Change is everywhere and the stakes are high. For 2019, businesses are on track to spend over a trillion dollars on digital modernization, according to a recent study from IDC.
A crucial part of modernization is the growing number of IT organizations using the latest in dynamic, cloud-scale technologies to develop applications. As a result, technology professionals in the businesses you serve must now work with a much more complex and dynamically changing tech stack.
When building and maintaining an app, it’s becoming even more common to have hundreds (or thousands) of pieces of code in containers being continually reconfigured and brought in and out of production. And many of these operations take place in customer-facing applications.
The stakes are high, because if something goes wrong operations could halt. It’s therefore vital to understand the underlying technologies throughout an organization’s IT environment to better equip customers with the tools needed to be successful. Application performance management (APM) tools that simplify stack management, whether it’s on-premises, hybrid or fully cloud-native, provide a level of visibility needed for modern businesses—and they work across multiple cloud environments, such as AWS or Azure.
As a channel partner, you need to be prepared to help your businesses and their customers through this modernization process.
Try the following to help your customers modernize business processes.
Help Them Realize Software Is Now Business-Critical
As IT departments move from on-prem infrastructure and a mix of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and monolithic custom applications to increasingly adopted cloud-based Kubernetes microservices applications, they’re accelerating the adoption of software at the core of all their business processes. The result? Business is increasingly dynamic and responsive—new applications are built and delivered to market faster than ever. But companies are also at risk now when things don’t go well—that strategic app could degrade or fail.
All the tech layers underpinning these applications are also becoming more sophisticated, dynamic and interwoven—and making it still harder to administer as they continuously change at an even faster rate.
Focus Your Customers on Core Competency
There are plenty of open-source tools out there for your customers to use to build their own monitoring. The biggest obstacle for businesses rolling out their own apps while using an open-source tool is core competency.
If, for example, your customer is a wholesale plumbing supply company, is their competency sourcing plumbing supplies or knowing how to write instrumentation code for all their plumbing supply chain applications? Help them focus on what they’re good at and give them tools to manage the rest.
Perhaps you have a large financial services customer who is spending tens of millions, across multiple years, on a team of outsourced experts to write precisely the code required. This is an extremely time-consuming and costly effort, but financial institutions do this because their needs are highly specific and mission-critical, and the cost of not doing it is even higher.
If you look at real-time high-frequency trading environments—where billions of dollars are moved in matters of tenths of a second—you come to understand the stakes justifying these herculean efforts. All of which supports the need for APM tools to help empower the tech pros in-house who monitor and manage these high-speed trading environments.
At the other end of the spectrum are the small tech companies with a new idea they’re out to promote. But when it comes to most companies, their core competency is often not monitoring and managing their infrastructure and applications. It’s understanding the market requirements for their custom apps and getting those apps to market quickly. At the same time, organizations of all shapes and sizes are still confronting the reality that to successfully deliver modern applications we must shift from pure infrastructure performance metrics to the KPIs that best demonstrate end-user experience.
Ultimately, many of the organizations described above have either focused on IT as a core competency or, in the absence of dedicated tech teams (at SMBs, in particular), they have outsourced management of their complex, dynamic tech stack and custom application builds. In both instances, APM tools are a necessity and it’s prime time for the channel to deliver those services.
Be the Most Viable Modernization Partner
By understanding the needs of modern organizations as they grapple with their complex tech stacks, you can ensure you have the right set of tools for your customers.
Provide full-stack capabilities for today’s businesses to manage their applications and keep operations running smoothly. Cater to unique business problems and equip your customers with APM tools based on their needs—advanced logging, trace metrics, performance optimization and full-stack visibility across applications and the compute infrastructure on-premises, hybrid and cloud. Help them check all their functional boxes.
Measure Performance with Full-Stack APM
In all cases, your customers should be measuring performance. Because every company uses a mixture of digital technologies, arming them with full-stack APM will help gain visibility into performance throughout the business. With APM, businesses can see if their system is degrading—and fix it before disaster strikes. That’s the business value for APM—it gives visibility into the complexity underpinning today’s application environments. Full-stack APM provides this visibility, whether the apps are cloud-based, on-premises or hybrid.
But here’s the reality—not all APM tools are the same. Traditional APM solutions weren’t built for the environment IT departments now have, with the addition of containers and microservices-based applications to their existing monolithic and n-tier/SOA applications. Those solutions were made to manage hundreds or thousands of objects with slower rates of change, not the tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands to millions of objects IT works with today.
Also, note the ephemeralness of container-based microservice applications able to live and die in a matter of seconds or less. There’s no time to automatically install a traditional agent, let alone do so manually. The container’s life span is shorter than the time it would take to do such instrumentation. Direct them instead toward a full-stack APM solution with complete coverage of all application architectures: monolithic, n-tier/SOA and microservices based. With anything less, they’re running at a higher risk of brand damage and revenue impact.
By being the experts on APM, providing full-stack visibility and measuring performance, your customers will find modernization success.