Think 2019: Embracing the Cognitive Enterprise

Twenty years ago, companies were just beginning to leverage the internet to revolutionize the way they do business. Much has changed since then, of course, with a scrappy online bookseller emerging to become the world’s second largest e-commerce company and one of the biggest cloud providers—not to mention having one of the highest market caps in the financial world.

So what’s next? At Think 2019, a lot of discussion centered on IBM’s concept of the cognitive enterprise, one that uses artificial intelligence and distributed technologies such as blockchain to power—and disrupt—the markets of the future.

Bridging Cloud Native to Your Enterprise

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon might be the epicenter of Cloud Native and Kubernetes, but IBM Think isn’t far off. More than 70 sessions at Think 2019 involved Kubernetes in some capacity, with over 140 Cloud Native technologies represented. A popular topic at the conference was how Cloud Native could enhance traditional enterprise applications, particularly as businesses look to rearchitect their platforms to meet increased demand. This makes sense, as a key component of the cognitive enterprise is the ability to proactively meet customer and system needs.

Is Your Enterprise Cognitive?

Ignoring the cognitive enterprise today might prove as big a strategic blunder as missing the e-business bandwagon back in the 90s. But the path to cognition isn’t easy. For starters, building confidence in artificial intelligence takes time, as enterprises start to adopt technology that impacts their customers and operations.

To keep up with constant change, we need to be more cognizant of the problems our clients face. But replatforming and adopting complex technology is no mean feat. Decisions around paying off technical debt vs. future feature capabilities are not easy for product owners. Validating how/if change is impacting our business is an art form, with the objective and subjective merging. For instance, does providing a better customer and user experience lead to a higher conversion rate?

AppDynamics has the capability to track this customer journey—from mobile phone to mainframe—a fact highlighted by Jonah Kowall, AppDynamics Vice President of Market Development and Insights, in his excellent Think 2019 session. We enable your enterprise to proactively monitor, analyze and repair issues across a large swatch of your application infrastructure.


Jonah Kowall’s IBM Think session

Artificial Intelligence Goes Mainstream

The historic 1990s chess matches between human and machine—Garry Kasparov vs. IBM Deep Blue—showed that a computer could beat the best chess player in the world. Artificial intelligence has come a long way since then, with modern enterprises embracing AI/ML technology in a big way. Today, deep learning frameworks are some of the most popular open source packages available. At Think 2019, the number and variety of vendors featuring AI/ML capabilities, from robotic process automation to AppDynamics’ AIOps, showed just how far artificial intelligence has advanced in the enterprise.

AppDynamics Looks Forward with AIOps

As organizations start to navigate the cognitive enterprise, they’ll need to make many critical decisions when upgrading and rearchitecting their platforms. AppDynamics is embarking on an AIOps journey to help businesses strengthen their consumer and enterprise portfolios with cognitive technologies. We are excited to continue and deepen our IBM partnership, and to help each organization become a cognitive enterprise.

How Black Friday and Cyber Monday Were Saved with Performance and Monitoring Tools

Ah, the holidays. A great occasion to spend quality time with your family, eat a little too much, and indulge on the fantastic shopping deals. Online shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday account for a critical chunk of a retailer’s yearly revenue. Any downtime or abnormal slow performance will directly impact the bottom line of the business. So how should these e-commerce companies protect this increased income by preparing their site and applications properly to handle the drastic increase in load?

We partnered with InternetRetailer.com to conduct a survey of senior retail executives to see how e-commerce sites prepared for the holiday season, and how these preparations were crucial in surpassing their revenue goals. We went into the survey looked for specific answers, such as: If these sites invested in performance monitoring tools did they fare better through the holidays with less downtime? Were sites with a performance troubleshooting process in place more likely to exceed their goals? How has mobile e-commerce traffic grown year over year?Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.00.25 AM

Download the full report here

The results were quite surprising. We knew performance mattered as every minute of downtime these e-commerce sites would be losing money. However, we didn’t realize exactly how crucial having monitoring tools and a troubleshooting process were.

Some interesting facts:

  • 92% of retailers that had a site performance troubleshooting process were more likely to have met or exceeded their revenue numbers
  • 70% of retailers who exceed their revenue goals added new site performance and monitoring tools prior to the holidays
  • 24% reported their holiday mobile traffic increased by over 41% from the year before

The mobile piece is quite interesting. Though we know the mobile experience is a crucial stage in the buying cycle — notably for discovering and browsing — it still isn’t typically the final device used for the purchase stage. However, as the mobile traffic increases, the user experience still remains an absolutely vital cog in the purchase decision. In a previous study we conducted with the University of London, we found 86% of customers who have a bad first experience on a mobile app will never return to the app for a second chance.

The report doesn’t only highlight interested facts derived from the survey, but also insight from some of the top e-commerce companies in the world. Charles Hunsinger, CIO at Harry and David, details their troubleshooting process, “ We have several different tools in place, and they give us a lot of information to understand, if there is an issue, where it is coming from.”

On the mobile angle, Heather Dettmann, Digital Business Manager at Finish Line, states, “We know that customers will continue to explore and purchase products through a variety of touch-points, and we’ll continue to be everywhere that they are …. and deliver the best possible customer experience.”

Interested in checking out the full report, click here for your FREE copy!

Don’t Let (Application) Performance Ruin Your Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s day. Are you a believer or a begrudger who categorizes the day as commercialism merely designed to empty our pockets?

Regardless of where you fall on the skeptical scale, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey, we’re going to spend almost $19 billion painting the day red. Over 25% of us will head online rather than trudging the streets. And we’re going to want to find and order our gifts fast.

The greatest differentiator an online retailer can offer its customers – short of incredibly low prices that few can sustain – is blazing fast, reliable service. When we click on an image of a prospective gift, the product and purchase information should display instantaneously. No matter what day or time it is — and regardless of where in the world we happen to be.

We’re working with some of the largest retailers worldwide to help them assure their online performance and secure their customers’ business. In our latest customer roundup, we share how three of our retail customers went about doing this.

Overstock.com, one of the top most-visited mass merchandiser sites in the US, dramatically reduced the time it took to find the route cause of outages and fix them in a matter of minutes rather than hours — or even days. During 2014’s Black Friday weekend, Overstock reported a 23% increase in their sales over the same period a year earlier.

The Container Store, the US’ original and leading retailer of storage and organization products, realized speed was vital — particularly for “stocking-stuffer” gifts — and that customers could experience entirely different website performance depending on their location. Deciding to be proactive in assuring a consistent, lightening-fast response time to all customers, they used AppDynamics to locate website bugs and fix them before the customer is even aware of a potential problem. Even a 100-fold traffic spike on Cyber Monday holds no fear for The Container Store’s quality assurance team.

And not only did Wowcher — a popular daily deals site in the UK — reduce the time it took to repair faults to just 10 minutes, it also used AppDynamics to ensure their customers did not experience a degradation in performance when they migrated to Amazon EC2. That’s good news for all the men and ladies out there looking for a last-minute romantic experience, at a pocket-sparing-price.

Check out our FREE ebook, How 3 Global E-Commerce Companies Maintain Optimal Performance.