Who Needs Application Performance Management?

In the tech world, there’s a lot of talk regarding application performance management and what businesses and enterprises benefit from its principles. While the most general answer to this question is, “All businesses and websites that utilize applications within the user experience,” there is a far more complex and dynamic answer.

With the increase of applications being used in critical transactions, and the complexity of modern application environments, it’s become far more difficult to manually monitor and manage application performances. If your business utilizes an application at any point within site infrastructure, then application performance management is not only recommended, but required for continual uptime and performance quality.

IT Organizations Best Suited for APM Solutions

In the most general of senses, application performance management solutions are ideal for IT organizations responsible for the performance and uptime of business applications that are critical for its functionality. Therefore, if a business utilizes an application that can positively or negatively impact company brand, an APM solution must be implemented.

While most people believe that only businesses who utilize eCommerce techniques require APM solutions, the fact of the matter is the majority of online businesses (whether they feature an eCommerce portal or not) require some level of application performance management and monitoring.

The most common example of the type of business that benefits most from APM solutions is a company who requires communication between many departments. For example, many airlines utilize an APM solution to ensure flights depart based upon a predetermined time. For example, after the plan is boarded and cargo is safely stowed away, the plane undergoes a complex measurement process to determine overall weight and plane balance. This complex algorithm is responsible for ensuring the pan is properly balanced, which means if this application was to malfunction, the plane could be delayed, or worse, experience technical errors during the flight. When looking at solutions, it’s good to do some research to find out more information about the possible options. There are a few ways that you can do this. One, you can do some searching on the internet yourself, or you can visit a comparison website like webapplicationmonitoring.net where some options have been laid out for you.

Of course, the aforementioned is not applicable to many businesses, but it is a clear example of how important the functionality of applications is for the operation of a business. Even smaller businesses who rely on a single application to streamline communication between departments must feature a highly adaptable APM solution to ensure this application runs without any issues.

For example, your business utilizes a single application that field technicians and customer service representative rely on to access customer information. If this system were to fail, or encounter various errors, then these professionals are unable to perform the basic duties of their job. Therefore, an application performance management solution is implemented to continually monitor the data flow and transactions of each request, which minimizes downtime and may potentially protect your businesses reputation among customers.

As you can see, application performance management is far more than simply ensuring the “submit” button on an application sends data to the appropriate email address. Its entire function is to monitor the performance of each transaction and even response to ensure 100% uptime. Regardless of the size of your business, adopt an effective APM solution today. You never know, this may mean the difference between a one-time buyer or a lifelong client.

What Not To Do When Establishing An SLA

Service Level Agreements are among the most powerful communication tools when it comes to establishing expectations between two parties regarding a specific service(s). However, while an SLA can be an effective tool, if it’s established incorrectly, it can do the opposite of its intended purpose. Therefore, it’s important to understand what not to do when you’re establishing a Service Level Agreement.

The Release Timeframe

One of the worst times to establish a Service Level Agreement is in the middle of a customer conflict. Many times, businesses establish an SLA when they’ve been bombarded with complaints. This is often done to thwart any more complaints, or to prevent from having to respond from existing complaints. The problem with this practice, is it often causes a business to have even more complaints to deal with. Therefore, the timing of an SLA is just as important as its included objectives.

The most important element to remember when establishing an SLA is to do so when there are no pending complaints. Use this time to gather the reasons for complaints. Doing so allows your business to gauge what levels of expectations are not being met, and what areas of the service can lead to misunderstandings. Only establish an SLA once complaints have been resolved and an effective SLA agreement has been drafted based upon these experiences.

Improper Reason for Implementation

Unfortunately, this has become a common practice among many businesses. In an attempt to thwart complex communications and obligations between departments, an SLA is put into play. This is an improper use because when there are multiple department in multiple regions, a business needs to focus on inter-office communications, not a Service Level Agreement. An SLA should only be implemented to help streamline communication and expectations between a customer and a business, not within the business itself.

Implementation Without Agreement From Both Parties

This is perhaps the most important element when it comes to an SLA. Because this document is an agreement, it must be agreed upon by all parties it includes. Businesses who implement a Service Level Agreement without the consent of the other party may find that the clauses set forth in the agreement are not applicable. Therefore, when you’re establishing an SLA, you must make it apparent that there is an SLA and that the customer must agree to go forth with the transaction. If a customer refuses to agree to the SLA terms, then there cannot be a deal. Businesses who try to apply an SLA without providing the customer with valid information and a means to physically comply with the SLA may find that should complications arise, the SLA cannot be implemented in a court of law.

Must-Have Features of Free Website Monitoring Solutions

Let’s be honest, not every website owner is able to afford the largest and most complex website monitoring solution. While these tools are imperative to ensure the performance and stability of your enterprise does not waver, the cost of these tools force many administrator’s to disregard monitoring altogether. Thankfully, you can achieve a decent level of monitoring and oversight without having to pay a dime through free website monitoring solutions. There are a lot of considerations to think about if you’re planning on choosing a premium service for your web application monitoring needs, and if you’re choosing to do that, then you should do some research online first on a site that details information or compares web application monitoring services. Although these solutions are capable of providing insights into the availability of your website, if you’re seeking the most comprehensive coverage without having to subscribe to a premium service, then seek out a free monitoring solution with the following features.

Essential Features for Free Monitoring Tools

When browsing the market for a free monitoring solution, reference the following list to ensure you receive the most comprehensive coverage possible.

  • Monitoring Locations – For many website owners, visitors are not isolated to a specific geographic location. Therefore, in order to ensure your site continues to operate at maximum performance for all users it must be checked at various locations throughout the country and world. Make sure the free monitoring solution offers several monitoring locations scattered throughout the globe.
  • Statistical Summaries – In order to review the overall performance and stability of your website, you must have statistics ranging from several hours to several days. This historical data provides you with detailed information regarding average response time, website availability and overall performance. While free monitoring solutions feature limited reporting capabilities, search for one that’ capable of delivering statistics for an entire monitoring period.
  • Page Content Monitoring – Most free website monitoring tools only determine if your website is available; however, there are a select few that offer more detailed monitoring. Choose a tool capable of monitoring page content and link health.
  • Periodic Performance Reports – Do not use a free monitoring service unless it offers daily, weekly, monthly and yearly website availability and performance reports. While these reports will not be as detailed as a subscription-based service, it does offer a greater scope into the overall stability and performance of your site.
  • Adjustable Monitoring Frequency – Only choose a monitoring solution capable of adjusting the frequency of monitoring checks. While the majority of free services does not offer the suggested 30-second checks, choose one offering checks every 60 seconds to five minutes.
  • False Alert Checks – The majority of free website monitoring tools provides alerts to administrator’s should an error or issue arise. However, there can be many false alerts, which quickly fill your inbox. Prevent looking over important alerts by using a free service capable of preventing false alerts from being distributed.

What is Application Performance Management?

In the most general sense, application performance management is a means of managing internal and third party applications within a website. The primary discipline of APM is to monitor the performance, availability and user experience of various software applications. This is an essential function for all businesses, regardless of concentration. Whether you have a small, highly-focused niche website or a sprawling online conglomerate, application performance management is an integral tool in your arsenal of effective online practices.

In the fast-moving pace of our modern online world, availability of applications is essential at not only retaining visitors, but enhancing site conversions. In fact, in order for an operation to be truly successful, their internal and external applications must flawlessly integrate with the overall user experience. The only way this process can maintain itself is through effective and continual application performance management.

While the exact level of management and monitoring is based upon the complexity of your network and website, APM monitors the three basic levels of web applications:

  1. Server Level – Application performance management captures the pattern of data flow and translates this information to identify the process of each application transaction. This level of monitoring also forecasts response times during times when data center information is consolidated.
  1. Network Level – When applied at the network level, APM reduces the risk threshold of applications while simultaneously optimizing bandwidth usage by providing insight into web traffic patterns for specific applications.
  1. Application Level – This third level of performance management monitors the actual functionality of each application by reviewing response times and diagnosing the root cause of specific issues.

Perhaps the most important element of application performance management, or APM, is its ability to pinpoint issues within an application. To truly accomplish this task, an APM tool must focus on the underlining performance of web applications by performing specialized system checks and highly-detailed diagnostics of application transactions. In the realm of applications, being able to pinpoint the root of an issue is the difference between successful or failing.

Along with diagnosing and correcting issues, APM ensures web applications are optimized for performance and use. It’s no secret web users are demanding and expect the highest level of speed and access to information. Even if a single application out of your entire arsenal misfires, this could lead to a significant decrease in customer loyalty and conversions. The unfortunate truth when dealing with online customers is the fact that their experience within your site determines their opinion of your business. If they find your site to be unstable, unpredictable or faulty then they may perceive your entire operation as such. Preventing these misconceptions regarding the efficiency of your business requires a genuine dedication to ensuring website flow and function – and APM is an integral element in this equation. If you’re having trouble comparing solutions, you can check out WebApplicationMonitoring.net, a site that separates industry leaders and compares their features against one another (you can type the URL on your browser or visit their site here).

Since application performance directly correlates with revenue and customer satisfaction, application performance management is an effective way to safeguard current and future revenue. Of course, the actual set of APM tools and guidelines you follow are directly related to the level of service and complexity of your website.