A survey of 358 strategic IT decision-makers in enterprise organizations across North America and Europe conducted by the market research firm GigaOm on behalf of SolarWinds, a provider of IT management tools, finds that roughly half of the respondents consider themselves proactive in their use of application performance management (APM) tools.
That definition is based on those respondents either strongly agreeing or agreeing that their organization was employing APM tools within the context of all the following criteria:
- Engaged in a digital business transformation initiative.
- Makes use of a hybrid or multicloud computing strategy.
- Has a public-cloud first IT strategy.
- Makes use of best practices for IT operations.
- Line of business teams are driving technology change.
Denny LeCompte, general manager for application management at SolarWinds, said that while significant progress is clearly being made it terms of APM adoption, it’s clear that half or more of the potential market is still wrestling with a variety of challenges that often stem from the cost and complexity associated with acquiring and employing an APM platform at scale.
LeCompte said most of the use of APM is still reactive in that most organizations don’t actively engage an APM tool until there is an actual issue. The survey finds the primary driver for adopting APM is to fix problems (61%), followed by keeping on top of complex application environments (57%), delivering the best possible customer experience (52%) and managing costs and delivering efficient operations (34%). However, it’s worth noting that among the half of the respondents claiming to be proactive about employing APM, customer experience was the primary driver for adopting APM (61%).
Even so, LeCompte noted reliance on APM platforms is often uneven at best. When it comes to adoption, he noted, most organizations are on a journey. Initially, the focus is on IT troubleshooting. Over time, however, customer experience with digital business processes becomes a much bigger factor. Different teams with the same organization are at different stages of that journey, he said.
SolarWinds views the rising tide of APM awareness as the justification for jumping into the category, LeCompte said, claiming the company is committed to providing APM capabilities an IT organization is likely to require, at a fraction of the cost of rival platforms. That’s critical because many organizations have limited the number of applications they track using APM tools because of cost, he said.
As IT environments become more complex in the age of microservices built using highly ephemeral containers, LeCompte said it’s only a matter of time before more IT organizations will need to embrace APM platforms proactively to optimize overall application performance. Individual IT administrators won’t be able to keep track of all the dependencies that might be impacting a “cloud native” application without relying on an APM platform, he noted.
The issue now is finding a way to provide access to an APM platform that everyone on the IT team can regularly employ without breaking the IT budget.