How to future-proof your app environment: The four plays for IT success

September 02 2019

As your enterprise IT infrastructure grows more distributed by the minute, you might know what it feels like to be treading water in an ocean of data.

And you’re not alone. For most companies developing and monitoring apps to accommodate increasingly fragmented customer experiences, innovation comes with complexity in the form of fragmented data and analytics.

Last year, we conducted a survey to probe deeper into the problem and noticed a worrying trend. Under the weight of mounting data, IT leaders are spending too much time reacting to alerts and not enough time building solutions that can optimize performance proactively. At the same time, we’re headed for big changes in the world of application performance management — a world that’s fast outgrowing data distribution.

That’s why we felt it time to distill all we know about today’s IT challenges and how we’re helping solve them for our customers into a four-part playbook for success. It maps out the four most critical areas to focus on when priming your environment to stand the test of data explosion and take advantage of advanced APM.

Rest assured these are plays we’ve tried and proven with our customers as they’ve successfully built future-proof environments. If you’re ready to join them in building a truly automated, proactive approach to managing business and IT performance, this playbook is for you. Download a free copy here. If you’re not sure, let me give you a quick intro to the four plays, why they’ve proven so critical, and what to expect from the playbook.

The AIOps play

Our survey found as many as 42% of IT leaders use monitoring and analytics tools to resolve technical issues reactively. Add that to the fact they’re resolving system-wide issues in silos. No wonder their mean time to resolution (MTTR) has reached a higher than average one business day, which by our calculations costs an average $402,542. Yep. That’s for a single outage.

Revenue aside, this approach clearly has no place in a world where consumers have higher than ever expectations for flawless application performance.

 With this in mind, most survey respondents (74%) said they want to start using monitoring tools proactively to lower MTTR and protect their bottom line. This is where AIOps comes in.

AIOps is an emerging movement that combines machine learning and AI to support IT operations — specifically by enabling self-healing before revenue-impacting problems arise. It’s no substitute for good development, of course, but self-healing is a capability Google considers critically important to the enterprise.

What’s interesting is that AIOps still isn’t being widely adopted by IT teams in the near-term. Only 15% of our survey respondents identified it as a two-year priority, so there’s no better time to adopt it for a competitive edge. Get guidance on how to deploy it in the playbook.

The cloud play

Cloud adoption has become a strategic imperative for enterprises grappling with vast amounts of data. So in this case, adoption has never been higher. According to the 2018 Cisco Global Cloud Index, 95% of all compute workloads will be public and private cloud workloads by 2021.

Does that mean just because everyone else is doing it, you should too?

Consider the two main reasons (from a technical perspective) for why companies are moving to the cloud:

  1. To manage as little infrastructure as possible, whether consolidating workloads onto fewer physical servers, moving virtualized workloads onto someone else’s servers, or going completely serverless.
  2. To facilitate as much scalability and innovation within applications as possible.

At AppDynamics, our customers have also found that cloud migration creates more opportunities to demonstrate the value of APM by revealing how applications perform end-to-end before and after the shift to the cloud. Inversely, this transaction-level visibility helps derisk the migration itself and translates into quite a few business benefits.

We go over these in the playbook, as well as a choose-your-own-adventure roadmap for APM-supported migration based on your company’s readiness for the cloud.

The digital experience monitoring (DEM) play

Delivering great customer experiences isn’t as simple as it once was. Customers expect apps to just… work. In seconds. Every time. That means you’re tasked with keeping tabs on every facet of their experience — and in cases of abandoned shopping carts and other adverse user behaviors, reacting quickly. But as it increases in complexity, CX is harder to track end-to-end.

A desire for cross-functional visibility into complex digital experiences is in part what’s driven digital transformation, which like cloud adoption is imperative to the innovation that makes those experiences amazing. Only 27% of technologists feel ready for digital transformation, but most recognize it as an urgent challenge to overcome.

One way is through digital experience monitoring (DEM).

DEM monitors the “operational excellence and behavior of a digital agent, human or machine, as it interacts with enterprise applications and services,” as defined in Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring. In other words, DEM reframes the “customer” experience to include every human- or machine-generated interaction across your digital footprint, correlating these with application performance and business KPIs to capture the overall business value of your apps.

Gartner predicts enterprises will quadruple their APM functionality through 2021 to accommodate DEM. In the playbook, we explain how to create your own strategy.

The DevOps play

Another key tenant of digital transformation is DevOps, a movement designed to support agile software development.

When dev teams are siloed off from ops, you can expect ongoing performance problems in production. What you really want is ongoing application innovation and availability. In today’s digital business, the only way to continually meet customer needs with new features is to transform your software development lifecycle to a DevOps approach that promotes collaboration business-wide for faster, higher-quality releases.

And the rise of DevOps has already had a huge impact on the evolution of IT. As the demand for more and faster innovation increases, it’s helping organizations deploy more code more efficiently.

Still, few are evaluating the holistic impact of new code on application performance. In our survey, 91% of respondents said their monitoring tools only reveal how each release drives the performance of their own area of responsibility, drastically reducing visibility into and preparation for potential system-wide issues.

To monitor continuous improvement more effectively will require making it simpler for teams to get the data they want for their role in the DevOps lifecycle. The playbook provides a DevOps toolkit you can use for better visibility.

Download the playbook for step-by-step strategies

So, could your business benefit from one or more of these plays?

Download the playbook to dive into the strategic stuff. You’ll also find mini case studies and real-world advice from AppDynamics customers.

AppDynamics Team

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