Q&A Part Two: Forrester's John Rakowski Talks About APM
October 30, 2014
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In Part Two of APMdigest's exclusive interview, John Rakowski, Forrester Analyst & Advisor Serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals, discusses "End-User Behavior" vs. "End-User Experience", "Digital Business Transformation", and where Applkication Performance Management (APM) fits in.

Start with Part One of APMdigest's interview with Forrester's John Rakowski

APM: In your report Left-Shift Technology Monitoring For Success In The Age Of The Customer, you cite stats that show companies taking the right approach and succeeding. What are they doing right?

JR: What they are doing right is taking an outside-in approach to technology-based business services. They are understanding their customer needs first, rather than technology requirements.

That report was all about the evolution of monitoring. In the last couple of years, we've seen the monitoring market evolve from infrastructure to application monitoring. I think now we are on the crest of the next evolution, which is the focus on what I call "end-user behavior", to understand how your customers are interacting with technology and applications. This is important because ultimately your role as an organization is to serve your customers in the best way. If monitoring can help you understand that customer behavior, you can serve them in a better way. That is how the good organizations are doing it, focusing on understanding their customers, and monitoring can really help here.

APM: In the report, and just now again, you use the term "end-user behavior" monitoring. How is that different from end-user experience monitoring?

JR: In the market today, when we refer to end-user experience monitoring – if we look at it from an APM-centric point of view – we are still thinking of it in an application-centric point of view. We are monitoring the end-user's experience of a particular application. End-user behavior monitoring takes that one step further. We are saying we want to monitor the full experience of how a customer or employee is using technology devices and also applications.

When are they using these applications? Where do they use mobile apps? When do they switch to using the browser? Are they using these applications while on the move or in the office? What times do they use these applications? What application do they use next after your application? It is understanding the full ecosystem of use rather than focusing on a specific application when it comes to the end-user experience.

APM: You also recently wrote a report on analytics, where you cover similar points. You mention solutions which are able to tie customer-centric data to traditional application monitoring data in order to provide full visibility of experience. Is this a combination between ITOA (IT Operations Analytics) and BI (Business Intelligence)?

JR: That is exactly what it is. This whole area of ITOA, BI, big data analytics – this has caused a lot of confusion in the market. There is a lot of confusion with regard to what really is ITOA. How does it differ from Business Intelligence? All data is essentially valuable to the business. You should be recording all data. All of your customer activity data and end-user activity data is valuable.

Analytics is all about how you turn that data into information very quickly. This is what ITOA, BI, big data analytics – whatever you want to call it – is all about. It is about making insight. The solutions are all looking at data that is floating around the enterprise. It depends on how you turn that data into information and what questions you ask. So all of these areas are interlinked.

APM: Do you feel that what people would call the BI side, or the behavior side, is also important to managing application performance?

JR: Of course, yes. I will give you an example. You have an APM solution which says that the application is performing extremely well. It's highly available. The problem is that your customers or business users may not be using it. There may be a number of reasons for that. Maybe a number of key influencers on social media channels are saying the application is not that good to use. Reputation is key here. Combining these two areas, understanding activity of what your customers are doing, and pulling in sentiment analysis, is key here. You need to combine these two areas – ITOA and BI – to really understand application success.

APM: Your report mentions "digital business transformation". What is that?

Digital business transformation is all about an organization embracing this kind of new type of delivery of services. It is about embracing mobile applications. Embracing the fact that your customers expect information and services at the moment of need. Today it is by mobile, tomorrow it may be by wearable mobile devices. So it is making sure that your business understands and is embracing what we call the mobile mind shift. Understanding that your customers or employees are needing mobile-based services. And also understanding that the services need to be delivered in an agile fashion while still maintaining quality. Digital transformation is also about making sure that your business is taking onboard some of the developments that are just around the corner, such as wearable technology.

APM: And your report recommends APM as one of the solutions to the challenges of digital business transformation.

JR: Yes. Again it goes into the need for a good APM solution which can turn data into information and present it to different audiences within the business. APM is not just about performance management – alerting, detecting and reporting issues. It is about making forward-looking insights as well. That is why you see a number of APM vendors now pushing into this area of analytics.

APM: Where do you see APM going from here?

JR: This notion of APM is not a widely understood market definition. I often have to introduce clients to APM. They are still looking for unified monitoring. I think the APM market definition is expanding very very rapidly. We have just seen the notion of APM 1.0. APM 2.0 is going to include analytics, end-use behavior monitoring, and social sentiment analysis, so you are understanding the external customer and the business user as well as understanding application performance. Some vendors are talking about application aware network performance management, so there are a number of directions you can take it.

Ultimately, the real bang for the buck is to push your solution to address business outcomes. To use analytics to help the business understand how applications and technology are driving the bottom line, revenue and profits of the business.

ABOUT John Rakowski

John Rakowski serves Infrastructure & Operations Professionals. He has eight years of experience in the technology and consulting industry, with certifications from Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, BMC, and the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). At Forrester, his research focuses on service management strategy, adoption, and implementation. In particular, Rakowski helps IT leaders and their teams understand the business value of service management, develop their strategy, evaluate and select vendor tools, and implement service management processes such as ITIL. Additionally, Rakowski focuses on the organizational impact of service management and its relationship to broader IT trends such as cloud computing.

Prior to joining Forrester in 2011, Rakowski was a solution architect for Fujitsu specializing in enterprise management. He has provided consultancy to a number of organizations in both the public and private sector and across different verticals ranging from the financial sector to not-for-profit charities. Some notable examples of his past clients are Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, KPMG, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). He has also been a certified trainer delivering systems management courses on behalf of Microsoft. Working out of Forrester's London office, John holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in business information technology from Manchester Metropolitan University.

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