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Application performance management: Keeping an eye on the end-user prize

IT shops charged to improve customer satisfaction and avoid business disruption during economic downturn.

Network/Systems Management Alert Network World
July 20, 2009 07:00 AM ET
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Industry analysis by Beth Schultz, plus the latest news headlines.

Network managers in 2009 find themselves working to cut costs and improve service levels by keeping a close watch on application performance where it matters most – at the end-user desktop

Application performance management from the client’s point of view

The economic downturn is driving many in IT to reduce spending and optimize existing resources, but that didn’t lessen the need to deliver optimal application performance to the end-user community that IT supports. In fact, some network managers could be feeling more pressure to monitor application performance as executive management expects IT to keep the business running without disruption -- despite a lack of budget dollars.

“The top pressures this year were to improve customer service and to mitigate the disruption of key business processes,” reads the June 2009 Aberdeen Group report, “Monitoring the End-User Experience.” “In today’s economic climate, the top pressures are centered on revenue and removing any distractions associated with revenue, whereas last year’s pressures were centered on internal capabilities and processes.”

The research firm surveyed 125 enterprise IT groups to learn how they tackle application performance management. Close to 70% perform internal systems monitoring of the infrastructure. Sixty percent internally monitor applications and 39% use agentless/passive monitoring tools to track application performance. Just more than one-third of respondents use tools that perform active end-user performance monitoring via synthetic transactions. And 31% monitor application performance with services that work outside of the corporate firewall.

Aberdeen Group analysts also polled business managers to understand how they believe application performance management should be handled. While 54% of IT respondents polled said they monitor level of application performance SLA achievements, 44% of business managers surveyed said the same. Thirty-five percent of business users said they would prioritize the business application monitored and 23% of IT managers polled agreed. More than 30% of business managers said they would map business processes to business-critical application, and just 17% of IT managers indicated the same response. And 38% if IT managers said they would provide actionable performance information to key stakeholders and 27% of business representatives said the same.

The responses reveal a divide that could prove a challenge when trying to monitor application performance management from the end-user perspective, according to Aberdeen Group. The disconnect between the two groups could leave some organizations without information critical to optimizing application performance -- the end-user experience.

“The business respondents took a process-based approach to their application management while the IT respondents were more likely to focus on the operation concerns based on the application and infrastructure,” the report reads. “While both are important, this split in priorities result in each side only partially being able to understand the totality of the end-user experience.”

Schultz is a longtime IT journalist. You can email her or find her here.

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