Poor application performance translates to lost revenue, research shows

* Poor application performance creates more than headaches for end users and network managers

Poor application performance causes more than headaches for end users trying to access resources and network managers hoping to keep workers productive. It impacts a business bottom line and equals lost revenue to many organizations, a recent Aberdeen Research study shows.

Aberdeen Research polled more than 200 organizations between May and June 2008 to learn more about how application performance is managed and what happens when it doesn't perform as expected by the business. Nearly 60% of the organizations polled reported that they were not satisfied with the performance of business critical applications and survey respondents said issues with application performance are impacting corporate revenue by up to 9%.

The reasons behind the application performance woes are many. Nearly 60% of survey respondents reported the inability to identify issues before end users are impacted as a top challenge when dealing with applications. More than 50% said the increased complexity of applications challenged them, and 37% said they were unable to measure service-level agreements and application performance. Some 34% reported an inability to test application performance in pre-production stages and close to one-third said an increase in the complexity of network traffic caused problems managing application performance.

The effects the business experiences due to the challenge of managing application performance are also numerous. For instance, 58% of respondents said they experience declined employee satisfaction. Half of those surveyed said they lost revenue opportunities because of poorly performing applications. Some 47% indicated that they had decreased responsiveness to the needs of external customers and 32% said they experienced damage to their brand reputation. And 31% found that their IT staff also lost effectiveness due to subpar application performance.

Aberdeen also found that organizations are planning to increase the number of business critical applications by 67% over the next 12 months (from six on average to 10 applications), but concerns over how to manage the additional load might hold them back. For instance, close to 70% are worried that adding new applications will increase the consumption of network capacity. Forty-five percent are concerned about a lack of visibility into application performance, and 41% have issues with rolling out new applications without them being tested. Close to 40% think application acceleration tools won't be enough to guarantee performance and 38% said that complex Internet applications could negatively impact performance. Some 31% believe virtualization of applications and data storage (Compare Storage Virtualization products) would further challenge application performance management, Aberdeen's study found.

"All of the top concerns surrounding application performance could be summarized as: lack of network capacity, lack of visibility into network and application performance visibility into quality of end-user experience, and an increase in the complexity of applications," the Aberdeen report reads.

What application performance problems challenge you most? What can be done to keep applications performing as planned? Let me know.

Ones to watch: Each year I compile a list of the hottest IT management start-ups to hit the network industry. I have my eye on a few newcomers, and this year, I want to hear from you. What start-up that is about 18 months old has got you interested? Which vendors offer an innovative new approach to an old network headache? Is there a young company tackling a new problem the established vendors can't seem to get their arms around? Please share your thoughts and insight with me.

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