Once again, we are wrapping up another whirlwind of a year in IT, and it's the time when everyone is busy sharing their resolutions and goals for the next year.
We never know how things will change, but based upon the realities of what we have experienced in 2013, I believe a number of technology and market trends will thrust APM, NPM and service delivery management into an exciting period. However you define APM, the whole performance management landscape is on the cusp of a number of important changes that will alter the game in 2014. Here are some predictions around key areas you can expect to see change:
1. “Service Delivery Manager” will become a full-time role in IT organizations
In IT's move to be more responsive to the business – and in contrast to the "it's not my problem" finger pointing of today's stifling IT operational silos – more IT organizations will carve out an entirely new IT position: Service Delivery Manager.
This role will transcend application, network and server teams, and will become a single point of responsibility, or accountability, for the orchestration, performance, availability, and quality of applications and services delivered to enterprise users. Services not meeting SLAs? The buck stops here.
Consequently, the Service Delivery Manager role will become the quarterback and the broader IT organization will focus more on cross-operational team collaboration to look at services in a more holistic way.
2. The consumerization of IT will create unprecedented user expectations
With residential broadband speeds of 100 Mbps or more becoming widely available and 4G/LTE mobile devices becoming more pervasive, companies face a user base that expects the same experience anywhere they connect – at the office, at home or on the go. Increasingly this means achieving access to the enterprise network and its applications from any device, from anywhere and at any time.
All of these user expectations will directly impact how IT organizations need to think about the application delivery infrastructure, and how application and service performance can be maximized and delivered on a consistently high-quality basis.
As a result, IT will struggle to keep up with both the business and end user expectations, and with an ever more connected world, it will be harder than ever to effectively manage application delivery.
3. “As-a-Service” complexity will continue to grow
As organizations increasingly shift to hosted and managed applications, from platform-as-a-service development environments to "swipe & go" software-as-a-service, the service delivery environment will continue to virtualize. Applications, network, services, storage and other previously independent, on-premise elements will be distributed across private, public and hybrid clouds. This will add an incremental layer of complexity for IT organizations in managing application service delivery, quality and performance across a virtualized and geographically distributed infrastructure.
4. The rise of networks 2.0 will bring significant change
In 2014, we will continue to see IT organizations implementing optimization technologies and more virtualization to change the way applications are delivered over modern IP networks. While SDN and NFV technologies will still be in an emerging stage, application implementation strategies will start to see significant transformation as networks increasingly flatten and become more intelligent, and application-aware through software-controlled approaches.
5. In the age of performance networking, service delivery assurance will become a necessity
As organizations come face-to-face with the challenges listed above (and many others), companies must make performance management and assuring service delivery a high priority to keep data flowing uninterrupted and maintain operational continuity.
To meet this challenge, IT organizations must not only take into consideration the network and applications, but also the notion of the service delivery environment and the true user experience. Focusing on components of the service delivery architecture will prove to be less effective and will result in little to no improvement in user satisfaction levels. Consequently, service-centric visibility across the entire service domain will be essential, and making the right investments in assuring the delivery of services will pay huge dividends in uptime, productivity and cost-efficiency.
As operational cost sensitivities continue to be the norm, the IT organization must move beyond a siloed operational model – bringing together people, processes and technologies to address the common challenge of improving the service delivery chain in a unified way.
We are in such an exciting time, and in such a dynamic industry. Some things change quickly, and others take seemingly forever, so it will be interesting to see how 2014 plays out.
Steven Shalita is Vice President, Marketing for NetScout Systems, Inc.
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