As a growing number of organisations modernise, expand and transform the way they work, functional expansion and digital projects that allow networks and the applications that run on them are becoming the foundation for how all employees get their work done. In providing these applications to end-users, more organisations are migrating their applications to the cloud. 

Those that implement a mix of cloud and on-premise applications have created so-called hybrid IT architectures, which can provide significant IT and business benefits but also lead users to struggle with poor app performance issues on an alarmingly regular basis.

This creates a significant gap between the performance needs of businesses and IT’s ability to deliver. With apps, data and users scattered across branch offices and other remote locations, optimising and delivering excellent application performance is becoming increasingly difficult.

The Riverbed Global Application Performance Survey 2015 shows that while 98 percent of executives believe that enterprise application performance is critical to achieving optimal business performance, 89 percent say poor performance of enterprise applications negatively impacts their productivity on a regular basis. As a result, this performance gap frustrates users and creates a flood of IT help desk requests.

What’s more, with transformational IT projects having an increasing impact on business productivity, poor network performance can lead to lost revenue and customers, lower employee morale, and a negative brand image. To close this gap, IT must establish real-time end-to-end visibility across the entire network.

The challenge of hybrid IT

Although businesses are migrating more applications to the cloud, they usually keep those that provide access to highly sensitive information and systems on premise. This has given way to hybrid IT architectures, where monitoring application and network performance more complicated, time-consuming and costly for IT. With apps, data and users scattered across branch offices and other remote locations, optimising and delivering excellent app performance is becoming increasingly challenging year on year.

In fact, 96 percent of survey respondents use some cloud-based enterprise applications in their work today, and 84 percent expect their company’s use of these applications will increase over the next two years. When those applications deliver the expected user experience, they result in benefits including improvements in flexibility (58 percent), productivity (53 percent), cost savings (46 percent), agility (41 percent), and collaboration (40 percent).

When those applications fail to meet performance expectations, they directly impact productivity and the company’s bottom line. Creating problems such as dissatisfied customers (41 percent), contract delays (40 percent), missed critical deadlines (35 percent), lost clients (33 percent) and negative impact on the brand (32 percent).

Achieving full visibility

Most users blame these problems on IT, and many (71 percent) say they frequently feel “in the dark” about why their enterprise applications are running slowly. In response to network issues, 37 percent of respondents admit they have turned to the use of unsupported apps when corporate apps run slowly or stop working. Their use of “shadow IT” not only adds to infrastructure complexity and undermines IT’s information security efforts. It also leads to compliance violations and adds unnecessary services that create inefficiencies with those already implemented and overseen by IT.

The solution is to establish end-to-end visibility into application performance across the entire network. To close the performance gap, IT needs to develop a clear line of sight into how apps are performing, and how they impact on the end-user experience. By identifying the cause of performance issues, IT can fix them before users even notice. IT’s improved visibility into application performance would result in increased productivity (56 percent) and revenue (43 percent), as well as improved customer service (54 percent), product quality (49 percent) and employee engagement (46 per cent).

The keys to application performance

The key to meeting users’ high expectations for app performance in complex hybrid environments is for IT to achieve optimal application performance across the network. However, factors such as keeping track of a changing mix of cloud-hosted, on-premises, and shadow IT apps can be a challenge.

New technologies that allow visibility, optimisation and control mean that even within hybrid architectures, with multiple locations housing different apps and data, everything can be stored securely in the central data centre.

Effective monitoring of application performance requires an understanding of three key issues:
1.       Mastering the art of application performance: With the increasing use of cloud technology, and the sheer unprecedented mass of data that is now being generated, ensuring the best possible application performance is more important than ever. By successfully addressing this issue, organisations can achieve increased productivity and bigger cost savings.
2.       Visibility: It can be difficult for IT to detect and isolate performance issues within networks. To establish what is happening with a particular application, IT requires complete visibility of the cloud as well as on-premise infrastructures.

3.       Access to application performance infrastructure: Thanks to cloud technology, IT now can configure application infrastructures so that they respond to the organisation’s needs, and integrate these infrastructures with other systems within the network,  ensuring flawless delivery and the best user experience.

As businesses move more applications to the cloud, and as a growing number of employees work in branch offices and other remote locations, organisations are becoming increasingly vulnerable to application performance challenges. As businesses strive to be more agile and productive, closing the application performance gap is becoming a priority.

They will only be able to stay ahead if they have a clear view of how all apps are performing, no matter where they are.

Wimpie van Rensburg



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