3 Eras of Application Performance Management

3 Eras of Application Performance Management

21st March 2017

Can you believe it’s been almost 25 years since the earliest iterations of application performance management (APM) tools?

As technology throughout the business changes rapidly, APM vendors have had to add newer and more powerful features over the years. But if infrastructure and operations teams want to keep up with the future, they should understand the 3 eras of APM and its humble beginnings.

To do so, let’s focus on the 3 distinct eras of application performance management technology and see what infrastructure and operations teams concentrate on to drive business value moving forward.

The 1990s – The Age of System Performance Management

The world runs on applications today. But that wasn’t always the case.

This is why the earliest APM tools were actually system performance management tools that were meant to consolidate the network and make it easier to keep track of technical SLAs.

As the internet became a reality, businesses were relying on the IT Infrastructure Library to inform that service management processes. The best practices pointed to a “plan-do-check-act” mindset that worked well with client-service software models that existed entirely on premises.

The pursuit of single source of truth structure for systems and data made sense in this era, but would have been impossible moving forward if these system performance management tools didn’t evolve. This is when modern APM emerged.

The Early 2000s—The First Generation of Application Performance Management

Between 2000 and 2006, the focus started to shift from technical management to user management. SLAs were built from a user perspective as content delivery networks spread out and various departments relied more heavily on third-party technology.

APM tools had to start aligning end user performance issues with specific services. This was the first time IT faced a volume and prioritization issue. Application performance had become so important to business productivity that APM vendors had to catch up and offer more powerful end user experience features.

However, early demands for the ability to prioritize problems and solve them faster were only the beginning.

Late 2000s— Last of the Eras of Application Performance Management?

Forrester labels 2000-2014 as the golden age of the 3 eras of application performance management. The same trends that emerged in the early 2000s accelerated between 2007 and 2014.

DevOps became the standard for agile IT processes, this occurred almost as a necessity in the wake of cloud adoption, virtualization and the proliferation of smart devices and social media. There was still demand for greater APM capabilities.

And this is why APM vendors started uniting through M&A to make great strides in customer experience monitoring, back-end monitoring, third-party component management, and big data analytics.

Despite all of the advancements in the golden age, businesses have continued to evolve faster than standard APM can keep up with. Coming out of 2014, we’ve started to move beyond APM—the focus is now digital performance management (DPM).

Digital Performance Management—The Business-wide Iteration of APM

To this point, APM vendors have worked hard to add features and capabilities that moved APM from a technical tool to one that aligned more with business factors.

This means uniting customer experience analytics with APM to create a digital performance management strategy. However, marketing departments have been using customer experience analytics tools for years— it is not necessary to overhaul an APM tool to include these features.

If you want to use your APM tool to measure business benefits, revenue and customer experience, you need to integrate with customer experience analytics capabilities. That might sound easier said than done, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Contact us today and learn how to integrate any application performance management tool with customer experience analytics to build a DPM approach that unlocks revenue.

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