10 Application Monitoring Tips
May 26, 2016

Jay Labadini
Tevron

Share this

Your applications should ensure end-user satisfaction and boost productivity for employees and partners. Therefore, IT pros implementing or monitoring applications should take the time to understand how end-users interact with their application, share the proper amount of information with the right stakeholders, implement the right workflows and ensure they are performing top-notch.

Here are 10 quick tips to help you get started.

Tip 1: Prioritize which applications should be monitored first

With a growing number of employees bypassing IT and going rogue to the cloud, it's anarchy out there. Plus counting legacy applications, Citrix and Terminal server hosted apps, CRM, EHR, custom-built applications, accounting, invoicing, HR, email and collaboration tools, the list of applications your employees, partners or customers rely on (and you support) is long.

Your applications fuel your business, so they must consistently perform well, and ultra-fast. Since you have to start somewhere, identify those critical applications that must perform well in order to run your business (e.g. applications migrated to the cloud, CRM, ERP, EHR systems), and monitor them first. You know better than anybody else what is critical to your business and users.

Tip 2: Identify critical transactions to monitor

Put on your "think from an end-user perspective hat" and map out common functions used by your power users (e.g. those using your applications the most, those driving the most revenue, upper management, etc.). Or better yet, schedule a meeting with your business counterparts, management and stakeholders to identify critical functionality from their perspective.

If you recently went through the process of implementing a new application, you should have your workflows already mapped, right? As you document critical transaction paths or workflows for your application users, this is a great time to fine tune your processes and minimize the number of steps needed for common functions.

Tip 3: Proactively monitor your applications from an end-user perspective

End-users are more impatient than ever before. Therefore, you should continuously monitor each one of these critical transactions (or workflows) from a user perspective, taking response time measurements for each step to ensure user SLAs are met.

It is unacceptable that in 35% of cases IT learns that there is an issue when a user opens a helpdesk ticket or calls to complain (Source: Forrester Research). Change the game and get ahead; find and resolve bottlenecks, errors and constraints, problems before your users are impacted.

Tip 4: Decide polling frequencies and alerting policies

A good rule of thumb is to monitor key transactions more frequently (e.g. being able to send a sales proposal is more critical than reporting on sales pipeline, or being able to sell online is more important that reading a product review) to identify performance degradation signs earlier.

Take the time to define who should be alerted in the event of specific threshold violations, and configure the number of response time violations that will trigger an alert to eliminate false positives and alert storms.

Don't forget to look for key monitoring functionality like scheduling monitoring tests or disable alerting on scheduled maintenance periods or when you are on vacation. You should be in control of your monitoring.

Tip 5: Identify geographical response time discrepancies early on

Employees at remote offices could experience slower response times than those accessing your applications from headquarters; legacy applications could underperform for some offices or branches. Get ahead of user complaints. The faster way to find and resolve problems like this is to monitor and compare availability and response time of your applications across multiple monitoring locations (Headquarters, Boston, NYC, remote office locations, etc.).

Tip 6: Define your custom reports

Since different metrics are important for different stakeholders, take the time to map out role-based reports with custom information for each team (per application, per transaction, per functionality, etc.), and automatically distribute reports on an on-going basis (daily, weekly or monthly basis) to keep everybody informed and aligned.

Tip 7: Centralize IT response procedures and workflow

From legacy applications, to client server applications, to web applications, to home-grown custom applications, cloud-based or green screen apps, most large enterprises have a complex portfolio with 250-500 applications to support. The cost of purchasing, configuring and maintaining several monitoring products to support individual applications is too high.

Plus lack of integration across monitoring consoles results in islands of uncorrelated information which leads to wrong conclusions, hinders troubleshooting and increases Mean-Time-To-Resolution (MTTR).

Instead, look for one solution that lets you test and monitor all applications, so you can quickly identify problem root cause.

Tip 8: Keep everybody in the loop

In a new era where end-user satisfaction rules, you need to continuously validate and demonstrate your SLAs, so go ahead and periodically share your SLA reports with your users and stakeholders. Provide a quick summary dashboard with a drill-in so that they don't have to peruse voluminous reports.

Plus since user satisfaction is the ultimate measurement of IT success (your success), this is the best metric to promote the value that IT provides to your organization.

Tip 9: Review results on an on-going basis

Do you need to fine-tune? Do you need to optimize application performance? With a metric-driven strategy in place you can keep all stakeholders in the know, and take informed business decisions that directly impact your bottom line (e.g. quickly ascertain if you need to focus on performance optimization or not, change cloud providers, etc.).

Tip 10: Ensure quality

Build a culture where application quality is not an afterthought. You should include testing (functional testing, regression testing, performance testing, load testing) in all application development/application implementation cycles right from the beginning to ensure quality. Being able to reuse your test scripts for production monitoring will also help streamline your processes.

In summary, your end-users have the last word on whether they are satisfied with the speed, availability and performance of your applications, so implement, test and monitor your applications from your end-users' perspective.

And don't forget your mobile users. Smart devices are not only competing for PCs' place in your users' lives, or in the enterprise – they are replacing the experience. In fact, the amount of time users spend browsing the Web on their mobile devices is trouncing desktops (Source: The Wall Street Journal). And mobile user expectations are on par with, if not higher than, their desktop counterparts. Therefore, look for SLA application monitoring for both mobile and desktop users. Good luck!

Jay Labadini is a VP and Co-Founder of Tevron.

Share this

The Latest

February 22, 2018

Everyone wants to talk about how analytics is the future of network engineering and operations. The phrase "network analytics" is used by vendors of various stripes to imply that a particular technology is smarter and better than the average solution. But what is it? What does the term network analytics mean to the enterprise network infrastructure professionals? ...

February 21, 2018

Three out of four (76%) of organizations think IT complexity could soon make it impossible to manage digital performance efficiently, according to the Top Challenges Facing CIOs in a Cloud-Native World report from Dynatrace ...

February 20, 2018

The Global CIO Point of View report compiled by ServiceNow notes that 89 percent of organizations are either in the planning stages or are already taking advantage of machine learning. Nearly 90 percent of the CIOs surveyed anticipate that increasing automation will increase the speed and accuracy of decisions, and more than two-thirds believe that decisions made by machines will be more accurate than human-made decisions ...

February 16, 2018

The enterprise WAN is unable to keep up with digital transformation demands, according to Foundation for Digital Transformation, a new research report, authored by Ensemble IQ and supported by InfoVista. This challenge was universal across all three vertical industries surveyed — retail, manufacturing, and banking/financial services ...

February 15, 2018

Achieving optimum Java Virtual Machine (JVM) performance is key to ensuring proper memory management and fast application processing. According to a Cornell University study, a 1-millisecond improvement in the performance of a trading application can be worth $100 million a year to a major brokerage firm. Because of this potential for loss, IT teams owning banking, financial, trading and other Java-based applications place a high value on having a proper JVM monitoring strategy in place ...

February 13, 2018

APM had to evolve to keep pace with development velocity and maintain the service quality for the modern applications born out of digital transformation. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are critical to the next step in APM evolution, helping to address speed, scalability and intelligence demands ...

February 12, 2018

A worldwide survey by Gartner, Inc. showed that 91 percent of organizations have not yet reached a "transformational" level of maturity in data and analytics, despite this area being a number one investment priority for CIOs in recent years ...

February 09, 2018

Mobile app performance is still a significant issue. In a new report from PacketZoom, The Effect of Mobile Network Performance on Mobile App Users, 66% of consumers said reliable mobile app performance is "very important" — second only to mobile app security ...

February 07, 2018

IT departments that shift from reactionary fire fighters to becoming proactive business partners find their ticket counts reduced from 20 to 50 percent or more. The strategies outlined in Part 1 of this blog may all sound like a great way to turn IT into a strategic, proactive business-enabler, but how can companies turn strategy into reality? The following are three best practices ...