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Defeating the loading wheel: Is APM enough to keep your customers happy?

Digital consumer experience, or perhaps more accurately, perception of digital consumer experience is rapidly becoming a differentiator for businesses.

Although this initial statement sounds simple, a functioning digital experience needs to actually deliver a meaningful outcome.  Any disruption during the purchasing of products and services will stop customers from doing the one thing you want them to be doing in the first place: buying. You only have to look to the world’s largest retailer for a sense of revenue impact. Last year Amazon was hit with a one-hour outage, preventing their users from completing transactions on Prime Day. The impact? An eye-watering $99 million. With those figures in mind, it’s safe to say that application and service up-time means big money for any organization.

Unlike times of old, where users were willing to wait for their transactions to complete, innovation has now spoiled the end user with heightened expectations of an instant digital consumer experience. Never-ending loading wheels, failed transactions and hopeful requests to “Please Try Again” are no longer tolerated. Faced with any form of delay, we as consumers now demand instant gratification and voice this directly with our spending; we take our business elsewhere. A perception of reliable, consistent and responsive application experience can not only prevent customer churn, it can also help build a premium differentiated brand reputation. Think of brands like Uber, Apple or Spotify – all of whom are associated with simple and intuitive digital consumer experience. Such hyper-focus on customer experience begins to position each as de-facto choices in their respective sectors. You need only look at metrics such as market share, Net Promoter Score (NPS) ratings and revenue growth to see the tangible benefits.

How do I build a winning digital consumer experience?

Along with well-designed UI and UXs, application performance is a key contributor to a winning digital consumer experience. Fortunately for businesses, there is a wealth of emerging and disruptive technology dedicated to assuring application performance, commonly known as Application Performance Management (APM).

Given the direct bottom line implications at stake, investing in a reputed and established product is key. With a rubber stamp of approval from Gartner, wide adoption across Enterprise businesses and 19 of the 20 largest Global Financials onboarded, Cisco’s AppDynamics is the clear leader in assuring application performance and avoiding the infamous loading wheel.

Figure 1 - AppDynamics uses a clean graphical interface to provide a complete view on application performance

With a laser focus on scalability, usability and optimized performance monitoring, AppDynamics provides IT teams with the ability to drill down to the exact lines of code responsible for the errors and bottlenecks that impact digital consumer experience. Gone are the days of inefficient war rooms and reactive trial and error solutioning; instead AppDynamics' lightweight and easy-to-deploy agents provide a layer of dynamic visibility never before seen in the market. WWT’s resident APM subject matter expert, Tanner Bechtel, helps to add color to how AppDynamics and WWT are improving digital consumer experience with sponsorship at the board room level.

Is APM the answer?

Well, yes and no. AppDynamics will go a long way in ensuring your applications are architected and written well. However, there is an additional step involved in an organization’s ambition to defeat the loading wheel and that is assuring your business-critical applications are getting the correct resources from supporting infrastructure, as and when they need them. For example, if your key applications have been well written, but the virtual machines they run on do not have enough processing power during peak usage hours to support load, you will be left in the blind as to what is causing standstill digital consumer experiences. Enter Application Resource Management (ARM), and specifically, Turbonomic.

Figure 2 - Turbonomic, similar to AppDynamics, employs a simple and easy-to-use interface, emphasising the attention given to usability

Turbonomic is a disruptive software solution with the unique ability to monitor the complete application stack, leveraging real-time data to drive automated micro-adjustments required to ensure that critical applications always get the resources they need. Similar to AppDynamics, Turbonomic is simple to deploy and leverages a supply and demand model whereby infrastructure resources are viewed as a supplier in serving application demands. Turbonomic’s output can be applied to an array of prominent use cases including forward planning for cloud migrations, optimizing cloud spend through correct workload placement and sizing, and acceleration towards cloud-native and containerized architectures. Within the context of digital consumer experience assurance, Turbonomic’s natural partnership, and effective joint proposition with AppDynamics, delivers IT teams with a proactive, intelligent workflow covering the full application stack.

Figure 3. An example workflow depicting how AppDynamics and Turbonomic detect and re-mediate performance issues before they reach the end user.

Identify: AppDynamics detects that errors per minute has exceeded what is deemed to be normal and acceptable for over a one-minute period, indicating a possible application issue.

Correlate: Turbonomic polls AppDynamics on a regular basis, thus triggering an inspection of underlying infrastructure for the impacted application in real time. Turbonomic detects that the Virtual Machine on which the application sits is out of memory.

Action: Turbonomic leverages in-built intelligence to generate an action to reallocate memory to the identified Kubernetes container. Due to established policy configuration, the re-allocation is automated without the need for manual intervention.

Now think back to your organization and the applications which cause your IT teams the most pain. Do you often find yourself in the midst of an alert storm any time there is an issue with your critical applications? Or perhaps, you find yourself overprovisioning infrastructure “just to be sure” your apps will perform as required. The integration of an APM solution like AppDynamics with an ARM solution like Turbonomic can help remove the guesswork for your IT teams, optimize application performance and ultimately keep your end users happy.

WWT’s deep experience and expertise in infrastructure, paired with unrivalled partnerships with both AppDynamics and Turbonomic, position us well as the partner of choice. WWT specializes in turning idea into outcome for clients, and the journey to assured performance starts with our unique Advanced Technology Centre (ATC). The ATC is a collaborative ecosystem to design, build, educate, demonstrate and deploy innovative technology products and integrated architectural solutions for our clients, partners and employees.

Get access to a customized solution demonstration of AppDynamics integrated with Turbonomic and see the value in real-time by connecting with me today.