Application Analytics for the New Millennium

April 13 2015

What’s old is new again. That maxim is no truer than in the white hot Application Performance Management (APM) market. A decade ago APM was a dusty corner of enterprise IT, focusing on keeping creaky enterprise apps up and running.

Today, the world has changed. Applications have changed. Enterprise IT is undergoing rapid reinvention. As a result, APM is now at the crux of the digital transformation trend. And squarely in the center of this firestorm is San Francisco-based AppDynamics.

Ask any teenager about applications and they’ll look at you funny and say, “you mean, apps?” and hold up their smartphone. Today, mobile apps lead the reinvention of the application, filtering down from the consumer space into all corners of the enterprise.

The democratization of IT has upended the notion of an enterprise application as well, and digital transformation initiatives drive the assembly of increasingly complex, distributed, mainly cloud-based apps that deliver enterprise value to technology consumers – within companies of all sizes and among the public at large.

Today’s technology users might use their phones, tablets, televisions, or Internet-of-Things (IoT) enabled touchpoints ranging from automobiles to factory equipment, with new form factors rolling out every day. And everyone expects always-on connectivity and blisteringly fast performance – even though todays apps may depend upon a complex web of interconnected services across multiple clouds and on-premise applications.

The App in AppDynamics

This new world of the application is the “app” in AppDynamics. Yes, AppDynamics focuses primarily on enterprise customers – but today’s enterprise customers are serving business and consumer users who expect nothing less than perfect behavior from their apps. Given this modern context, the renewed importance of APM becomes readily apparent.

AppDynamics is now upping the APM ante with a new Application Analytics offering on their Application Intelligence platform. This new module provides deep insight into the modern, distributed applications that define today’s digital world.

What makes AppDynamics’ application analytics so interesting, however, is the combination of their APM technology and big data-driven, real-time analytics capability to provide business value. “Application Analytics tie the impact of IT to the business,” according to Jyoti Bansal, Founder and CEO of AppDynamics.

The secret to the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform is how they instrument every element of the modern application – from the lowest level snippet of legacy code to the network to the virtual machine instances in the cloud to the user interfaces running on the full spectrum of digital technologies. Each of those instruments churns out a detailed stream of data. The end result: a real-time big data analytics challenge.

AppDynamics has addressed this challenge in spectacular fashion, boiling down immense quantities of detailed monitoring data into understandable, actionable insight – insight that operations personnel, developers, and business-oriented digital professionals alike can all leverage to achieve the fundamental business goals of their applications.

The Value of Application Analytics

Application Analytics provide business insight: visibility into relevant real-time business metrics. If a problem crops up – perhaps a slowdown or worse, stalled functionality – AppDynamics can pinpoint the issue and in many cases, can address the problem with no human intervention. The platform can also answer specific business questions, like the current status of an order.

Application Analytics also include business operations monitoring, giving customers insight into the performance of complex business processes, enabling people to drill down into an issue to discover the root problem, and then to address the issue with the customers affected.

Even when applications are running smoothly, Application Analytics provide critical insight business managers need to make critical decisions – for example, identifying which marketing campaigns are more effective, enabling such managers to adjust their digital efforts in real-time to meet customer needs and optimize key performance indicators, as shown below.

Business Impact Analytics Real-time Dashboard

Performance monitoring is also a benefit of Application Analytics – answering questions like which transactions are moving too slowly, which customers those slow transactions are affecting, and how those slowdowns are impacting the bottom line.

Furthermore, in many cases, modern enterprise applications depend upon numerous third parties – from embedded services to cloud infrastructure providers. To support relationships with such third parties, Application Analytics provides service-level agreement (SLA) management, enabling managers to pinpoint which third-party providers aren’t living up to their agreements – again, in real-time.

The Intellyx Take

Modern applications consist of a mélange of interconnected elements, from the front end to the cloud to the enterprise back end. Unless you understand this modern definition of the application as well as the full power of today’s big data analytics, you won’t see the true significance of AppDynamics’ Application Analytics capabilities.

Furthermore, connecting the impact of application functionality to business key performance indicators offers a strong value proposition that sets the bar for all competing products – and keeps AppDynamics customers happy as a result. “Customer are excited because they want to bridge this gap between business and IT,” says Jyoti Bansal. “We’re happy to see customers are so passionate about us.”

Monitoring the complex modern application environment presents a big data analytics challenge that raises the bar on what it means to have insight into application performance. By combining the power of its Application Intelligence Platform with the depth of its analytics, AppDynamics offers enterprises the business insight they require to succeed in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing digital environment.

Intellyx advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. AppDynamics is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this article.

Jason Bloomberg
Jason Bloomberg is the leading industry analyst and expert on achieving agile digital transformation by architecting business agility in the enterprise. He writes for Forbes, Wired, and his biweekly newsletter, the Cortex. As president of Intellyx, he advises business executives on their digital transformation initiatives, trains architecture teams on Agile Architecture, and helps technology vendors and service providers communicate their agility stories. His latest book is The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013). Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise. Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

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