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Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for 2020: Helping Business Leaders Understand the Value of APM

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Summary
The biggest takeaway from Gartner’s 2020 Critical Capabilities report: Business leaders have a larger stake than ever in APM buying decisions.

Storms have the potential to shake things up. When a storm is coming, we prepare by seeking shelter in what we know, and hope the foundation holds. Right now, businesses around the world find themselves in the midst of a storm, and what they need the most is a foundational APM solution designed to shepherd them through massive change.

During this time, vision certainly matters, but what matters most?

Ability to execute. And that’s why we were pleased to be positioned highest in our Ability to Execute in the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for APM. In addition, Gartner released recommendations for IT and business leaders with regard to the “critical capabilities” their APM solution must execute on, and we hope the results will help inform your investment in technologies that are proven to make a real impact.

Let’s jump in.

The Growing Business Value of APM

The biggest takeaway from Gartner’s Critical Capabilities report: It’s never been more critical for business stakeholders to have a seat at the table when evaluating APM solutions.

“APM … provides critical data that is useful outside a purely IT operations context, including insight into the impact that full-stack performance has on customer behavior and business processes.” — Gartner, 2020

Gartner attributes this increasingly universal interest in APM to a few factors:

  1. A growing relationship between the health of the application and the health of the business.
  2. The escalating velocity of application change and number of potential endpoints from which business services occur.
  3. Increasing application architecture complexity with on-premise, hybrid, cloud-native, and multicloud deployments.

These are the use cases differentiating the most popular tools on the market, Gartner found, and the reason that “application owners, LOB managers, and those responsible for service delivery from a nontechnical perspective are becoming interested in APM technologies.” In other words, the Application Owner or LOB use case is an increasingly important one to think about when evaluating the APM capabilities needed to support digital transformation.

Below, we’ve summarized Gartner’s recommendations for each use case. You can download the full report here.

Use Case #1: The Growing Relationship Between the Health of the Application and the Health of the Business

Infrastructure metrics and health data no longer constitute enough information to make business decisions, Gartner reported, which is why APM purchases are being driven by LOB buyers.

And these buyers want to dig deeper than performance and availability statistics, into the actual efficacy of the services your application offers. Shopping cart abandonment rates, conversions, and even the financial value of business transactions (inquiries, claims, orders, etc.) are among the business-critical measures they’re looking for.

In its report, Gartner called out the APM solutions that help IT teams visualize the application landscape from a business perspective by providing insight into customer journeys and business transactions — a key differentiator we’ve focused on with advancements in Business iQ and the introduction of Experience Journey Maps — so teams can resolve issues faster with less impact on end-users and revenue.

Use Case #2: The Escalating Velocity of Application Change

Root cause analysis has become key to identifying the impact of changes on application resources, enabling IT teams to tell key stakeholders the potential impact of any planned changes or anticipated resource consumption trends. Historically, this was a job for capacity-planning tools. But artificial intelligence is playing an increasing role in automating RCA to help teams analyze application change at the speed it’s accelerating today.

Gartner recommends improving application performance and availability by deploying APM software that uses AI/ML to provide predictive analysis across the full stack, placed in the context of topology and correlated with digital business impact. The report called out AppDynamics for our enhanced AI/ML-based anomaly detection through Cognition Engine. (Read more about how Cognition Engine is powering faster RCA here.)

Use Case #3: Increasing Application Architecture Complexity

With digital transformation comes increasing application architecture complexity. The adoption of on-premises, hybrid, cloud-native, and multicloud deployments — as well as containers, Kubernetes, microservices, and serverless computing, for which Gartner recognized AppDynamics enhancements — has become common and a big factor in APM buying decisions.

By 2025, Gartner predicts, “50% of new cloud-native application monitoring systems will use open-source instrumentation, rather than vendor-specific agents for improved interoperability, which is a major increase from 5% in 2019.” Agents will shift to open source to “simplify the process of monitoring, enable interoperability among monitoring solutions, and disrupt the pricing model to be more about customer value (as opposed to today’s model, which is essentially about counting agents).”

What’s next?

Want to see where APM vendors rank in terms of ability to execute, clarity of vision, and more? Gartner recommends using the Critical Capabilities report in conjunction with the Magic Quadrant. 👈 Use these links to access the reports for free.