One of the truths of our industry is that if the CIO has a recent technical background it is almost always in the area of applications, and virtually never in WANs. Another truth is that a company's business and functional managers care much more about the applications that they use on a regular basis than they do about any component of the IT infrastructure, including the WAN. Since these are the people who either set or heavily influence the IT budget, we need to make sure that they are satisfied with what they get from IT.In particular, WAN managers need to be able to relate the WAN to what these senior managers care about - applications.One way that WAN managers can do this is by benchmarking any major new application that the company is in the process of deploying. By major new application, we mean an application that is highly visible. Another way of looking at this is that an application is highly visible if one or more senior managers would get upset if it did not perform well.There are many reasons for benchmarking a company's major new applications. One is to get a thorough understanding of how that application is likely to perform once it is put into production. WAN managers can use this information to set the expectations of the company's business and functional managers who will be using that application. For example, the benchmarking may indicate that the application is likely to perform well if it is accessed from inside the U.S., but is not\u00a0likely to perform well if accessed internationally. This information can also be input into a discussion of whether or not to host the application in multiple data centers around the world.In the next newsletter, we will discuss other reasons to benchmark applications as well as how companies can perform application benchmarking.