You’ve spent significant resources on cutting edge application performance management tools with the expectation that this investment will result in major boost in performance; without measurable improvement, purchasing these robust APM tools is difficult to justify financially. Here are four ways you can ensure your APM tools are meeting your goals and expectations, and delivering the best possible return on investment:
“Marketing of Monitoring”
We often see organizations who have deployed the latest and greatest APM tools end up “not getting the value” they were counting on. To put it simply, there’s a difference between having a tool and using a tool. Modern APM tools have lowered the bar for user adoption and have made the UI’s much more approachable for the new user, but adoption still requires a push.
There is a huge need to continue to provide the “Marketing of Monitoring” function we constantly remind our customers about. Driving engagement is all about communicating the value of new APM tools. Some approaches to this include:
- Hands-on training and workshops conducted internally or via external partners
- Development and publishing standard on-boarding processes for APM that encourages application-team engagement
- Lunch and Learn or internal web meetings to demonstrate functionality and share success stories
- Top-down “go to green” initiatives that force the organization to meet SLA’s identified by the APM tools
- Meeting with various cross-functional “towers”, including QA, production support, development, architecture and monitoring teams.
- Tower-specific dashboards, reports, and notifications that address specific needs
Top-down Support and Enforcement
Grassroots support is great to get projects started, but in order to guarantee success key stakeholders should be involved in driving the success criteria of the APM monitoring program.
Establishing a time frame for measuring performance against this criteria will help establish accountability throughout the organization.
Top-down “get to green” initiatives that score applications based on achieving performance/availability goals will drive desirable behavior and the people/process aspect of the APM tools deployment. This includes making sure there are proper feedback loops created to support the effort, including:
- A weekly or monthly Application Scorecard/Dashboard, paired with some consequences should SLA’s not be met
- SLA or Error events processed through the event management and ticketing systems
- Establishing and enforcing KPI measurement approaches universally, so no one can “game” the system
Establish an Integration Strategy
Without external integrations, APM tools exist on an island. While this can provide a great opportunity for diagnosing issues, most organizations leverage tools across multiple vendors. Integrations between diverse best of breed tools create healthy ecosystems, but it’s crucial you start with a plan.
Establish an integration strategy based on either a development-based approach (i.e. using Apache Kafka) or acquiring integration software like J9’s OpStream. Exposing APM metrics, events, and business transaction topologies externally allows other teams to understand the data in their own language.
Rather than trying to force the usage of a single “uber”-tool, lower the bar for external teams to consume the APM data. A multi-channel/streaming approach to syndicating APM data can help to break down the silos that build up around specific tools or a single vendor’s products and make your IT more effective and collaborative.
Eliminate Redundant Tools
We often see two or three separate APM-type tools deployed in an organization, each with separate teams managing them. In some instances these tools offer distinct value propositions that justify their continued use, necessitating integrations. However in many situations, the tools are redundant.
While we consider tools integration a critical success factor in deployment of APM solutions, the ability to eliminate redundant tools provides your IT organization with additional resources to do more meaningful work. By consolidating tools into a single platform, you can leverage more of the core features and then decide where additional tools should fit into the overall IT monitoring service.
APM tools are powerful and hold immense potential, but only if implemented and used appropriately. Without the right system in place and the proper supporting infrastructure, the money spent on the best APM tools could be wasted. The key to getting strong ROI on your APM tools lies in driving engagement from the top down through internal marketing, support, enforcement, and leveraging the organization-wide perspective you have to set strategy and eliminate redundancy.