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.

View a complimentary copy of the full report: “Broaden Application Performance Monitoring to Support Digital Business Transformation.”

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.

varied data funneled into laptop

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.

Gartner’s evidence

“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.

To address some of these challenges, the Gartner report offers four specific recommendations that I&O leaders focused on IT operations should focus on:

Isolate the causes of problems that have the greatest impact on customers by using digital experience monitoring (DEM) to track the performance of business-critical applications.

Provide business leaders with a view of the connection between application performance metrics and business outcomes by creating dashboards showing how application performance and digital experience impact business KPIs.

Deliver real-time insight into the flow of business processes and customer journeys by measuring, analyzing, and visualizing the components of business processes to demonstrate how a flow or sequence can affect business results.

Expand the scope of APM practices by using APM solutions in concert with infrastructure monitoring to detect rapid changes in availability and performance that could limit business performance.

Only when you start to do these things can monitoring cease to be perceived as an expense and become a solution that provides insight and business value.

And that’s where the New Relic platform comes in. Designed to help development and operations teams monitor the health of their full technology stack, quickly troubleshoot any issues identified, and share key metrics about your digital business with a broader team of stakeholders—it’s the ideal tool to optimize your business’ digital customer experience.

For more information and best practices for optimizing the DCX of your websites and mobile apps as well as for improving their underlying services and infrastructure, visit: https://newrelic.com/resource/digital-customer-experience-best-practices

The bottom line

digital business concept: this week in modern softwareAt New Relic, we understand that our customers need to know how their customers are reacting—positively or negatively—to the technology being served to them. Sure, you need to know what’s going on in your app, but you also need to look at that in context with other data around the app.

For example, if transactions are slow, you could be losing money while your site availability sits at 100%, and not suspect that anything is wrong. Revenue throughput monitoring could tell you what’s really happening, and what you really need to know. If customers stop the buying process, why did they do so? Did something fail them? Did the app crash or stall? Did checkout not work? Stats on throughput will tell the tale.

The key is to focus on the net outcome: how is customer experience pushing revenue up or down? Put more directly, if you’re not connecting your digital strategy with revenues, what exactly are you looking at?

Note: Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences, and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.

Rob Peterson is Senior Director of Business Value and Strategy at New Relic. Rob has 21 years of experience building and managing highly effective organizations in finance, technology, and support for brands like American Express, eBay, and Qwest Communications. He has led financial planning departments with oversight of budgets ranging from $1.4M to $1.27B, including operations departments of 100 employees and technology teams with 23 analysts and engineers. Rob built the Global Resource Planning group for the world's first major e-commerce platform and consults for various e-commerce startups to develop their business and technology strategy. Rob has bachelor’s degrees in both accounting and economics and an MBA from the University of Utah. View posts by .

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