In APMdigest's exclusive interview, Dennis Drogseth, VP of Research at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), talks about the recently released EMA Radar for Advanced Performance Analytics (APA) Use Cases: Q4 2012, the benefits of APA, and the future of the technology.
APM: What benefits can be gained from an APA solution?
DD: The main benefits are faster deployments; vastly accelerated problem solving; reduced mean time to repair; much expanded mean time between failure, so you can anticipate problems; and ultimately also a much more powerful way of linking what IT does to business value.
APM: One of the advantages is that APA runs itself, correct? It is self-learning and does not require a lot of administration.
DD: By and large the answer is yes, self-learning APA does not require much administration. The data we looked at showed the average was a half-employee or less needed for administration.
One of the points that I heard consistently across all the deployments is that they looked at a lot of other solutions but “this one” really worked much faster, and did not require much overhead.
APM: Is this why APA delivers fast ROI, as you mention in the report?
DD: APA is faster to deploy typically too. Especially when the integrations are fully supported out of the box. For instance, you are not focused on instrumentation for phase-one data collection.
You could say that is a bit of fiction because in many cases APA and monitoring are bundled together, but in a growing number of cases they are not. And so the analytic capability, to harness that information, learn from it and produce valuable results, delivers much faster value than traditional monitoring tools. And over a broader area.
I believe that we are going to see – in five years or less – a real separation of business models where you have innovators going for more APA as overlays, and also innovators going for data collection to support the growth of APA, to try to provide the ultimate agent, for instance, to support APA solutions. I think you're going to see entire business models arise to do that.
Data collection and basic instrumentation, basic monitoring, will become separated from advanced analytics and I think that will be really good for the industry, versus stovepipe tools that do it all themselves.
That is of course a long-term evolution. And we are looking at a jungle of wild animals in different shapes, not a linear logical progression. But I am projecting that, five years out, we will begin to see that kind of differentiation take hold.
APM: In the Radar Report you say APA can help bridge the gap between IT and Business. How?
DD: A growing number of business outcomes in whatever vertical – financial, healthcare, e-business, retail, manufacturing – are directly supported through IT services. They require either interactions with an application or application-to-application interactions. The business impact analytics that we are looking at in this Radar involve tuning business outcomes based on application services and other business services. By doing that you can see who is interacting with what transactions and services, what they are doing, how the business is impacted, how revenue is being generated, what geographies are most efficient, etc. And in a growing number of cases you are actually looking at business process issues. You are looking at business outcomes very specifically.
One person I talked to put it beautifully: “I have to tune my business – not my IT or my apps – I have to tune my business every hour. How are you going to do that with traditional warehousing tools?”
APM: In the Radar Report you mention DevOps as a value add for APA. How does APA relate to DevOps?
DD: Most of the APA solutions today support a smoother transition into production. In some cases development is directly accessing the APA tools. In others it is providing a fast feedback system to see if something is not going to work. DevOps is clearly another growth area for APA.
APM: But in cases where developers are not accessing APA directly, if they do not have their own dashboard connected to the APA tool, then it really just comes down to the politics of the organization.
DD: You are right. APA, like all technology, heavily involves politics. You can have the perfect tool, but if you have a completely siloed politic, and a completely siloed set of users, there is no magic wand to solve it just by technology.
APM: Yet, on the other hand, in the Radar Report you say that APA can help break down those silos.
DD: Sure, APA can help break down the silos because it can provide consistent data across silos. Everyone may not use the same datasets exactly but the data will be consistent. If you have a bunch of silo tools, each group using their own tools, the tools reinforce the finger-pointing. APA breaks down that barrier.
But if you have insurmountable political resistance to doing that, the only technology that might work would have to come out of pharmacology. We’ve often joked, in doing CMDB deployments, that there ought to be an accepted drug to go along with the process :)
APM: In your recent blog on APMdigest you talked about “collapsing the walls between traditional BI and traditional performance management and revolutionizing the industry along new, more dynamic lines.” What does the result look like?
DD: I don't know what the end result will be. I think that there will need to be more dialogue between what has been viewed as very separate worlds – business impact APA and BI. Hopefully there will be more of an appreciation for the fact that organizations need to tune their business – not just their services – in real-time or every hour, and so APA will evolve to more proactively complement more established BI technologies.
APM: What is the biggest change in the APA market that you have seen this year?
DD: I would say that there is a breath-taking acceleration in industry investment in the APA arena. That became increasingly evident while I was working on the Radar.
APM: Any predictions for APA next year?
DD: I think we will see growth in all three use cases – technical performance analytics, business impact management, and change impact and capacity optimization/planning. I think next year we may see enough innovation and enough critical mass in each use case for each to get its own Radar.
ABOUT Dennis Drogseth
Dennis Drogseth is VP of Research at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). He manages the New Hampshire office and has been a driving force in establishing EMA’s New England presence. Drogseth brings over 30 of experience in various aspects of marketing and business planning for service management solutions. He supports EMA through leadership in Business Service Management (BSM), CMDB Systems, automation systems and service-centric financial optimization. He also works across practice areas to promote dialogs across critical areas of technology and market interdependencies.
Prior to joining EMA in 1998, Drogseth worked for Cabletron’s SPECTRUM management software and spent 14 years with IBM in marketing and communications. He holds a B.A. from Yale University, Magna Cum Laude.
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