18 Ways to Ensure Mobile App Performance - Part 3
July 23, 2015
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Mobile apps are serious business, and mobile app performance is key. With this in mind, APMdigest asked industry experts – from analysts and consultants to the top vendors – to recommend the best ways to ensure mobile app performance. Part 3 of the list covers the production side including Application Performance Management (APM), monitoring and more.

Start with Part 1 of the List

Start with Part 2 of the List

9. END-TO-END VISIBILITY

Complete app to application visibility is key to ensure mobile app performance. Most mobile teams focus on client side performance metrics. For example, these teams will typically track crashes, API, or network latency and errors as seen by the mobile app. However, it's important to get deep visibility into the applications that are powering the API's and the network services. With complete app to network to application visibility, mobile teams can truly understand where the problem arises — at the app, network, or back end application tier. Armed with this data, the team can quickly identify and fix the root cause of the issue and improve collaboration between the app and the application teams.
Kalyan Ramanathan
VP of Product Marketing, AppDynamics

The best way to ensure great mobile app performance is to have visibility into all aspects of the complex mobile ecosystem in which the app operates. Think multiple devices, operating systems and app versions, as well as different carriers, backend servers and databases. This allows a developer to very easily pinpoint which part of this complex ecosystem caused a particular crash or error, instead of spending hours and hours trying to reproduce crashes and errors in order to find the source.
Anusha Sethuraman
Sr. Product Marketing Manager, New Relic

"If you can't see something you can't manage it" and that's particularly true for mobile performance. Today, mobile users access an ever increasing range of applications which have become a critical part of both their business and personal lives. When performance is sub-optimal it's not just frustrating, it impacts productivity too. End-to-end visibility provided by appropriate monitoring tools is key to understanding the performance of both the mobile carrier networks and the performance of the apps served out of corporate data centers and the cloud. Once you can see across all layers of the infrastructure, you truly understand performance and can take appropriate steps to assure mobile performance.
James Wylie
Director of Technical Product Marketing, Corvil

BYOD employees are driving an increase in traffic volumes and use of consumer applications across the enterprise infrastructure. At the same time these users expect an outstanding quality of experience anywhere, anytime and for any application. Yet the use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices within the corporate environment has raised the level of service delivery complexity. Things can go wrong with the network, transport, servers, service enablers (like DHCP and VDI authentication), web clients, thick clients, middleware, databases and QoS. IT teams can't face the challenges of service delivery with traditional silo-specific tools, simply because they miss the big picture. Instead, they need a comprehensive service assurance solution that uses traffic data to gain visibility into service interrelationships and dependencies. Gaining deep and real-time insight into application and network performance across both physical and virtual environments not only dramatically reduces the Mean-Time-To-Knowledge of service issues but also assures a flawless mobile user experience.
Ron Lifton
Senior Solutions Marketing Manager, NetScout Systems

10. MOBILE APM (Application Performance Management)

Based on the data published in Mary Meeker's KPCB.com Internet Trends Report for 2015, it is clear that the future is being driven by the adoption of mobile phones. The increasing penetration of smartphones among users is so great that for many of the world's inhabitants, the mobile phone will be their first connection (entirely skipping desktop/laptop computers). The time spent per day interacting with digital media via phones is growing faster and eclipsing other devices. As a result, it becomes increasingly critical for enterprises to deliver compelling mobile experiences and the flawless performance of those mobile applications is essential for achieving success. Consequently, companies must invest in comprehensive mAPM tools in order to be competitive or they will be abandoned by their customers and left behind by their competitors.
Peter Kacandes
Senior Technical Marketing Manager - Mobile, Web, and Synthetics, AppDynamics

You need to have complete visibility into your mobile applications to ensure peak performance. Therefore, the key is to constantly monitor the performance of your mobile apps and resolve issues before they affect the end users. It is also important to know why your applications crashed and take steps to prevent similar issues in the future.
Arun Balachandran
Sr. Market Analyst, ManageEngine

The majority of mobile application performance issues tend to be network related. Given the prevalence of DevOps and shortened cycle times – combined with the exponential combination of devices, networks, and even signal strength to test for – mobile app developers can never adequately performance test to cover all real world use cases. What works great on wifi or LTE might be painfully slow on a 3G network in a low coverage area. Even if you test for 3G conditions as a worst case, the deviations in user configurations can cause dramatically different network request patterns for different mobile users. Mobile app monitoring can show you how many users are being affected, by how much, on what networks, and where in your app. Funnel that insight back into design and you can make informed decisions about which features and screens need optimization attention to keep your users delighted.
Steve Fox
Mobile Product Manager, Dell Foglight APM, Dell Software

11. END USER EXPERIENCE MONITORING

Mobile app performance is a huge issue for organizations that interact directly with consumers, which two independent Quocirca research reports shows to be about 70% of all Europe enterprises. Consumer-facing organizations are far more likely to focus on direct measurement of the user experience through the use of real-time user experience monitoring and linking this to web analytics than their non-consumer-facing counterparts. In other words, the network itself is an uncontrollable variable when it comes to controlling the mobile experience, so the focus must be on the mobile device/app and the online server application performance.
Bob Tarzey
Analyst and Director, Quocirca

According to IT Central Station's community of enterprise technology users, the best way to ensure that mobile applications are performing up to par is to being able to directly correlate the end user's transactions to what your infrastructure provides. The best mobile application performance solutions should be able to monitor and analyze every single user to interface transaction.
Russell Rothstein
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station

12. API MONITORING

Today's applications have become distributed systems, relying on multiple APIs both internal and external, but mobile engineers don't necessarily have the knowledge to build and manage distributed systems. To ensure that mobile applications are performing correctly, you need the assurance that the APIs powering those apps are fulfilling three leading indicators: uptime, performance and correctness. API monitoring provides a complete picture of your app's performance by continuously monitoring the APIs that power that app, ensuring that your API is up, performing and returning the right data.
Neil Mansilla
VP of Developer Relations, Runscope

13. THIRD-PARTY COMPONENT MONITORING

Mobile applications are using a mix of home grown code and resources with numerous third-party web components. Industry averages mention that an average website uses components from about 8 or even more hosts. So in order to ensure that mobile application performance is optimized, it is important to monitor the performance of the web services they talk to. By measuring the performance of all the third-party components, you can identify potential problems and opportunities to improve performance.
Matt Watson
Founder and CEO, Stackify

Read Part 4 of 18 Ways to Ensure Mobile App Performance, the final installment, covering more production solutions such as NPM and ITOA.

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