Today it’s nigh on impossible to find a company that doesn’t rely on some form of app for nearly every business function. Apps have become the lifeblood of our world and the application programmes that are required to perform all business functions such as database management, e-mail, word processing, process optimisation and instant messaging to name a few is also known as the application stack.
Lack of visibility into these complex infrastructures, together with outmoded management techniques, can be damaging to a business. Ultimately responsibility for the smooth running of these programs falls to the IT department, and it has never been nor will it ever be a simple task.
Application management is not a new concept. However, with the rising complexity and sophistication of apps and relevant processes they activate, IT Pros find it a challenge to ensure consistent access and complete up time, you could say they need super powers to maintain this new environment. It’s no longer just about an application being available (working), it’s whether the app is meeting business and ultimately end user expectations.
According to a recent end-user survey, almost every UK employee reported that application performance and availability directly affect their ability to do their job. In fact, 44 per cent of end users said it was absolutely critical to help accomplish their work. As a result, a sub-par end-user experience and periods of downtime has a substantial impact on productivity, lost revenue and poor employee satisfaction.
The pressure on IT Pros continues to increase with evolving end user expectations. An influx of smart devices into the workplace has allowed people to work more efficiently and with greater flexibility, meaning businesses are not only forced to tackle an increasing number tickets, but many are flagged with “as soon as possible” deadlines.
In the same survey, over two-thirds of UK employees said they expect IT to solve an app issue in one hour or less, with 30 per cent of respondents expecting a resolution in half an hour or less. This situation isn’t going to change any time soon and if IT Pros don’t evolve their tools and processes now they’ll be overwhelmed by tomorrows work environment.
There are several practical steps IT Pros can take to minimise the time they spend identifying and re-mediating problems and free up more time to pro-actively address potential issues and threats. Here are some considerations that will help:
- Weigh up performance and financial cost together: For many organisations, a shift to a cloud model is often a purely financial decision. However, an application-centric IT department should consider performance as much as finances when it comes to compute, storage and networking technology, to avoid hassles later on.
- Consolidate the infrastructure: The more partners involved, the longer it takes to troubleshoot problems inside an application. IT Pros should try to consolidate as much of the infrastructure as possible under internal management.
- Seek visibility of the infrastructure: Take control across the entire stack and ensure complete visibility of the infrastructure is a key component of what a partner or vendor offers. Reliance on partners’ monitoring capabilities means that, ultimately, the end user experience is on their terms.
With more and more UK businesses transitioning to the cloud, understanding the app centric environment is essential. By breaking down traditional IT silos and understanding how critical apps are becoming for business, IT Pros can transition into the full application stack view to truly optimise performance – not only for IT, but the business as a whole and in the future.