By Larry Goldman, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, Progress
To this point, many businesses have failed to look at application experience (AX) management holistically, as its own challenge with its own set of distinct––and interlocking––solutions. This oversight has been to their detriment.
The fact is that every second of lag time on an online banking app risks alienating the consumer. Every glitch on an e-commerce app risks sending the consumer to a competitor. Multiplied out over thousands or millions of touchpoints and interactions, interruptions like these can lead to incalculable losses in both revenue and reputation. Skimping on any one aspect of AX management inevitably leaves businesses open to both financial and reputational harm.
Managing AX the right way means knowing precisely what’s happening in your infrastructure and network at all times. It means having a firm, real-time grasp of how your applications are performing. It means, crucially, being hyper-prepared for potential threats––ready to intervene at any sign of an anomaly.
These four quadrants––infrastructure monitoring and network visibility; security and app performance––intersect and overlap. Without careful attention to all four, no application can hope to compete in today’s marketplace.
Infrastructure monitoring and network visibility
Before you set off in a car, you’re going to want to make sure that the engine works and the brakes are intact. That’s infrastructure monitoring. Run an application on a faulty infrastructure and it’s likely to crash and burn. Proper infrastructure monitoring means knowing precisely how your hardware’s running at all times––your servers, your virtual machines, your routers, and your switches. How’s your memory looking? Is the performance of a certain server running slow? When questions like these are answered instantaneously––and anomalies are automatically flagged and reported––you greatly minimize the odds of disruption or disaster.
Of course, many application performance problems can’t be explained by infrastructure alone. On those occasions, you’re going to need to know what’s happening with your network traffic.
Network visibility is precisely what it sounds like: granular insight into precisely what’s happening on your network. When network visibility is inadequate or partial, routine application problems can quickly spiral. IT scrambles to find the source of the problem as customers get frustrated (best-case scenario) or bad actors worm deeper and deeper into your system (worst-case scenario). Addressing issues on a case-by-case basis is untenable in today’s digital environment: you need total network visibility, 24/7.
Network visibility accounts for the information of everyone who interacts with your servers––from their IP address and protocol to the amount of time they’ve spent on your network. When network visibility is comprehensive, there are no surprises: IT can be made aware of suspicious activity before it becomes a real problem. Your application experience, accordingly, stays fast, reliable, secure and seamless.
Why it all matters: security and application performance
It’s essential to drive home the two main reasons that infrastructure visibility and network monitoring are so important for seamless AX: security and application performance.
Let’s start with security. In the last few years, fueled partly by the pandemic, internet traffic has exploded, growing at an annual rate of 30% between 2018 and 2022. Meanwhile, bad actors are more prevalent than ever––global cyberattacks increased by 28% in the third quarter of this year alone.
Not every house needs a state-of-the-art surveillance system. But if your house is under continual attack by bad actors, you’re going to want to be prepared. And if you run any kind of business in 2022, it’s important to remember: you are always a target. As far as the application experience goes, comprehensive preparedness is the only answer: all it takes is one small breach to lose a non-negligible percentage of your user base.
And then there’s performance. In general, businesses have no room for error here. Just take a look at these stats: according to one survey, a negative mobile experience can make a customer 62% less likely to purchase from a brand in the future, while 90% of users have reported that they stopped using an app because of poor performance. The markets are simply too competitive to risk inconveniencing the consumer in any way.
Of course, when application experience management is done correctly, it is invisible to consumers: the experience on their end is seamless. But this kind of flawless AX is only possible with comprehensive infrastructure monitoring and network visibility, a proactive stance towards potential threats, and a true sense of how your app is performing. You can keep on plugging away in the dark, only half-aware of the trouble awaiting you––or you can make sure, through holistic AX management, that the trouble is turned away at the door.
About the Author
Larry Goldman is the Senior Manager of Product Marketing for Progress. He is an accomplished marketing leader with over 20 years of experience in enterprise software, SaaS, services, and technical B2B marketing.