How Real-Time Data Can Drive Better Business Outcomes

July 29 2019

The rapid rate of change in data and analytics is only moving faster. So how can businesses make sense of it all to improve application performance and the bottom line?

It’s very challenging for companies today to undergo digital transformation without interrupting the daily flow of business. And yet the adoption of new digital technologies is required to keep pace with new, more nimble competitors in every marketplace.

Like it or not, the modern consumer expects digital interactions. And if these interactions are not seamless, your customers will go elsewhere. For example: 

  • 53% of users abandon an app that takes longer than 3 seconds to load, a Google study found
  • 86% of users delete apps that perform poorly, according to a Kleiner Perkins study
  • 28% will switch to a competitor if the app is slow (Kleiner Perkins)


Customers demand the same capabilities and experiences they’ve come to expect when interacting with retail, entertainment, travel and financial companies. But even if you don’t directly compete with tech giants such as Google, Facebook or Uber, you do compete with them from a user-experience perspective. Typically, this means 24/7 service—anytime, anywhere and on any digital device.

Digital platforms provide businesses the power to personalize and strengthen connections with customers through new offerings and services. For the business, the goal is not only to deliver the best user experience, but also to collect data which, combined with the right analytical tools, can deliver insights to improve the user experience in new and innovative ways.

In talking with AppDynamics’ customers, I’ve found that these are the top four strategic priorities for developing business processes to enhance the digital experience:

  1. Analytics: What real-time data can you leverage from your applications to optimize business processes?
  2. Artificial Intelligence: How can you leverage AI and machine learning to ensure that these processes operate as quickly and efficiently as possible?
  3. Internet of Things: How do you leverage data from IoT devices, including wearables and connected cars, to gauge how the IoT impacts application and business performance?
  4. New products and services: How do you leverage technology and analytics to support new offerings in your industry?


Many companies have made investments in analytics and, more broadly, in improving the digital experience. But while businesses have embraced the app as an essential means of customer interaction, many fear they’re not getting the most from their data. In fact, only 29% of businesses believe they’re skilled at connecting analytics results to business outcomes, a Forrester Research study found.

A major complication is finding an effective way to connect application performance to business outcomes. For example, all businesses use some type of business intelligence (BI) tools to glean insight from their data. But typically these tools are backwards-looking, providing dated insights such as whether last quarter’s sales for your new product line were on target.

Case Study: Insurance 

To illustrate my point, I’d like to take a quick look at the insurance industry, where the traditional business model, though remarkably resilient, is undergoing a dramatic digital transformation. The proliferation of mobile devices—the basis for business with the millennial generation—is transforming insurance with easier, more cost-effective processes. The old interaction model—a customer calls an insurer, answers a bunch of questions, and then obtains a quote—is changing to one where the customer goes online and gets a quote within minutes, either directly from the insurer or via a third-party.

Digital platforms offer insurers the power to personalize and strengthen connections with their customers through new services. In addition, insurers can use data analytics to gain deeper insights, explore new business models, and reduce risk and fraud.

So with all the innovation and new players in the industry, how does an insurance provider differentiate? By making all services digital—everything from account creation, underwriting and policy approval to payments and claims—and extending the customer experience to mobile platforms.

Sounds great, right? But if your analytics tools aren’t examining what’s happening now, but rather looking at last week’s or last quarter’s data, you’re not getting a real-time view of the customer experience. To make matters worse, insurers (and other businesses) may rely on a motley assortment of siloed teams and tools to stitch together application and business data, with hopes of gaining insight from it later.

Why Legacy APM Tools Won’t Cut It   

From an operations perspective, legacy application performance monitoring (APM) tools are able to see what the application health looks like, including:

  • Are response times of key transactions good or bad? 
  • Are error rates normal? 
  • Are the nodes connected to our new API healthy?


But when the application is experiencing issues, legacy APM often lacks the business metrics and understanding of how the customer is being impacted. You might know there’s some kind of application problem, but you’re unable to see the full scope of the problem and how it’s impacting the business.

So what’s missing? Context. The ability to know both what’s happening with the business and, more importantly, why it’s happening.  

The Three Keys: Context, Action, Unity

The real-time transaction data that provides context—in addition to enabling you to quickly detect and repair low-level application bottlenecks—can help create new business opportunities.

To drive these business gains, you need an APM solution that:

  • Provides context in real time: Allowing you to see how application performance is impacting your key business metrics. 
  • Enables you to take action: You know quickly if an app is causing performance degradation. If it is, you can pinpoint the root cause, ideally before it impacts your customers. 
  • Unifies siloed teams: Too often IT teams don’t work together. Giving siloed groups a single source of truth encourages cross-team conversation and collaboration, enabling them to understand the context of application and business performance. 


AppDynamics Business iQ delivers immediate, clear, actionable correlations between application performance, user experience, and business outcomes. By helping your organization navigate the complex journey of digital transformation, Business iQ enables you to reach key business goals, provide new ways to engage with people, and elevate the customer experience.

For an in-depth look at how Business iQ can help the insurance industry and other verticals, check out the recent AppDynamics webinar I did with Kingsley Hughes-Morgan, Manager for Emerging Technologies at AppDynamics.

James Kistler
James Kistler is Senior Manager of Business iQ GTM Strategy at AppDynamics, focusing on strategic initiatives for business analytics. James works with customers and prospects to connect application performance and business outcomes, helping IT organizations transition from servicing to driving the business. Prior to joining AppDynamics, James spent more than 10 years at Blue Cross Blue Shield in multiple IT planning leadership roles.

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