Paul Higley is the Regional Vice President for UK and Ireland at Riverbed Technology with overall responsibility for Riverbed’s sales and go-to-market strategy in the region.
Opinions expressed by EM360 contributors are their own.
The ability to immediately respond to customer demand at a moment’s notice, without losing focus or momentum, is becoming a goal for businesses of all sizes, across multiple industries and markets. This is as it should be. After all, business agility often goes hand-in-hand with efficiency and profitability, and achieving this goal more often than not means the company has been able to successfully leverage business-critical technology to increase its productivity and ensure the business is running at an optimal level. The question is, what technology is the biggest enabler or inhibitor of business agility?
The answer of course, is applications. But in order for them to be business agility enablers, end-to-end visibility of the application performance has become critical. For example, finding the source of performance delays for customer facing advisors, and correcting those delays with minimal to no impact on the end-user experience or without expecting them to report the issue, cannot be underestimated in achieving and maintaining business agility. In order to be able to do this, organisations need to take advantage of performance monitoring.
These tools provide IT and business decision makers with better visibility into their cloud and application performance. Today, having proper performance monitoring is essential for providing visibility into all areas of application performance, ensuring that all aspects of the business are running optimally. The right solution will also provide decision makers with insight into the entire application development and delivery process – bringing with it an invaluable understanding of how to manage resources and deadlines – so that efficiencies can be exploited and costs minimised.
Taking advantage of cloud technologies will not only bring efficiency improvements but also help restrict costs associated with application development and real-time production environments. But, like so many other technology movements of their time, the move to cloud does not come without its fair share of challenges.
With applications themselves becoming more complex, data resources are also for more diverse and disparate than they were even five years ago, and end users – who almost all use high tech equipment in a personal capacity – today expect low to zero latency and 24/7 availability. You also have to consider that the delivery chain that produces and supports apps has radically shifted with the increasing adoption of more agile DevOps processes. All of these elements might be fostering communication and collaboration across the business, but together they have also massively disrupted the foundation of the traditional development and operations groups.
This is why visibility is paramount. The right performance monitoring solution will provide a clear understanding of the behaviour from the systems that support the application to the end-user experience – a complete view of what is happening and how to quickly resolve issues. True end-to-end visibility provides multiple benefits including a greater level of business agility, the ability to become a competitive differentiator for the business, as well as added attention to application development and production by IT. All of these elements combined will ensure that stronger performance management processes and policies can be implemented, thus increasing collaboration across all lines of business. These are the benefits that any executive or manager would be happy to achieve individually. However, for a business as a whole it can be a real game changer.
When planning delivers results
With the right performance monitoring solution in place, the IT and the development division can become the true heroes of a cloud-first business strategy. A development team that is close to the technology of its business through greater visibility, and understands its overall objectives, will be able to deliver far superior end-user experience.
From a development viewpoint, embracing cloud technologies is proven to be transformative and adopting a comprehensive performance monitoring strategy for these technologies can provide a multitude of valuable benefits:
• Clearly being able to understanding performance, through visibility, during the development process allows teams to meet application timelines and reduce issues;
• Quick, proactive problem resolution, allows for increased availability and reductions to both resolution timelines and negative user experience.
Greater visibility into the performance of cloud-based technologies in all areas, will allow for business agility goals to become a reality and lead to success.