Application Performance Management 

What are you doing to stimulate app user loyalty?

In the app economy it’s no longer good enough just to have an app that works – it needs to meet and anticipate the needs of those it is serving. Here’s how APM can help.

Recently, Tech-Tonics lead analyst Gabriel Lowy wrote a thought leadership paper, “It’s All About the User Experience,” that did a great job of providing an overview of challenges we see now due to the consumerization of IT and how important it is to ensure an extraordinary user experience in this application economy.

As applications increasingly drive the business, application performance management (APM) is strategic to employee engagement and customer satisfaction. The ability to deliver services 24-7, 365 days a year from any data center over any network to any device is becoming the ultimate competitive differentiator.

The rise of the app economy and consumer expectations

End users are spending more time on their smart devices for both personal and employer-related activities along with the rise of the app economy. This reflects the explosion in the number of apps and the ease with which they can be consumed. It is also a byproduct of BYOD (bring your own device) programs that have erased the line between personal and corporate-issued devices. Meanwhile, cloud computing, mobility and social networking are moving from trends to near-ubiquity.

In this environment, end-users have little to no tolerance for poor application and website performance. Most expect excellent service regardless of the device they are using or where they are located. Researchers have determined that users can differentiate website performance to within 250 milliseconds. A millisecond is one-thousandth of a second. Once page loads exceed three seconds, the risk of dissatisfaction increases. After five seconds, most users are gone.

Increasing network speeds and data sources have given users nearly unlimited access to information. In addition to increasing performance expectations, customers now have more choice and influence than ever before. And social media has amplified their voice.

Compelling business cases for APM

As a result, companies have only seconds to build – or lose – customer loyalty, based on the quality of apps the business deploys and how those apps perform. This makes customer satisfaction and operational efficiency the primary business cases for APM.

When applications run well, companies are better positioned to achieve ROI and risk management objectives. Companies increase their ability to drive more revenue from existing customers and win new ones, strengthening competitiveness.

Conversely, poor application performance negatively impacts the business. Since modern applications have so many connection points between the end user and the data center, performance issues can arise anywhere along the application delivery chain. Failure at any point can turn a satisfied user into a frustrated one. If that user is an employee, productivity drops and so does their engagement. If the end user is a customer, the cost can be much higher in the form of eroded loyalty, missed revenue opportunities and reputational damage.

When application performance or availability issues arise, end users expect a quick response time to problem resolution from IT – increasingly within minutes. And they hold IT accountable for performance regardless of whether the app is managed internally or by a cloud service provider. It’s no longer good enough for an application to work; it now must perform to user expectations.

Why application downtime spells trouble

Today, application downtime is not only a performance problem; it is a customer service problem. By ensuring that the apps that drive the business have the highest availability and reliability, IT can become more integral to customer service and loyalty.

CIO’s can more closely align with user objectives and corporate strategy by recognizing their role in employee engagement and customer satisfaction. The right tools can identify root cause of application issues and perform real-time triage to optimize user experience.

The increased reliance on applications to run all facets of the business has made it more important than ever for enterprises to monitor and manage the end user experience across all environments: physical, virtual, cloud, mobile and mainframe.

As these new computing trends increase complexity, only a unified APM platform that integrates all data across the entire application delivery chain can provide the operational intelligence to assure user experience. A more holistic approach that breaks down data silos across different IT teams and user departments provide deeper insights into systems and customers, while improving collaboration and operational efficiency.

A clear linkage has emerged with how improvements in customer experiences are driving financial benefits. But in order to realize the benefits of satisfied customers, application performance must been stellar – consistently. It is critical to maintaining customer loyalty, achieving ROI and risk management objectives, and sustaining competitive advantage.

I highly recommend you read the whitepaper I mentioned at the beginning of this post, “It’s All About the User Experience,” to learn more about what you can do to stimulate your app user loyalty.


Anand is a senior director, product marketing for Application Performance Management (APM) at CA Technologies.…

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