How do you know if you’re fast enough if you can’t measure it? Any runner training for a race, whether it’s a 5k or marathon, will regularly look at their watch to check their pace and ensure that they are on track for their goal. The same applies to your business applications.

A report on application performance by the Aberdeen Group, called Extending APM, found that best-in-class companies that manage application performance across their application infrastructure:

  • Receive fewer complaints from end users
  • Are able to fix application issues more quickly
  • Reduce IT support costs

One of the psychological impediments to accepting software as a shared service across an organization is that departments or divisions lose control over their ability to provide a certain level of service to their employees. There is a risk that their obligations to the organization (e.g. revenue, profitability) will be compromised if another user of the shared service “hogs” the resource and slows things down for everyone else.

For example, a pharmaceutical company would not want a drug submission schedule compromised because the rendering of submission documents was delayed by a mass conversion of documents to PDF/A for long term archiving.

In the event that the system isn’t performing as it should, how can the inevitable witch-hunt and time-consuming forensic IT activity be prevented?

Clearly, a high performance system is the key to user satisfaction and business efficiency. The Aberdeen Report states:

“The need to reduce the number of complaints from end users about slow application response times is the predominant pressure (65%) compelling companies to improve application performance.”

The level of service required must be formally established within a service-level agreement (SLA).  This guarantees the appropriate level of service (e.g. system availability, response time) that the business needs to meet their goals. It also holds the provider – IT – accountable for meeting these obligations.

Performance verification can only be done if there is application monitoring data available.  This ensures that any discussions on this subject are based on cold hard facts instead of user perception. Once you are measuring your performance, it will be clear whether you are on track for your goals.

This is the third in the series, Enterprise Content Transformation: for the Business User. Previously – What Enterprises Need: The Right Tools. (We recently completed a 9-part series about ECT written for the IT user).