The Expanding Role of Application Performance Management

slower application response times or reduced network performance. Rather, this group of employees needed more training! So increased instruction was key to extracting more value from the SaaS investment.

APM Powers Big Data

With start-ups and enterprises competing in huge markets, every company wants an edge. Increasingly, critical insights from big data initiatives deliver that. Companies are collecting and analyzing massive ERP data in big data environments, helping to improve processes, boost revenue, and improve profits. In fact, last year, a NewVantage Partners survey of Fortune 1000 C-suite executives revealed many Fortune 1000 companies reached a "maturation phase" for big data and were further in their big data strategies than many in the industry thought. For example, 32 percent of executives surveyed said they had big data initiatives already fully operational. In addition, many revealed increased expectations for big data in the "next stage."

As part of this "next stage," we expect APM will improve not just performance of ERP applications, but also performance of the big data environments they feed. The rate at which information is "gulped" in big data environments is mind-boggling, and these environments need to perform optimally to yield timely, actionable insights. In many ways, the challenges of big data environments are similar to problems encountered in major ERP implementations—i.e., widely distributed architectures, multiple users, slow jobs, and infrastructure bottlenecks. By using APM to fine-tune the performance of big data environments, organizations will be better equipped to transform data into practical information with bearing on business and customer relationships. They will also realize scalability is not always the answer, thus reducing capital expenditures. This is important as APM-generated data grows.

APM Powers World-Class Web Experiences

Another foundation of strong customer service is a fast, reliable, responsive Web site. Many Web sites incorporate third-party services to improve and personalize the experience, such as ads, and provide actionable customer data back to the organization, such as analytics. The ironic thing about these services is they can significantly degrade Web performance, alienating customers and driving them away instead of engaging them.

Again, for organizations to provide strong end-user Web experiences, they must understand and monitor performance with the end user—in this case, the customer—in mind. By measuring end-user performance from the end-user perspective, today's new generation APM solutions help organizations proactively identify and fix performance issues along the complete Web application delivery chain—from device and network constraints to external third-party services, all the way to internal data center systems to the line of code.

In addition, with the mobile Web exploding, organizations struggle to ensure strong customer experiences on mobile devices, to drive conversions and maximize revenue-generation potential from this channel. Fortunately, the APM techniques used for the traditional Web can be applied to mobile Web and apps to ensure strong experiences across a range of devices and geographies.

Delivering excellent customer service and experiences requires optimizing the end-user experience, as well as understanding customer trends and addressing customer needs in a timely, competitive fashion. Additionally, the same APM solutions used to foster stronger application performance for end users can be leveraged to bolster repositories that rely on data from these applications, such as big data. As technology's role to support customer interactions expands, we expect APM to do the same, emerging as a key piece of the technology arsenal supporting stronger, more profitable customer relationships.

Sebastian Kruk is the technical product strategist at the Center of Excellence, Compuware's Application Performance Management Business Unit.

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