Don't Let a Poorly Performing App Sink Your Business
April 09, 2014

Aruna Ravichandran
CA Technologies

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What happens when one of your smartphone apps runs a little slow? Maybe you tap the screen with a little extra thump in a physical effort to get things moving quicker, like hopelessly hitting the elevator call button extra times in an effort to get it to arrive faster. What if it crashes all together? Usually, you restart the app and hope for a better experience. If there's another failure, you might find another app (and business) that better supports your needs.

For IT organizations and businesses as a whole, there's tremendous pressure to deliver innovative mobile apps to market faster with a best-in-class user experience that boosts employee productivity or enhances customer engagement. The trickledown effect is this puts pressure on developers and architects to shorten application lifecycles in order to deliver these applications quicker.

With quicker development iterations and greater emphasis on the user experience, it's critical that both the development and operations teams have insight into the mobile application experience, particularly when it comes to native apps running on a device. As with the more "traditional" application lifecycle, Application Performance Management can play two roles to help speed mobile development and user experience:

- For developers, an APM tool can provide crash analytics information, device information such as memory usage, CPU usage, thread utilization and more that can be valuable feedback when fixing or improving an application.

- For the operations staff, APM can provide insight into calls being made to backend systems, network latency and more, all things that could be poorly impacting the overall user experience. After all, a shiny user interface is nothing if the backend systems that support it do not run efficiently.

Apps are developed, tested and thrown into an app store, but how do we know for sure they're working as planned? Unless a user complains, there's no way to know for sure. Today's mobile developers and operators need direct feedback about application performance, both at a code level and big picture view that takes in account how things out of a developers control (the network, etc.) impact performance.

It's critical to note that mobile doesn't live in a bubble alone. A vast number of mobile applications are extensions of existing Web and back office functions, so a mobile APM tool cannot live in a bubble. Such insight into mobile performance must be fed into a larger APM solution to provide IT with a big picture of how ALL of its applications and business services are performing. Without that, organizations are back stuck in silos of domain expertise with limited cross-functional view of how the business is performing as a whole.

As updates and enhancements are added at a quicker pace, information about how the app is performing across a variety of devices and network types is critical to delivering a great user experience. Chances are not good that users, particularly customers, are going to provide that kind of direct feedback. Instead, they'll take their business elsewhere. That's one experience you might not be able to fix.

Aruna Ravichandran is Vice President, Product and Solution Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps, CA Technologies.

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