Home to the Best and the Brightest

AppDynamics’ success in the marketplace and our growth trajectory have been just phenomenal. But for me personally, one of the most rewarding aspects of founding and growing a tech start-up is the opportunity to work with some of the smartest and most skilled people on the planet. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. And the fact that they chose AppDynamics — when many could really write their own ticket at almost any tech company — is tremendous validation of our concept, our culture, and our future.

Most recently, two of the leading visionaries and thinkers in our industry joined our team. Jonah Kowall comes to us from Gartner, where he was a research vice president and led the influential application performance monitoring and network performance monitoring and diagnostics magic quadrants. Jonah is our vice president of market development and insights, a newly created position, and he will play a lead role in defining our posture as “the application intelligence company” in this category that we are virtually creating. Few people in the industry have such broad and deep insight into application monitoring from both the technological and business perspectives. Jonah does a much better job than I can of explaining why he joined AppDynamics in his own blog post. (Read more about Jonah here.)

John Rakowski joins AppDynamics from Forrester Research, where he focused on strategic analysis of APM, IT operations analytics, DevOps, and digital business analytics — not coincidentally, all disciplines that are integral to the AppDynamics roadmap. John will play a key role as a product marketing strategist helping to define and strengthen our growing portfolio of IT operations management solutions. (Read more about John here.)

Also joining our team as vice president of product marketing is Kalyan Ramanathan, who most recently served as chief marketing officer at Crittercism, the mobile APM company. Kalyan has obvious expertise in mobile, which is or shortly will become a core discipline for almost every enterprise. But he also brings more than 20 years of experience in APM, DevOps, and automation with both industry giants and startups. He knows our industry from a number of strategic angles and will be invaluable in building our Application Intelligence Platform’s dominance in the market. (Read more about Kalyan here.)

Rounding out our executive announcements is a critically important player — Randy Gottfried, our new chief financial officer. Randy comes to us from Riverbed Technologies, where he was COO and CFO. He has a highly impressive track record for building and managing rapidly growing businesses, and valuable experience in the public markets. His expertise will be indispensable as we continue to scale up our operations worldwide and reach critical growth and revenue milestones. We’re staking our claim in the $30+ billion IT operations management and analytics markets. And we’re growing at a breakneck pace on every level — revenue, customers, staff. All of that requires astute, strategic financial management. We’re pleased to have Randy at our financial helm. (Read more about Randy here.)

Welcome to these new leaders. And welcome to the other 200+ colleagues who joined AppDynamics in the past fiscal year. Every day, week after week, the best and brightest engineers, product developers, managers, marketers, customer champions and more sign on to the AppDynamics team. Together, we’re redefining an industry and creating a new category to help the world’s software-defined businesses leverage technology to see everything that’s happening in their ecosystem, act quickly to optimize user experience, and know what it all means for their business.

Why I Joined AppDynamics

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve accepted a role with AppDynamics as VP of Market Development and Insights, helping AppDynamics expand into new markets both in terms of addressing buyers and in additional areas where technology can be applied. At the same time, I will be running much of the public insights we’ll be focusing on as we expand. If you’re unfamiliar with my work, I’ve been a research VP at Gartner within the IT operations management team for the last four years, leading much of the research focused on availability and performance monitoring including leading both the APM Magic Quadrant and the Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics Magic Quadrant. After having spent my first week at AppDynamics, there is a lot going on to say the least. Things are moving very quickly here, and the amount of autonomy and free thinking is great. I was fortunate enough to know most of the executive and senior management well from my time at Gartner, making the transition easier than expected.

Continuing off of my blog post at Gartner, I was excited to have been following AppDynamics closely since the company was created, and have gotten a much deeper view into the company over my four years with Gartner. Being a technologist at heart, this posting is going to delve into some fundamental problems within monitoring. The fundamental issues I see with monitoring, both from my personal experiences and that I have heard regularly in discussions with end users, are these:

  1. Why do I have so many tools?
  2. Why do each of these tools only focus on one domain or silo?
  3. How come users tell me about service issues before I can detect them?
  4. Why does problem isolation take so long?

AppDynamics is the only company in the market today which seems to be interested and actually able to execute on solving these issues. Today, APM tools are helping with problems three and four when deployed properly (this is a topic for another blog post), but they clearly do not help with one or two in fact, they make it worse. They do solve short term pain easily, and when used strategically can prevent problems three and four. The vision and strategy of AppDynamics, if executed upon correctly, solves these issues. I’m here to help make that happen, not only because it needs to, but because the complexity in software and infrastructures will get much worse than it is today.

Today’s infrastructure monitoring tools are dated, hard to use, and detached from the business and application. By merging together unified monitoring and APM and creating a way to recognize and trace the business transaction across infrastructure, a tie from the end user through the components is finally possible. This not only means looking at transactional performance, but also component health. Other vendors in monitoring today focus above the infrastructure line (APM) or below the application line (infrastructure monitoring). That needs to change.

Using an advanced analytics engine, underpinned by open source technologies, which can run in the data center or in the cloud (SaaS), is a winning architecture. This will allow the solution set to have a common technology base leveraging a common data store, something industry analysts have been writing about for years, and yet allow it to be extensible beyond the specific data the monitoring tools generate and require to be analyzed. Analytics are only useful with context, and the most important context for digital businesses is the user. This is something CIOs are having trouble handling today —  trying to move closer to that user —  and providing the business context is what the movement towards digital business is all about. I look forward to this journey, and will be writing more often both for the technical APM users, and the CIOs who are struggling to handle our fast moving industry.