APM and Application Stability: Where Two Monitoring Roads Merge and Diverge - Part 2
March 24, 2020

James Smith
SmartBear

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In today's iterative world, development teams care a lot more about how apps are running. There's a demand for fixing actionable items. Developers want to know exactly what's broken, what to fix right now, and what can wait. They want to know, "Do we build or fix?" This trade-off between building new features versus fixing bugs is one of the key factors behind the adoption of Application Stability management tools.

Start with APM and Application Stability: Where Two Monitoring Roads Merge and Diverge - Part 1

Benefits of Application Stability

The beauty of Application Stability is that it brings together the errors captured by APM and enables developers to see at a glance which ones are worth fixing. As a result, five major benefits arise:

1. Increased efficiency: Companies eliminate the problem of infrastructure teams tossing issues over the fence to development teams. Valuable time is saved because Application Stability tools remove the game of telephone between the two teams and deliver bugs directly to the team that will fix them.

2. Stronger CSAT: The time to fix bugs goes down dramatically when the person who wrote the code fixes the code. With diagnostic information in hand from the Application Stability tool, software engineers innately understand what the code does, what the bug means, and how to fix it. Faster resolution of bugs that impact the end user experience means that customer satisfaction levels (CSAT) are less likely to drop.

3. Error prioritization: Application Stability tools group bugs by root cause, making it easy for developers to get a sense of severity at a glance. It's much easier to determine what to fix first when developers can see which errors are most costly, which affect the most customers, and which bug is impacting a key customer.

4. Tool synchronization: Taking it one step further, Application Stability tools are tied into project management suites. Bugs map directly to tickets created in Jira (or whatever tool is used), and tickets update automatically as priority changes.

5. Stability scores by release: Application Stability enables product and development teams to see stability scores by release. Since it's common to have multiple app versions live at the same time, especially with mobile apps (where DevOps isn't really involved), companies can't rely on a single stability score. Teams need to see stability by release so that it's clear exactly where the errors are and what impact they're having on users.

What Percentage of Your Development Team Has a Login to Your APM?

I'm often asked whether I think Application Stability will replace APM, and my answer is simple: No, I don't

I'm often asked whether I think Application Stability will replace APM, and my answer is simple: No, I don't. APM remains an essential part of developing software, and organizations still need to understand when they're about to run out of resources and when there's poor performance. 

Instead, I see these two solutions co-existing as adjacent categories but helping different teams. Application Stability delivers prioritized errors to developers for fixing, while APM works well for enabling Ops teams to raise red flags on high error rates and reduce cloud spend.

Some of you may be thinking to yourself, "Well, my APM product does what you're describing for application stability, so I'm sure my developers are fine using it."

To which I poise the following challenge: What percentage of your dev team has a login to your APM? What percentage logs in on a daily basis? And, if they do use it, do your developers like it?

The answers to these questions may surprise you. After all, APM wasn't really built for developers or for keeping end users happy. In contrast, Application Stability was born at the customer layer and is designed specifically to monitor the front end and ensure strong customer experiences with web and mobile apps.

Once you've had a chance to hear from your dev team, it wouldn't surprise me if you discover that they're pretty excited about the new kid in town.

James Smith is SVP of the Bugsnag Product Group at SmartBear
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