2020 Application Performance Management Predictions - Part 1
December 11, 2019
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As the New Year approaches, it is time for APMdigest's 10th annual list of Application Performance Management (APM) predictions, the most popular content on APMdigest, viewed by tens of thousands of people in the IT community around the world every year. Industry experts — from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors — offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2020.

APMdigest covers a variety of related technologies beyond APM, and this year's predictions list offers an equally broad scope of topics. In addition to APM, the related technologies covered include AIOPs, Machine Learning (ML) , Log Analytics, End-User Experience Management (EUEM), Monitoring, IT Service Management (ITSM), Network Performance Management (NPM) and Digital Transformation.

Some of these predictions may come true in the next 12 months, while others may be just as valid but take several years to be realized. Still others may be wishful thinking or unbased fears. Some predictions even directly conflict with each other. But taken collectively, this list of predictions offers a timely and fascinating snapshot of what the IT industry and the APM market are thinking about, planning, expecting and hoping for 2020.

The predictions will be posted in 6 parts over the next week and a half, with separate lists of predictions for ITSM, NPM and Digital Transformation to follow after the holidays.

A forecast by the top minds in Application Performance Management today, here are the predictions:


APM solutions have been steadily incorporating more and more artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques into their featureset, primarily to augment their troubleshooting and resource allocation capabilities. From being a niche a few years ago, AI and ML will become must haves in APM solutions. Organisations will evaluate APM solutions by the maturity of their AI and ML capabilities and by how they can help their DevOps teams to ensure applications drive business value.
Arun Balachandran
Sr. Marketing Manager, ManageEngine

Tracing, metrics and logs will become commodity data. APM tools will have to evolve to provide meaning (semantics) and add intelligence to provide value to all stakeholders of a DevOps organization driving speed of development and high level of automation throughout the process.
Mirko Novakovic
CEO and Co-Founder, Instana


While application performance management (APM) tools have been available since the 1990s, they're still among the most under-appreciated tools in the technology industry. In 2020, this will change. As companies adopt hybrid cloud, they use dynamic technologies to build new application features. While affording greater flexibility, agility, and scalability day-to-day, these changes to how we deliver applications make traditional monitoring techniques much more difficult (sometimes impossible), while the business expects even greater performance. We've reached an application performance monitoring (APM) crossroads and in 2020 we have a rare chance to catch up with recent technology changes and regain control of application delivery monitoring. We'll see the tech pro's focus on infrastructure performance alone to expanding success metrics to encompass evolving real-world, end-user experiences, as well. As businesses continue to prioritize customer-centricity and end-user experience in the year ahead (and beyond) they'll use APM tools to evolve, innovate, and reach broader business goals, ultimately resulting in increased implementation and corresponding skill development.
Patrick Hubbard
Head Geek, SolarWinds


The continued adoption of agile development will rewrite classical application performance management practices. Rapid software delivery in 2-4 weeks scrum cycles for enterprise organizations (taking into account their legacy software stacks) will push continuous performance management and will spark further shifting left.
Pieter VanHaecke
Director of Testing Services, CTG Europe

Guaranteeing the end user experience across all digital channels will grow in importance within the business. So, teams will re-invest more into APM tools to continuously assess application performance and availability, and be able to benchmark at any given time their apps against market competitors, as well as the same app against various versions and permutations of itself. Many apps are being deployed across the globe where there are many environment implications like network, platforms (browsers, mobile devices), and others. Knowing how an app performs and functions in varying conditions can only be visible to the business through proper APM testing pre and post production.
Eran Kinsbruner
Chief Evangelist and Author, Perfecto at Perforce Software


Over the next three years, most companies will employ "Performance Engineers" to support their digital efforts. We will see this happening in 2020. These people will work in product teams, not IT teams.
Antony Edwards
COO, Eggplant


In 2020, we expect to see more DevOps teams automating performance management in order to reduce alert noise, which has grown unmanageable in recent years, and in many instances has led to alert fatigue. Automating performance management will help free up teams to focus on important issues rather than wasting time investigating false positives. This will help substantially reduce mean time to detection for real problems.
Mehdi Daoudi
CEO and Founder, Catchpoint


Page load time will become even more important in 2020. Google recently announced that it's looking into adding a load time badge of some kind to identify fast or slow sites in Chrome. If a website is slow, a potential visitor may know it before clicking or while a site is loading.

So in 2020, I believe this will lead companies to scramble to optimize their sites and ensure that load times are adequate. This will be even more important on mobile. I predict that companies who do no optimizations will see a lower number of visitors, and therefore less customers.
Jean Tunis
Senior Consultant and Founder of RootPerformance


Forget reliability — with the adoption of resilience engineering and the proper use of automation, operators can expect a 20% reduction in unplanned work. Today's organizations are fixated on the reliability of their technology. But any developer can tell you that the reality is not if it will fail, but when it will fail. The success metric will shift to resilience, or how quickly you can recover from failure.
Tim Armandpour
SVP of Engineering, PagerDuty


The next frontier in APM and business analytics requires connecting end user data with back-end metrics and transaction flows. The blending of these traditionally siloed data sets will enable a revolutionary new set of analytics, bringing forward key intel such as, what actions to take based on user role and transaction type? Which components to optimize based on business impact? How to prioritize efforts and drive meaningful change? To enable these analytics, it is essential to have complete data. In a world of dynamic workloads and composable apps, the path a user transaction follows through the back end app infrastructure can be different even for the same transaction executed by a different user. With complete end-to-end transaction data, a user interaction data model can be constructed that captures the trickle-down effects of various moving parts and can compute bottlenecks specific to particular users, their functions, and the unique transactions they care about. The importance of the union of siloed end user experience data sets with APM transaction flows through the back end cannot be overstated.
Peco Karayanev
Product Management Director, Riverbed APM

Over the next three years, the ability to trace transactions through IT infrastructure will be commoditized by open-source. This will force APM even further towards ITOps analytics, and only those who have a meaningful ITOps analytics play will survive. It will also lead to huge growth in the number of small ITOps analytics companies since they don't have the barrier of tracing.
Antony Edwards
COO, Eggplant


In 2020, more organizations will start to ditch the notion of No-Ops and recognize value in their Ops team members. Companies will always need Ops people, but as technology and automation processes mature, Ops professionals will be able to work on higher-quality problems.
Tori Wieldt
Sr. Solutions Manager, New Relic

The concept of No-Ops gained some steam in 2019. Using AI to automate does make operations far more efficient, the notion that organizations can leverage cloud services and AI to eliminate all IT operations is a pipe dream. The reality is that you need DevOps and DataOps in the cloud just like you do on-premises. The cloud is an ideal destination for many workloads, especially data workloads, but the operational challenges from on-premises deployments don't just disappear when you get to cloud. In fact, new challenges emerge, such as re-configuring apps for improved performance in the cloud and monitoring workloads for overuse (and increased costs). There are AI tools that significantly simplify these efforts, but organizations will need human operations teams to leverage those tools correctly. The cloud is great, but there need to be guard rails in place to ensure it's delivering on cost and performance.
Kunal Agarwal
CEO, Unravel Data


As environments become more dynamic and complex, the opportunity for applications to break increases — creating the need for robust monitoring tools. In 2020, as buyers see the benefit of leveraging APM tools on a regular basis rather than only in critical moments, the market will adjust accordingly. We can expect easier-to-implement solutions that are more highly valuable and affordable. The paradigm that APM tools have to be expensive will be broken once and for all.
David Wagner
Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Application Management, SolarWinds


APM warfare will ensue between the industry's biggest players. 2019 saw a couple of major IPOs from market leaders — as this market intensifies I expect these vendors to integrate, partner and differentiate with adjacent DevOps vendors around areas like Continuous Delivery so their value spans more of the software delivery lifecycle.
Steve Burton
DevOps Evangelist, Harness

Go to 2020 Application Performance Management Predictions - Part 2, covering AIOps, AI and ML.

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