News

Voices of Unified APM—Part 4

By | | 5 min read


Summary
In part four of the four-part series “Voices of Unified APM,” we hear from customers who have achieved a common language with their business colleagues as well as their thoughts on how machine learning and AI are currently being used and how they will be incorporated into their organizations in the future.

Achieving business objectives

For decades, IT and the Business existed in separate spheres. IT kept the lights on and the computer systems humming, while the Business brought in revenue. But the increasing role played by software in every business function requires a new, collaborative relationship between IT and Business departments. AppDynamics’ customers said one of the biggest benefits of a unified APM is the common language it provides, allowing IT leaders and the Business owners to take action together to realize desired business outcomes.

Conversion rates and CPUs

Daniel Zavalza Torres, IT director of operations at BestDay Travel, described the disconnect that used to exist between his department and his business colleagues a few years ago. “I’d say, your CPU usage increased 80% because you are using document threading in the wrong manner,” and they’re like, ‘What?’ At the same time, they’d complain to me that the conversion rate had dipped 3%, and that information would be meaningless to me because I couldn’t correlate those two things,” Zavalza said. With AppDynamics, the correlation is automatic, and, better yet, Zavalza doesn’t have to explain how threading can affect CPU usage and subsequently, the conversion rate. All he needs to do is search for the slow business transaction and show his business colleague its impact. Everyone now understands that if users experience a lag of just a second, “it will be at a cost for the company,” Zavalza said.

Monitoring change requests

Adam Landau, senior technology officer at Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE)  Insurance, said the White Plains-based, member-owned reciprocal insurance company originally deployed AppDynamics with two use cases in mind: improving the user experience and giving developers a way to measure the performance of their code before and after it was released. But as the team learned more about AppD’s ability to provide business analytics, that became a focus as well. “We are defining business transactions in AppDynamics so that a business user can now use the tool to understand the impact of a change they are requesting in the system,” Landau said. The neutral feedback provided by AppDynamics on whether a change has caused a performance problem fosters effective communication and leads to more productive working relationships.

Common ground with customers

Alfred Wan, senior director of service delivery and operations at SAP SuccessFactors, discovered an unanticipated benefit of AppDynamics soon after the solution was deployed. Part of Wan’s routine involved giving visiting customers a tour of the company’s Global Operations Center at its San Francisco headquarters. Wan was walking through the center with one of the company’s top ten biggest customers when the customer remarked they also used AppDynamics. Knowing they shared the same monitoring solution brought the companies closer together, Wan said. “The ability to have the same analytics that our customers are using, that’s huge,” he explained. “You can’t get that from any other tool. With AppDynamics, our customers see the same analytics that we see every day.”

Machine learning, AI, and unified APM

Adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies has made significant in-roads in recent years with roughly one in five companies now saying they have incorporated AI or machine learning in some areas of their businesses. Meanwhile, expectations are high across industries that new forms of machine intelligence will make work easier and companies more competitive. According to a survey by O’Reilly Media and MemSQL, 74% of respondents believed AI and machine learning would be a game changer. During the Global Tour, AppDynamics customers talked about the various ways AI and machine learning could be useful to their companies. They described scenarios such as end-user monitoring or introducing “self-healing” into IT systems. At the same time, some cautioned that a unified monitoring solution would be critical to ensure that the systems supporting AI were working properly.

Predicting the next action

Nick Mancuso, senior product manager at U.S. Bank, said his working relationship with artificial intelligence and machine learning is still “conceptual.” However, he could see AI being used to retain a customer. “A lot of AI would have to do with the customer experience,” he explained. “What are they experiencing on our apps? What are they experiencing on our website? How can we better predict what our customer is going to do next?”

Running IT with AI

Iain Mackenzie, vice president of performance engineering at Moody’s, predicted AI and machine learning will reduce complexity and make services more dependable. “We are looking at business service reliability,” he said. “We are looking to see how IT can help us run IT. You might call it AI ops or machine learning; I don’t care. If it can provide value, whether in the cloud, in a hybrid environment, or wherever we are, that’s what we will be looking for.”

Water safety with AI

Sandeep Chugh, senior application lead at Ecolab, said his company has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence. By developing the right algorithms and training them on the right data, Ecolab hopes to be able to predict potential problems that its customers may face with water quality—among other projects. But Chugh acknowledges there is always a risk an AI will not have access to the information it needs to function accurately. That’s where AppDynamics will come in, Chugh said. AppDynamics can monitor the AI and all its dependencies. “With AppDynamics, we will be able to verify that the AI we are using is working as expected,” Chugh explained.

Conclusion

Since AppDynamics was founded ten years ago, our Application Performance Monitoring solution has evolved along with changing architectures, advances in computing power, and the increasing availability of bandwidth. The customers who accompanied us on the Global Tour are as committed as we are to putting new technologies to work to meet business needs, and we are grateful to be able to support them as they shift applications to public and private clouds, modernize legacy applications with containers and microservices, deploy IoT and more. It is gratifying to watch our customers’ success grow as their businesses transform. No matter the industry, they are proving the value of unified APM and demonstrating what is possible via innovative technology.