Modern application performance monitoring (APM) solutions do a great job tracking how well your programs are working and helping technical teams troubleshoot problems. But as we believe new Gartner research makes clear, that’s only scratching the surface of APM’s true value.
In fact, while Digital Revenue Officers and other technology leaders increasingly rely on APM for detection, observation, and analysis of application performance, they sometimes struggle to articulate the business justification for that monitoring. That’s because they’re thinking too narrowly. “To support digital business transformation, I&O leaders must broaden APM tool coverage to focus on business insight, customer experience, and service health,” write the report’s authors, Gartner analysts Charley Rich and Federico De Silva (published December 26, 2018).
We’re thrilled that the Gartner report—Broaden Application Performance Monitoring to Support Digital Business Transformation—so eloquently states a truth New Relic has long known, and hear over and over from our customers: Using APM only for application monitoring is leaving money on the table. To derive the full benefits, you have to use APM to monitor business metrics alongside your technology’s performance. Just as important, to easily understand what’s happening, you need to combine both sets of data into a single, coherent pane of glass.
It’s an increasingly existential issue for almost all companies, from legacy enterprises to digital natives: As traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are cannibalized by digital businesses, revenue is shifting from the analog world to the digital domain. Unless you’re monitoring the digital side, you’re missing key contributors to revenue.
Gartner predicts that “enterprises will quadruple their APM monitoring due to increasingly digitalized business processes from 2018 through 2021 to reach 20% of all business applications.” But despite that growth, APM monitors only one part your digital throughput. You need a comprehensive vista across everything that you’re doing. Relying on APM to do nothing more than troubleshoot technical problems is like a doctor prescribing aspirin to deal with an infection: You’re treating only the symptoms while ignoring the underlying cause.
“Vendor briefings, Gartner Peer Insights and PeerConnect, and discussions with customers form the basis of the analysis in this research,” the report reads. We believe it identifies key digital transformation challenges stemming from an overly narrow use of APM that doesn’t include infrastructure, monitoring, and business metrics. In particular, those challenges include prioritizing problems based on customer and business impact, tracking the flow of business transactions from the metrics they collect, and communicating the value of APM as a contributor to business operations.
Far too many APM implementations assume that the application is the only important factor, but at New Relic, we understand that infrastructure and frontend technologies like mobile devices and browsers also affect performance and could, in fact, be leading indicators of performance and business issues.
Even a holistic view of the technology stack tells only half of the story. Monitoring and tracing the transaction throughput can illuminate opportunities to improve customer experience. This, of course, has direct implications on revenue, customer retention, and brand loyalty.