In Part One of APMdigest's exclusive interview, Julie Craig, Research Director for Application Management at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), talks about research from her new report: Application Performance Management (APM) in the Age of Hybrid Cloud: Ten Key Findings.
APM: I am amazed by your findings that 60% of companies do not use Application Performance Management (APM) yet – a stat you mentioned on our 2014 predictions list. How did you come by this stat?
JC: My quote actually referred specifically to Application Management Platforms, and the number came directly from the 2013 research. The actual number of companies with such products in place was about 35%, but some of the respondents were using lightweight, non-platform solutions which added approximately 5%.
I have been tracking these numbers across multiple research studies for the past 5 years. In my opinion, there are still many companies out there who don't yet "get" the value proposition of application management versus systems management products.
APM: To clarify, do you consider Application Management Platforms different from APM, or can we use the terms synonymously?
JC: APM is a subset of Application Management, from the EMA perspective. For the purposes of my research, I typically ask about "Application Management" because most people probably don't think as deeply as we do about the shades of differences.
APM: So why do you think the majority of companies are still not onboard with APM?
JC: Most enterprise management products are silo-based — they may focus on network management or security, for example. Application Management products span silos. Just as infrastructure services and application management teams have to understand multiple technologies and their impact on apps – networks, and servers, and middleware, and security, for example – so do Application Management products. Because of the complexity they address, these products embody a great deal of industry expertise and development. Historically they have been expensive to purchase and deploy.
Today, more lightweight products are coming to market. They are highly functional, less expensive, and many of those experts who created the initial wave of Application Management solutions in the 90s or early 2000s are now developing second and even third generation products. Customers can now choose from platforms, modular solutions, Cloud-based products, and hybrid products with components in the Cloud and behind the firewall.
As applications continue to become increasingly revenue critical, my hope is that more IT organizations will take a look at what has become a very dynamic and exciting Application Management landscape.
APM: The users have not caught up with the new options available on the market? Maybe the old perception of expensive APM is lingering?
JC: I think the problem is that IT is always behind – they always have project backlogs, are always behind on deliverables and are always fighting fires. I have a lot of sympathy for IT because I used to work in IT myself. So they have a lot to do besides research Enterprise Management products – which is why I think companies like EMA can be a big help by doing that for them.
But the short answer is: yes. They have probably heard of the newer, more lightweight products being delivered by big vendors such as IBM and CA, as well as smaller vendors such as New Relic and AppDynamics. But they may not have had the opportunity yet to dig deeper into their capabilities and value proposition.
APM: Of the remaining 65%, are these all companies that could benefit from APM if they deployed it?
JC: The benefits will be greater or lesser depending on how important a company's applications actually are to them, and the cost of performance degradation and downtime. I would say that for any company running customer-facing applications, integrated applications (with partners, for example), and high value applications, Application Management solutions are an absolute necessity.
APM: Do you think limited IT funding impacts the move toward APM?
JC: This has obviously been a factor for the past 3 or 4 years, but my most recent research is showing that the majority of IT budgets are rising this year. So I believe companies will begin to weigh the cost of downtime and adverse customer impact against the cost of Application Management solutions. Limited budgets also have less of an impact when there are both CapEx and OpEx options — since Cloud-hosted products are typically billed on a monthly basis.
APM: Your new report, Application Performance Management (APM) in the Age of Hybrid Cloud: Ten Key Findings, states: "48% of the time, IT first finds out about application problems from user calls ... This is an indication that application management is still woefully under-automated in most companies." In these cases, are the organizations missing APM in general, or is there a component of APM they are missing?
JC: I think it reflects on the general lack of Application-focused management capabilities. This could relate to lack of tools, lack of expertise, or both.
I also think it is important to note that IT executives — Directors and C Levels — think this number is far lower than it actually is. They think users are the first line of defense only about 25% of the time. Line staff — who, I believe know the true numbers — say the number is more like 60%.
If I were an IT exec, this would tell me I need to do two things. Number one is to check with your line staff to see what your number really is. Number two, if you don't like that percentage, look into whether you actually have an Application-focused solution in place, and whether you have cross-functionally trained personnel who can provide the expertise necessary to find and fix application-related problems.
ABOUT Julie Craig
Julie Craig is Research Director for Application Management at EMA.
EMA Webinar: APM in the Age of Cloud and Hybrid Cloud
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