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The Magazine

Issue 15

Instant gratification - Why digitalisation has created a world of demanding customers.

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Spencer Green
Chairman, GDS International

Sales and the 'Talent Magnet'

A lot is written about being a ‘Talent Magnet’, either as a company, or as President. It’s all good practice – listen, mentor, reward, provide clear goals and career maps. Good practice for the employer, but what about the employee?
24 May 2011

A polished performance

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B ob Paul discusses how the get the most out of application performance management (APM).

“The only way to effectively manage today's 'borderless applications' is through an end-to-end approach that encompasses both the enterprise and the internet”
-Bob Paul

What are the main factors driving organistions to adopt application performance management (APM) disciplines?
Bob Paul.
We are in the midst of a revolutionary change in how we interact with customers using technology. Our customers and users are increasingly mobile and may be distributed across the globe. These customers use an incredible variety of devices, operating systems and browsers to interact with our business. Applications themselves are becoming increasingly collaborative and complex. And technologies such as virtualisation and cloud computing promise dramatic cost and agility benefits to organisations. These are all exciting changes but they have significant implications to IT.

Which industries particularly need APM, and why?
Any industry relying on applications to underpin critical business processes needs APM. Today, this spans businesses of varying scale, sector and maturity. Certain markets like travel and tourism, retail and gambling/gaming have undergone tremendous transformation from traditional call centre and branch operations to the majority of their business conducted online.

What are the major challenges of managing and optimising customer-facing, internet-delivered applications?
One of the biggest challenges is that applications are increasingly 'borderless', meaning that the application is no longer fully contained within the data centre. The application delivery chain now extends from the traditional back-end infrastructure out onto the internet, with pieces delivered from third-party providers such as content delivery networks (CDNs) or cloud service providers, using ISPs and wireless carriers to deliver that content to a wide variety of devices. The only place where these borderless applications come together as a whole is at the user's access device, resulting in only partial control of this complex application delivery chain. If performance deteriorates in any one of these dependencies, the quality of service your application delivers is impacted and your brand reputation suffers.

Another challenge is managing browser diversity and the increasing number of devices used to access the internet. For example, popular new browsers like Internet Explorer 8 and Google Chrome handle dynamic content differently, multiplying the risk of performance and compatibility issues for web pages and transactions. Testing web and mobile compatibility for every browser type, version, operating system and mobile device is time consuming and can be prohibitively expensive, but failing to do so results in lost customers and irreparable brand and revenue damage.

How should organisations implement comprehensive APM?
Achieving comprehensive APM maturity in a short timeframe is possible, especially if a proven stepwise approach is adopted, where people, process and tooling are evolved at a manageable pace. The first step is to gain visibility of the end-user application experience so you can become proactive in identifying and quantifying performance issues before they incur major business impact. The second is to extend visibility deeper, tracing user's transaction through the complete application delivery chain (desktop through datacenter) to achieve rapid fault determination and recovery. The third step is to deliver high levels of Business and IT alignment through correlating and reporting application performance and business KPI's through real time role relevant dashboards. With this structured approach, and the right tools, you can see benefits fast.

Please describe how Compuware's APM solutions have helped organisations recently.
The only way to effectively manage today's 'borderless applications' is through an end-to-end approach that encompasses both the enterprise and the internet. Compuware provides the only solution that spans this entire application delivery chain from a single, unified dashboard. Our customers include 46 of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies and 12 of the top 20 most visited US web sites. Transaction time reductions of over 50 percent and downtime reductions of similar magnitude are not unusual. This improvement often drives a significant increase in new website visitors being converted into financially transacting customers. These typical returns are realised in a short space of time and deliver a quantifiable impact to business, but the long-term rewards are most noticeably the preservation of our customers' brand and reputation.

Bob Paul has served as President and COO of Compuware Corporation since 2008. In this position he has re-engineered the company's strategy positioning Compuware for a strong future. Previously, Paul was CEO of Covisint. Covisint, now a Compuware subsidiary, represents one of the fastest growing SaaS/PaaS solutions in the market.

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