Internet of Things: The 3 Whys of IoT

Businesses are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables them to get closer to their users by delivering services right to the edge—think sensors on a remote oil pipeline, or the smartwatch or fitness band on your wrist—for a better customer experience. The number of IoT-connected devices worldwide is expected to nearly triple in just six years, from 26.66 billion today to 75.44 billion in 2025.

This explosive growth will continue for the foreseeable future, too, as surging demand for connected-IoT hardware expands across consumer, business and industrial markets. According to ReportLinker, a French market research firm, Europe by 2020 will be the global leader in terms of IoT usage, accounting for 36% of all connections, followed by the Americas at 28%.

Why IoT is Complex

Although the Internet of Things delivers tangible benefits, the ROI, integration and management of this burgeoning ecosystem is not only complex, it also can be a barrier to market growth, services adoption and organisational change. Edge devices contain a wealth of information, but too often they’re seen as a black box and are underutilized. When performance problems occur, businesses lack diagnostic tools for real-time visibility. And while edge devices deliver a critical avenue of interaction with customers, they often require a large initial investment and a lengthy, uncertain ROI.

Why AppDynamics for IoT

Cisco and AppDynamics understand the IoT is a crucial strategy for many businesses. We seek to help drive your digital transformation efforts by demystifying IoT services. Digital transformation is about simplifying the customer experience, an effort involving significant investment and greater backend complexity and distribution, including more dependencies and an exponential impact on scale. The question therein lies: How can this complexity be understood?

Here’s where AppDynamics helps some of the world’s largest enterprises understand their customer interaction. The only constant is what customers do. Every touch or click sets off a transaction with the potential to initiate thousands of lines of code, and trigger hundreds of API calls that connect tens of hundreds of interconnected microservices, each residing in a different location and leveraging multiple container-clustering technologies.

With AppDynamics, you can unlock the value of IoT by following the Business Journey from start to finish, understanding the behaviour of embedded application devices, networks and users. By harnessing real-time visibility and end-to-end monitoring for edge devices and gateways with business correlation, you can better understand device performance, communication, and interaction—both in capturing data and diagnosing how business objectives are impacted.


End-to-end visibility, from IoT device to backend.

Typical IoT use cases include:

  • Edge Performance Monitoring: Monitor the health of devices with critical metrics such as errors, network requests and usage, whilst correlating this data with business performance indicators.
  • Device and User Segmentation: Gain insight into specific devices, platforms, data and users to ensure a consistent user experience across all segments.
  • Release Validation: Obtain empirical evidence of how a software release impacts not only performance, but also the business.
  • SLA Compliance: Ensure devices are compliant. Send the right data on time, consistently and to the correct endpoints.

At AppDynamics, we don’t just make the IoT comprehendible, we go one step further and correlate insights collected from IoT endpoints with business-relevant data to provide context. This helps organisations:

  • Drive down operational cost
  • Reduce downtime by offering remote diagnostics
  • Increase operational efficiency and insight by knowing what IoT devices are in use, and what data is being sent, how often, and when

Why IoT is Important Now

The accurate market perception of IoT is that it’s a necessity—a key component of digital transformation. Whether a business is looking to reimagine the ways it interacts with customers, or is moving from one business model to another, the IoT is usually a core part of that transformation. Whether a customer is an automobile manufacturer, a bank, a credit card processing intermediary, an industrial robot manufacturer, or a retailer with POS devices, the IoT is present.

Every business is looking at how the IoT can be leveraged, introducing new levels of complexity to an already intricate ecosystem. It’s estimated that 50 billion devices will be online by 2020, whereas only 0.06% of all devices are actually being leveraged as connected devices, according to Cisco. With the Internet of Things at the epicentre of most organisations’ digital transformation strategies, the IoT represents an enormous investment from the business, with equal levels of opportunity.

Bain predicts the IoT market will more than double between 2017 and 2021—from $235B to a staggering $520B. There are, of course, barriers that limit the adoption of IoT analytics solutions, including market competition. But putting that to one side, all vendors will experience similar limitations with IoT adoption, including security issues, integration with existing technology, and uncertain ROI, Bain forecasts.

AppDynamics offers many advantages here. Consider return on IoT investment: AppDynamics’ BusinessIQ makes this determination far easier by correlating the performance of IoT services with business performance indicators, carving a realistic route to ROI.

When it comes to IT/OT integration and security, Cisco provides best-in-class solutions. And as part of Cisco’s portfolio, AppDynamics can deliver a cohesive IoT solution to our joint customer base.

Learn how AppDynamics IoT monitoring can provide real-time visibility, diagnostics, and analytics for your connected device applications.

Business Journeys: Monitoring Complex Business Workflows

AppDynamics is known for viewing application performance data through the lens of business transactions that provide perfect context to application and business performance. With the launch of Business iQ, we provided a real-time solution for business owners to identify, analyze, and report key business metrics, along with APM metrics.

The primary goal of Business iQ is unified monitoring – to deliver a common platform for application teams, including business owners, developers, and Ops – to communicate and make faster, data-driven decisions that matter the most to businesses.

AppDynamics Business iQ can ingest data from multiple data sources, including events generated by AppDynamics agents like business transaction events, log events, end-user events, as well as events sent to Business iQ using REST APIs. As a result, users can perform complex analytics on data from these different sources and events.

As customer demands for flawless services rise, application teams need to evaluate the success of a business process holistically. The challenge, however, has been the lack of an efficient, unified view to both business users (who want a 10,000-ft. view) and IT (who want granular code-level information) for an entire business process that spans multiple applications, services, or events. There isn’t a tool available in the market that provides this integrated view for an end-to-end process due to the complex, multi-part business workflows that exist in almost every industry.

Consider this example of a loan application approval process that spans different event types and applications, with multiple milestones linked together to underline a user journey.

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In this workflow, “Application Submission” information could come from business transaction events, whereas “Document Verification” status could come from logs. “Credit Approval” and “Underwriting” are performed by third-party service providers and the status could be updated in logs as well. “Final Approval” status could then be updated in transaction events.

The example above is a simplistic, linear representation of a typical loan application process, and even then, there is tremendous complexity in monitoring these individual milestones and performing analytics on the aggregated business workflow. This complexity is seen across various industries and workflows where the business journey can last for hours, or sometimes days. This includes insurance claims, cell phone activation, payment transfers, and more.

AppDynamics aims to solve these complex business processes by providing a unified, end-to-end application view with Business Journeys.

Business Journeys

AppDynamics Business Journeys is another example of AppDynamics’ commitment to providing the most granular application performance data, translated in business terms, for business users and their IT colleagues.

AppDynamics Business iQ users can currently query and visualize data for all AppDynamics event types, and we’re extending similar analytical capabilities for Business Journeys. Business Journeys’ composite events can also be used to create eXperience Levels (another exciting feature released in 4.4) to monitor and report key business and end-user metrics.

Authoring a business journey is a straight-forward, one-time activity. Users only need to define the data for key milestones or steps in the business journey and a distinct primary key to uniquely identify and tie together these independent milestones. For example, the different milestones in a loan application business journey are defined above as “application submission,” “document verification,” “credit check,” etc. What’s more, data for each milestone can come from different applications and different AppDynamics event types (business transactions, logs, or end user events).

Apart from the default information collected by Business Journeys, such as total time taken, event time stamp, etc., users can also extract additional business information (such as customer details, loan amount, loan type, etc.) from the various data collectors.

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With Business Journeys, users can also define the business workflow thresholds for “Normal,” “Slow,” “Very Slow,” “Stalled,” and “Error.” Composite events are automatically compared against the set thresholds, and the events are classified accordingly for analytics and visual representation. These health values are calculated on the total time taken to complete the milestones in a business journey. For example, a business journey is classified as “Slow” when the time for completion is three standard deviations greater than the value for all journeys in last two hours. These thresholds can be customized as needed.

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After configuring key business workflows, the composite Business Journeys events are created during data ingestion, and hence, provide a real-time view of the application workflow. The feature allows application performance bottlenecks to be resolved based on key business metrics and reduces the mean time to business awareness (MTBA). For example, the marketing department can minimize customer churn by running timely promotions or offering discounts to customers impacted by a slowdown in the payments API.

Below are a few dashboards created for a loan application Business Journey, using the powerful AppDynamics query language (ADQL) and visualization options of Business iQ.

Today, Business Journeys can help modern enterprises from all industries solve critical business workflows. And we’re continuously improving the feature to address even more complex business journeys. Keep an eye on our future releases for exciting updates to Business Journeys.

Guruprasad Tahasildar, Staff Software Engineer at Appdynamics, also contributed to this blog post.