advisor and IT-Director.com. He also provides general comment for the European IT and business press.
Bob has extensive knowledge of the IT industry. Prior to joining Quocirca, he spent 16 years working for US technology vendors including DEC (now HP), Sybase, Gupta, Merant (now Serena), eGain and webMethods (now Software AG).