APM – The Unknown Quantity
What does Application Performance Management really offer the business?
October 18, 2011
Edward Chaput de Saintonge
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Do you know how much your slow computer applications are affecting productivity and costing you?

Knowing the answer to this question is vital to the business in our current financial turmoil where everybody is asking to save costs and justify their existence. Its importance runs through the organization; for C-level executives, better productivity means more profits, for department managers that rely on IT to deliver their function it means better staff morale, and for CIO's it shows how they add value.

To run a department you need vital information such as costs and sick days as they affect productivity. Surely it is worth knowing how the computer application is affecting productivity, staff and departmental targets?

This is the true value of Application Performance Monitoring (APM). The trouble is the market rarely communicates the business value of APM. Typically, the focus is on the nuts and bolts, pitching at the technician. APM is much more than that. Managers who sit outside of IT need to know how it can reduce costs, drive productivity and motivate staff. Only then can informed decisions about the adoption of APM be made.

The Typical Message

The latest trend among Managed Service Providers is to monitor applications, networks and servers. There are reams of information on APM and a host of providers who provide 3D graphs, rev counters and Batcave style lights designed to alert and confuse. Among this information, it is very hard to find how the business benefits from APM.

A quick web browse gives a handful of benefits. None of them really help the business; these Googled benefits merely make life a bit easier for the IT department.

- Deliver business services

- Capture transaction performance data from problem sources

- Accelerate troubleshooting and remediation

This is fine for technicians; but what about the Finance Director who needs to authorize the purchase? How does the service delivery manager benefit from APM? What about the Chief Executive?

APM – What it Really Does

APM is about understanding production, knowing your limits and thresholds and maximizing output. Productivity increases and processes improve with the added boon of making staff feel better as you address the daily niggles that wear them down. It answers two important questions:

1. How much is this application costing me?

2. How much money can I save making the application work better

Application performance Management can save you money eliminating waste and making your staff more productive. Cheaper, more productive staff increase production. One of the side effects of APM is the boost to morale – not only is there an active interest in the day-to-day problems of the users but user experience also improves. So, application performance management saves you money, makes you more productive and keeps the workers happy.

How Does it Save You Money?

A London council saved £300k by increasing service output and delivering a better service to residents. Money was being spent on temporary staff to help cope with the backlog and workflow. We identified through APM how to avoid this cost and deliver a better service. Here is what happened:

Due to government cuts, The Head of a government department was under increased pressure to find cost savings. The IT system was the best place to start as it was under-performing and regularly crashing, affecting staff morale and creating a backlog. Starting quickly was important: this is one of the biggest parking departments in London.

Quadnet demonstrated that a £200K (US$315K) saving could be made by reduced staffing levels if the system problems could be fixed. Quadnet then pinpointed the problem, drove the changes and held the right team accountable for fixing it.

The actual result was far better than expected. So far, this customer has saved £300,000 (almost US$500,000).

The right amount of temporary staff were cut without harming production or the delivery of front line services. In fact, service delivery continued to improve, even without the temporary staff.

This scenario is far more common than may be expected. A survey of government departments showed that most users are unhappy with their problem applications:

- 70% of users find their applications slow and unresponsive

- 80% experienced problems with their application

- 40% are frustrated and do not bother with repeat helpdesk calls to fix the situation.

How Much Will You Save?

If you know there is a regular application problem, then it is quite easy to calculate how much it is costing you.

(Downtime/day x Average hourly rate) X (No. of staff) X (250 work days) = Saving

APM will provide an accurate figure for your savings, probably highlighting problems you were unaware of. APM will also show you how the application can improve and then prove the saving has been delivered after the event. It is a valuable tool for maximizing production and helping you determine and demonstrate future IT investments.

Is Application Performance Management something you can afford to ignore?

About Edward Chaput de Saintonge

Edward Chaput de Saintonge is the marketer at Quadnet Services, London. He has spent the last two years developing and implementing managed services marketing campaigns that offer a fresh perspective in to the monitoring industry. Prior to joining Quadnet Services, Edward was at Computacenter focusing on public sector new business. He is a graduate of the University of Leeds, spending a year studying at Capital Normal University, Beijing. Edward speaks Chinese and Italian and is an aspiring chef.

Related Links:

www.quadnet.co.uk/

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