CIO perspective

How Application Performance Monitoring Can Provide a Foundation for Trust Between the Business and the CIO

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The cold-war adage of “trust, but verify” aptly describes the approach CIOs can take to use application performance monitoring (APM) to earn the trust of business leadership. Trust is a critical factor in the relationship between IT and the business — both difficult to earn and easy to lose. As a business executive who specializes in technology, the CIO is the bridge between the two and must strike the balance between delivering superior services that add value to the business and improving cost efficiency at the same time. Application performance monitoring solutions provide the “verify” component that enables business leadership to have trust in the CIO.

Automated APM solutions provide a clear view of business transaction performance, end-user experience and the infrastructure components impacting them and help the CIO verify how technology is supporting the business and bring credibility to the IT organization. APM solutions enable IT departments to identify problems and help resolve them quickly so the CIO has a clear understanding of how existing apps are performing today. Historical reporting on business transaction performance, user behavior and throughput can be used to help guide recommendations on the introduction of new applications and technologies that will provide the most business growth.

As a business leader who specializes in technology, the CIO must inspire the IT organization to make technology the foundation for business success, leveraging his or her expertise to initiate business strategy, drive productivity and facilitate innovation that will create business growth. Today’s new, disruptive technologies certainly offer exciting opportunities to fuel business growth, but CIOs first need to have a thorough understanding of the business they’re supporting. When they come to the table, they must bring both that understanding and a sound plan for how those new technologies will help the business grow.

CIOs can’t wait for business leadership to tell them what to do but, rather, must foster a partnership between IT and the business that makes IT the first choice for innovative solutions. IT organizations need to take a proactive stance in knowing their business customer’s market and being able to provide innovative solutions that will drive growth.

APM doesn’t solve every problem, but it will give the CIO a secure handle on how the current technology is supporting the business and provide the IT department with solid data to confidently recommend changes to existing apps or to add a new app to solve a problem that’s occurring in the environment.

If business leadership believes the CIO and IT organization can deliver a quality user experience with consistently available and performing applications, they will begin to trust that the CIO knows what he or she is talking about when they recommend other technology to support business initiatives.

Businesses continually demand new applications and technologies they believe will provide a better service or help them more effectively sell a product. It is impossible to respond to these demands appropriately if IT can’t see exactly how existing apps are performing across the environment today. The IT organization needs the visibility afforded by solid, automated APM solutions to know how business transactions are performing, what real users are experiencing and what’s happening in the infrastructure that is impacting them so they can advise the business on how their requested new technologies will function within it.

APM solutions supplement existing skill sets within the IT department and help the entire team deliver quality applications. Enabled by the clear view of application availability and user experience, and the capability to track end-to-end application performance, the IT team has the agility to proactively respond to problems before they can impact the business and manage the added complexity that comes with today’s new technologies.

Armed with confidence in how and why new technologies will benefit the business, how they will fit into the existing infrastructure, and the knowledge that APM will enable the whole IT organization to leverage their expertise for the delivery of quality applications, the CIO and IT team can make the right choices for the business and begin to foster the trust of business leadership.

Cost-efficiency is on the other side of the CIO’s balance beam. APM provides the safety net for cost-saving and increased productivity by enabling cross-functional teams to work together to solve problems and spend less time in troubleshooting, and identifying opportunities for virtualization to save on facilities costs. The IT team also will spend less time on manual day-to-day support of applications and be able to focus more time on supporting innovation and new technologies that ensure business success. All of this adds up to operational excellence, and operational excellence equals trust in the eyes of business leadership.

As more and more applications become business critical, application performance monitoring itself becomes business critical. The bottom line is that businesses today have choices. They can rely on their IT departments, or they can go outside to managed services or cloud providers. If the business makes a choice that’s outside the organization, the CIO and IT are stuck supporting that choice; so it is essential for the CIO to build and maintain trust with the business.

Application performance monitoring gives IT the ability to deliver high-quality applications, hold the line on costs, and boosts the CIO’s credibility and trust with business leadership.

Kent Mingus is director of product marketing for Foglight, Quest’s industry-leading application performance monitoring solution. His responsibilities include positioning, go-to-market strategies, planning and execution of marketing programs and tracking the latest customer and industry trends. Kent has practiced in this field for almost a decade with leading companies such as Quest, BMC, VERITAS and Precise. Prior to his marketing career, he worked in high-tech software in various engineering positions including consulting on projects such as the Iridium satellite project and the U.S. and Israeli Air force F-16 avionics upgrade programs. adaptive application management.

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