Digital Business Requires Application Performance Management

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1 A Custom Technology Adoption Profile Commissioned By BMC Software January 2015 Digital Business Requires Application Performance Management Introduction Digital is transforming the rules of business success. Today, every business must transform into a digital business by exploiting digital technologies to provide external services that create new value for customers and internal services that optimize employee productivity. Applications are core to digital service delivery but increasingly complex to deliver and proactively manage. Multiple code platforms, hybrid cloud architectures, faster release cadences, and mobile requirements mean that guaranteeing application performance, availability, and experience is increasingly difficult for enterprises. Unfortunately, current digital service management approaches are insufficient to solve these rising complexity challenges. Today, enterprise approaches are too reactive, tactical, and fragmented, leading to a high frequency of application problems that have a direct impact on employee productivity and lose the business customers. The solution is an application performance management (APM) strategy that safeguards digital service performance and optimizes end user experience. The result is that the business brand is protected, while IT operations increases its reputation as a key partner in digital business transformation. This BMC Software-commissioned profile of US, UK, and German IT operations decision-makers evaluates the need for and use of application performance management solutions, based on Forrester s own market data and a custom study of the same audience.

2 2 Digital Transforms The Rules Of Business Success Today, the priorities for business success remain clear (see Figure 1). Firstly, improve customer experience and make sure that interactions, products, and services are easy, enjoyable, and meet needs from a customer perspective. Secondly, grow revenues by providing great products or services, and thirdly, control costs. While these priorities are clear, achieving success is becoming increasingly challenging as digital begins to permeate every aspect of business operations and redefines the rules of business success. This means that every business must transform into a digital business that continuously exploits digital technologies such as mobile and social to both create new value for customers and increase operational agility in the service of customers. Digital business operation means that: Your customers are digital. By 2017, 74% of the US adult online population will own smartphones and 46% will own tablets. 1 Digital technology powerfully changes how customers experience products and what they value. Mobile technologies mean that customers expect to be able to interact with your business at the swipe of a smartphone and touch of a mobile app in their moment of need. Your employees are digital. Employees' experiences as consumers shape their expectations in the workplace. They see access to mobile, social, and other applications as critical to efficiency, changing how they interact with each other, customers, and outside suppliers. Today, every business function is fueled by applications, meaning that digital technologies are key to workforce productivity. Your products are digital. Digital technologies create opportunities to add new services to physical products, opening doors to new experiences and revenue streams. Using real-time data from sensors, businesses are able to understand their customers and employees in greater detail than ever before. The result is that new business services can be delivered in context, creating a deeper personal relationship. Applications Are Core To Digital Services But Increasingly Complex To Manage Ultimately, the important aspect of digital services is not the smartphone, tablet, or wearable it s the application and its usability, performance, and availability. Applications fuel the digital channels that customers and employees use to access products or services. Today, websites and mobile FIGURE 1 Top Business Priorities Are To Improve The Customer Experience, Grow Revenue, And Reduce Costs Which of the following initiatives are likely to be your organization s top business priorities over the next 12 months? Critical priority High priority Moderate priority Low priority Not on our agenda Don t know Improve the experience of our customers 32% 44% 17% 5% 2% 1% Grow revenues 32% 40% 16% 6% 5% 1% 1% Reduce costs 26% 43% 24% 6% 1% Better comply with regulations and requirements 19% 34% 30% 12% 4% 1% Improve differentiation in the market 16% 32% 29% 13% 8% 2% Prepare our business for the impact of digital disruption 14% 27% 31% 17% 9% 2% Improve corporate environmental sustainability 12% 28% 33% 18% 7% 2% Base: 4,003 US, UK, and German enterprise technology decision-makers Note: Percentages may not total 100 because of rounding. Source: Forrester s Business Technographics Global Priorities And Journey Survey, 2014

3 3 apps are central to this; therefore, the application choices that businesses make are not only central to revenue generation but fundamental to brand reputation. The challenge is that digital service delivery brings rising application complexity caused by the following: Multiple code platforms. Today s web apps are visually rich and provide interactive experiences, which enables digital businesses to deliver services and products in innovative ways. The issue is that web apps are being developed using an increasing array of programming languages (see Figure 2). What s the result? Multiple languages equal more code issues that can cause performance, availability, and usability problems. Mobile-first necessity. Today, customers and employees take mobile devices with them as they would a watch, wallet, or handbag. Therefore, it s no surprise that Forrester s Business Technographics mobile IT survey shows that over half of IT decision-makers expect that their firm will deploy six or more mobile apps for customers, employees, and business partners over the next 12 months (see Figure 3). But managing the availability and performance of mobile apps is difficult because of multiple types of hardware, OSes, and network carriers. Also, user behavior in regards to mobile is not predictable, as users have the choice of whether to FIGURE 2 Web-Based Applications Are Becoming Increasingly Complex From A Code Platform Perspective How do you allocate the time you spend writing code across the following programming languages? (Mean % of time spent) HTML/CSS 12% Java 10% C++ 10% PL/SQL 9% C# 8% upgrade to the latest mobile app or stick with their existing one, meaning multiple app versions need to be supported. Hybrid cloud architectures. An application s performance, availability, and usability are greatly dependent on the infrastructure workload (server, storage, and network) that it sits on. But new cloud-based architecture techniques for infrastructure are leading to rising complexity. In a typical hybrid cloud environment, highly distributed application components may be running in environments not fully controlled by the business, resulting in difficulties managing application quality. Faster release cadence. All businesses in all industries are transforming into digital businesses. This shift is forcing businesses to stay ahead of their competition in regards to digital services. This means that Agile software development practices are a priority for faster and more frequent releases. More changes to a production environment means an increased possibility of application code or underlying infrastructure issues. FIGURE 3 Mobile Applications For Both Customers And Employees Are On The Rise How many new smartphone and tablet apps do you expect your firm will deploy for customers/business partners and employees over the next 12 months? 26 or more apps 8% 9% 16 to 25 apps 8% 10% 11 to 15 apps 6 to 10 apps 1 app None Don t know 5% 5% 8% 8% 11% 13% 9% 12% 20% 22% For customers/ business partners For employees 2 to 5 apps 25% 29% Base: 485 US, UK, and German enterprise IT decision-makers Source: Business Technographics Global Mobility Survey, 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Base: 464 US, UK, and German enterprise developers Note: top five responses shown Source: Business Technographics Global Developer Survey, 2014, Forrester Research, Inc.

4 4 Current Digital Service Management Approaches Don't Solve Rising Complexity Challenges Rising digital service complexity in regards to application delivery means that safeguarding application performance, availability, and usability is a digital business imperative. Today, IT operations needs to ensure that it can proactively manage digital service experience holistically, from the end user through to the application and to the back-end infrastructure workload, irrespective of whether it s onpremises or in a cloud-based environment. Equally, digital business operation means that IT operations has to proactively manage internal, employee-facing digital services and external, customer-facing digital services. The consequence of an ineffective approach here is simple: Digital service experience issues caused by underlying application or infrastructure problems results in either loss of employee productivity or loss of customers, resulting in lost revenue and damage to the brand of the business. Our custom survey shows that digital service management is a challenge for organizations today. Almost half of survey respondents stated that application complexity or multitiered applications with complex interdependencies are the primary challenge and obstacle in meeting application performance and availability expectations. 2 The following issues were also uncovered: Distributed, reactive, and tactical approaches. Over half (52%) of IT infrastructure and operation decisionmakers stated their investments in monitoring and management tools are reactive and tactical or distributed. 3 Such a fragmented approach leads to investments that don t reflect the business importance of monitoring and management. This results in duplicate or overlapping tools, which means more sources of data, confusion, and increased complexity. Additionally, this approach leads to the wrong culture among IT operations, as monitoring tools are used primarily to exonerate IT from blame rather than focus on the customers or employees currently affected by digital service issues. Frequent digital service failures. The result of a nonstrategic approach to digital service management is easily visible from the survey. Over half (57%) of IT infrastructure and operations professionals stated that their organization suffers from business-critical application performance and availability problems at least weekly and at worst, hourly (see Figure 4). In today s digital business, these problems reduce employee productivity and shatter customer experiences. FIGURE 4 Over Half Of Organizations Suffer From Business-Critical Application Performance And Availability Problems At Least Weekly How frequently do business-critical application performance or availability problems occur in your organization? 22% 29% 26% 57% 11% 6% 7% 0% Hourly Daily Weekly Monthly Quarterly Less than quarterly Never Base: 90 US, UK, and German IT operations and infrastructure decision-makers responsible for business-critical applications or IT services Note: Percentages may not total 100 because of rounding Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of BMC Software, November 2014

5 5 Major impacts on the business. The impact of poor performance and availability is profound on the business (see Figure 5). The custom survey highlights that firstly, issues lead to a loss of business user productivity. Simply, if your employees can t work, then the business ceases to function. Secondly, poor performance and availability cause a loss of time and productivity in the IT department as IT professionals scramble to find the root cause of application issues. Thirdly, and most worryingly for the business, poor performance and availability for critical applications results in a direct loss of clients due to poor image. This leads to long-lasting impacts on the brand image and reputation of the business. Application Performance Management Is A Required Digital Business Capability In summary, the custom survey highlights that current approaches to digital service performance, availability, and usability management are not suited to the needs of today s digital businesses in fact, they increase the complexity of delivering digital services successfully. To improve, IT infrastructure and operations professionals must make digital service management a priority. Digital service management is underpinned by an APM strategy that utilizes monitoring and management tools. Our survey shows that the top desired monitoring/management solution capabilities are (see Figure 6): Rapid root-cause analysis. When an application problem occurs in relation to a key digital service, then employees and customers are affected, leaving the business vulnerable. This means that rapid mean-time-toresolution (MTTR) of application issues is a necessity. Therefore, it s no surprise that the top solution feature requested is the ability to rapidly perform root-cause FIGURE 5 Poor End User Performance Of Critical Apps Reduces Business And IT Productivity, Revenue What are the top three impacts of poor end user performance or availability in regards to your most critical applications? Loss of confidence in the app that supports the business process Total % Loss of business user productivity 27% 16% 17% 59% Loss of time and productivity in the IT department 17% 24% 16% 57% Loss of clients and business due to poor image 13% 10% 19% 42% Important loss of business revenue 14% 13% 14% 42% Client dissatisfaction with the company 11% 17% 12% 40% 10% 12% 14% 37% None of the above: 6% Don t know: 2% Base: 90 US, UK, and German IT operations and infrastructure decision-makers responsible for business-critical applications or IT services Note: Percentages may not total 100 because of rounding. Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of BMC Software, November 2014

6 6 FIGURE 6 Top Desired Monitoring/Management Solution Capabilities Which monitoring/management solution features do you think would help to guarantee that application performance and availability expectations are met? The ability to rapidly perform root-cause analysis if a performance or availability issue occurs The ability to do deep-dive analysis of infrastructure and application components The ability to avoid or predict potential performance or availability issues before they have impact on end user The ability to integrate all monitoring data on a customizable dashboard to foster cooperation between IT support and development Total % 12% 6% 14% 9% 9% 50% The ability to automatically fix availability or performance issues 12% 17% 4% 10% 3% 47% 7% 7% 9% 10% 11% 43% 14% 4% 7% 3% 10% 39% 10% 7% 10% 6% 6% 38% The ability to monitor enterprise business applications 6% 6% 9% 9% 7% 36% The ability to correlate application performance to employee productivity 6% 7% 8% 3% 7% 30% The ability to correlate application performance to business revenue and/or profit The ability to collect and analyze all application transactions 8% 4%3% 8% 6% 29% 2% 8% 6% 4% 8% 28% The ability to map applications to infrastructure components 3% 6% 4% 6% 4% 23% 2% The ability to monitor mobile and web-based applications 3%3% 7% 7% 22% 1% The ability to monitor an end user s experience of applications 6% 8% 7% 21% 2% 2% An open source or limited freemium solution 6% 6% 2% 18% A deployment model that supports SaaS or on-premises 3%3%3%3%3% 17% depending on the environment 1% Solid case studies for my industry and a strong customer community 3%4%4% 2% 16% Base: 90 US, UK, and German IT operations and infrastructure decision-makers responsible for business-critical applications or IT services Note: Percentages may not total 100 because of rounding. Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of BMC Software, November 2014 analysis if a performance or availability issue occurs. Good APM solutions are able to pinpoint digital service issues quickly, highlighting whether root cause is down to a consumer device, the application, or the back-end infrastructure workload. Automation to fix issues. Identifying the cause of a digital service issue is important, but fixing the problem or providing a workaround for the customer or employee is the real priority. The custom survey highlighted that almost half (47%) of IT infrastructure and operations decision-makers believe that the ability to automatically fix availability or performance issues is a top monitoring/management solution feature. At the basic level, a good APM solution should provide run-book or task automation features that automatically run a scriptbased action based on an alert or error event to fix simple issues. But great APM solutions provide or integrate with process automation solutions that are able to trigger more complex responses involving many tasks related to a process, such as spinning up additional virtual machines based on application demand. Deep-dive analysis of infrastructure and applications. Rapid digital service issue resolution is key to limiting the impact of digital service problems. But this is still a reactive approach to digital service management. The reality is that customers and employees don t expect digital services to fail in the first place. Therefore, it s essential that APM solutions are able to help IT infrastructure and operations professionals make forwardlooking insights in order to optimize digital services, not just safeguard performance and availability. The third desired feature discovered by the custom survey, the ability to do deep-dive analysis of infrastructure and application components, reflects this requirement. APM solutions must make it easy for IT infrastructure and operations professionals to analyze infrastructure and application components in order to optimize capacity, change, and release management processes.

7 7 Conclusion Today s digital businesses are fueled by applications. The reality is that the application choices that a company makes are central to the quality of digital services provided to customers and employees. This means that application performance management is a digital business necessity. When making choices in regards to APM solutions, IT infrastructure and operations professionals must: Realize that great APM is about proactive insight. Historically, the core requirement for any APM solution is to rapidly identify the root cause if a digital service issue arises. But today s customers expect digital services to be available and perform well anytime and anywhere. This means that IT operations professionals should look for solutions that provide the ability to make forward-looking insights through analytic features. The aim is not only to avoid performance, availability, or usability issues from occurring in the first place, but to help make decisions that will improve the end user experience. Involve relevant business units. The importance of applications in relation to business success means that APM solutions are not just useful for IT infrastructure and operations professionals. Great APM solutions are able to provide information and insights in the context of the audience to other business units such as marketing and ecommerce via easily creatable dashboards. Therefore, IT infrastructure and operations professionals should collaborate with customerfacing business units in order to create dashboards that marry business information such as revenue and user engagement data with performance, availability, and usability information in order to optimize digital strategy. Methodology This Technology Adoption Profile was commissioned by BMC Software. To create this profile, Forrester leveraged its Business Technographics Global Priorities And Journey Survey, 2014; Business Technographics Global Developer Survey, 2014; and Business Technographics Global Mobility Survey, Forrester Consulting supplemented this data with custom survey questions asked of 90 US, UK, and German enterprise IT operations and infrastructure decision-makers. Survey respondents included decision-makers responsible for the performance and availability of their organizations businesscritical applications or IT services. The auxiliary custom survey was conducted in November For more information on Forrester s data panel and Tech Industry Consulting services, visit Endnotes 1 Source: Forrester Research World Smartphone Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global), Forrester Research, Inc., February 11, 2013 and Forrester Research World Tablet Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global), Forrester Research, Inc., January 16, Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of BMC Software, November Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of BMC Software, November 2014.

8 8 ABOUT FORRESTER CONSULTING Forrester Consulting provides independent and objective research-based consulting to help leaders succeed in their organizations. Ranging in scope from a short strategy session to custom projects, Forrester s Consulting services connect you directly with research analysts who apply expert insight to your specific business challenges. For more information, visit forrester.com/consulting. 2015, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. For additional information, go to 1-S2TAXL

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