Click here to close now.

Welcome!

MICROSERVICES Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Michael Kanasoot, XebiaLabs Blog, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: MICROSERVICES, Web 2.0

MICROSERVICES: Article

End-User Experience Management Drives ROI

Five ways for CIOs to convince their CFOs

Enterprise CFOs are taking an increasingly active role in managing the IT decision making process. As a result, IT professionals need to be prepared to quickly show how innovative technology investments equate to real business value. According to a recent industry report, only 5 percent of CIOs have the power to authorize IT investments. That same study reports that IT departments are now, more than ever, reporting directly to the CFO (42 percent) as opposed to the 33 percent reporting to the CEO. A company can't stay competitive and productive without the right tools, technology and infrastructure. And, today's CIOs and IT leaders need the approval of the finance department, which means technology investments need to be more tightly coupled and aligned to company goals and business value.

It has also become increasingly important to prove how new investments can drive additional ROI from the company's existing infrastructure, reduce overall business costs, optimize business processes and improve business productivity, while also demonstrating overall interoperability with existing and future IT investments. Common questions finance asks IT are: "Why do we need another XYZ tool when we already have several throughout the enterprise?" or "How will this product add value to the business and when?"

Making the Case for End User Experience Management
When it comes to application performance management (APM) and end user experience, enterprises could have anywhere from five to over 100 management tools that they use in tandem to help manage their IT services. However, these tools are typically data center-centric - they are unable to monitor, detect and pinpoint the cause of application performance problems from the desktop vantage point. So despite the fact there's been a substantial investment in these APM tools, they cannot provide IT with visibility into understanding how end users are actually experiencing the IT services they consume. Therefore, IT is unable to proactively manage and address performance issues before business productivity is impacted.

Below are some suggested ways for IT to bridge the ROI use case gap and how to describe the real business value that can be delivered with the adoption of real end user experience monitoring and management tools, especially those focused on the desktop vantage point - which, by the way, is becoming more widely recognized as a necessity in order to fuel a true user-centric approach to proactive IT management.

According to Will Cappelli, research vice president of Gartner, Inc., "Technologies are required which will be able to penetrate the increasingly complex and opaque Internet edge and the correlation between edge events and host processes. In fact, we believe that such technologies that gather and analyze data from the point where users and customers actually access the data could, in some cases, replace APM technologies that are reliant on data-center-bound instrumentation points."

1. Define and Communicate the Limitations of Existing Products
Industry-leading analysts have established that in 74 percent of the reported help desk cases, IT first learns about performance and availability problems when users call the help desk. That's because existing application performance management products are data center-focused and provide very little visibility into real end user experience. As mentioned earlier, the average company has five APM products in place, many have as many as 25 different products, and 100+ is not uncommon. While each of these products may be critical for managing certain components of the IT infrastructure, they do not address the effective management of the end user experience, thereby curtailing both user and business productivity.

The recently published Gartner Magic Quadrant for User Application Performance Monitoring (by Will Cappelli and Jonah Kowall, September 19, 2011) has identified end user experience monitoring as one of the central components to the application performance management process because it "is precisely where business process execution interfaces with the IT stack; any monitoring effort that fails to capture the end user's experience is ultimately blind at the most direct point of encounter between IT and the business."

The problem seems to be a lack of the right tools - those that support business optimization, improvements to IT processes, and increased user productivity. User-centric, proactive IT management of the end user experience addresses this critical problem - the visibility gap - at its core.

2. Share How Current and Future IT Investments Impact Real End User Experience and Business Productivity
In the application world, companies make continued investments to improve application adoption and how they perform for their end users. And it's no secret that when key business applications aren't performing optimally, the impact can be felt both on the business and on corporate morale. According to analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates, large companies report that "downtime can cost in excess of $15,000 per minute for technology-dependent organizations, as applications drive revenue, productivity and brand value."

When precise insights are available into how users utilize their applications, real end user performance data can be leveraged to increase the ROI on these investments. For example, if IT management can validate that users are actively adopting and successfully using the application and their productivity is meeting expectations, this insight can eliminate the unnecessary and costly investment of additional licenses or "premium" packages based on usage. It can also help highlight the need for improved training for increased productivity and even reduce the deadly "shelf ware" sin, where 57 percent of global enterprises own more software licenses than actually deployed.

3. Be Prepared with Empirical Evidence to Prove Your Case
Desktop and infrastructure investments are critical to any IT organization. It is a challenge to keep up with the plethora of devices, protocols and innovations to understand which is better for your unique business and IT environment. The cost of selecting, purchasing and deploying new infrastructure technologies can be exorbitant. On top of that, you enter very risky waters if you lack the empirical evidence that the performance improvements will actually improve the end user experience.

Understanding the potential impact of software and application upgrades on end user experience is critical for the enterprise, as a single vulnerability can severely impact business continuity. The same applies to testing configuration management of infrastructure components and various operating systems. Comprehensive before-and-after comparisons validate performance and functionality prior to rolling out the application enterprise-wide. Visibility into the actual end user experience and performance that proves proposed changes substantially impact performance (or not) ensure that the investment decisions are based on empirical evidence versus assumption.

4. Evangelize the "Visibility Gap" and Reveal How It Threatens the Business
To understand the impact real end user experience has on business productivity, and ultimately the return on your existing and future IT investments, you must be able to measure and monitor the three primary components that dynamically interact to constantly impact how end users experience the IT services they consume in real-time. Otherwise, decisions will be made with a significant "visibility gap" in performance knowledge that can lead to unnecessary and costly missteps.

The first component is application performance. Latency, response time and end-to-end transaction time are all key elements in both the experience and measurement of application performance.

The second component is device performance. Even if the end-to-end transaction time of a particular application is excellent, if the underlying platform is sluggish - perhaps due to CPU power, memory availability or other background processes that are resource hogs - the end user's experience with what should be a high-performing application will be poor.

Ultimately, businesses deliver applications to enhance the productivity of end users, making user productivity the third component of end user experience. How many trades, calls or emails can the end user complete using a particular application running on a specific desktop platform? Productivity is impacted by error messages, non-responding and crashed applications, boot time, and the actual usability of the application.

Measuring and monitoring the three primary components (application, device and user) that dynamically interact to constantly impact end users experience in real-time is critical in order to close the "visibility gap" between how IT believes services are being consumed and how they are actually being experienced by the frontline.

5. Comprehensive Visibility Delivers Rapid Response and Cost Reduction
More often than not, the first and only indication of a problem on the frontline is when end users call the help desk - if they call at all - and by this time business and end user productivity has already been disrupted. Moreover, when users start calling it is very difficult for them to accurately describe the problems they are experiencing, while at the same time IT can't determine whether the issues are isolated or endemic.

Immediate awareness and rapid response to end user problems before end users call the help desk can reduce the costs associated with the need for manual monitoring and dedicated help desk/IT operations resources for severity type 1 and 2 problems. The ability to monitor the "Key-to-Glass" for any business activity running on any desktop (type), autonomic performance profiling and proactive incident detection all help contribute to cost reduction.

Summary
Today's CFO is "increasingly becoming the top technology investment decision maker in many organizations," but even though one report discussed earlier indicates this shift, another report, CIO magazine's 2010 State of the CIO, found that 43 percent of CIOs still report to CEOs, and just 19 percent report to CFOs. Whether the number is 19 percent or 42 percent, the more important takeaway is that CIOs and IT leaders are indeed increasing the communication path and their transparency with financial leaders.

To do so, CIOs are demonstrating their understanding of the direct impact IT tools and technologies have on improving business performance by delivering effective control, efficiency and business insight. They are making this crystal clear to their financial leader counterpart(s) and therefore bridging the gap between the enigma of IT and the real benefits and ROI being witnessed on an ongoing basis. This is how CIOs and CFOs will achieve common business goals. Gaining true end user experience management and monitoring is just one example of how an IT investment can be pivotal in driving more ROI from existing and planned IT infrastructure investments - something that everyone can rally behind.

More Stories By Donna Parent

Donna Parent is vice president of marketing for Aternity Inc. She has held a number of senior marketing positions at emerging software vendors spanning real-time business intelligence solutions for SOAs, Sales Force Automation software, high-performance Complex Event Processing (CEP) solutions, and online intelligence applications for monitoring business activity through open Internet resources.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborat...
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
When it comes to microservices there are myths and uncertainty about the journey ahead. Deploying a “Hello World” app on Docker is a long way from making microservices work in real enterprises with large applications, complex environments and existing organizational structures. February 19, 2015 10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET → 45 Minutes Join our four experts: Special host Gene Kim, Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs’ Andrew Phillips as they explore the realities of microservices in today’s IT worl...
Cloud computing is changing the way we look at IT costs, according to industry experts on a recent Cloud Luminary Fireside Chat panel discussion. Enterprise IT, traditionally viewed as a cost center, now plays a central role in the delivery of software-driven goods and services. Therefore, companies need to understand their cloud utilization and resulting costs in order to ensure profitability on their business offerings. Led by Bernard Golden, this fireside chat offers valuable insights on ho...
OmniTI has expanded its services to help customers automate their processes to deliver high quality applications to market faster. Consistent with its focus on IT agility and quality, OmniTI operates under DevOps principles, exploring the flow of value through the IT delivery process, identifying opportunities to eliminate waste, realign misaligned incentives, and open bottlenecks. OmniTI takes a unique, value-centric approach by plotting each opportunity in an effort-payoff quadrant, then work...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
Modern Systems announced completion of a successful project with its new Rapid Program Modernization (eavRPMa"c) software. The eavRPMa"c technology architecturally transforms legacy applications, enabling faster feature development and reducing time-to-market for critical software updates. Working with Modern Systems, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) leveraged eavRPMa"c to transform its Student Information System from Software AG's Natural syntax to a modern application lev...
For those of us that have been practicing SOA for over a decade, it's surprising that there's so much interest in microservices. In fairness microservices don't look like the vendor play that was early SOA in the early noughties. But experienced SOA practitioners everywhere will be wondering if microservices is actually a good thing. You see microservices is basically an SOA pattern that inherits all the well-known SOA principles and adds characteristics that address the use of SOA for distribut...
Microservice architectures are the new hotness, even though they aren't really all that different (in principle) from the paradigm described by SOA (which is dead, or not dead, depending on whom you ask). One of the things this decompositional approach to application architecture does is encourage developers and operations (some might even say DevOps) to re-evaluate scaling strategies. In particular, the notion is forwarded that an application should be built to scale and then infrastructure sho...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Ras...
Microservices are the result of decomposing applications. That may sound a lot like SOA, but SOA was based on an object-oriented (noun) premise; that is, services were built around an object - like a customer - with all the necessary operations (functions) that go along with it. SOA was also founded on a variety of standards (most of them coming out of OASIS) like SOAP, WSDL, XML and UDDI. Microservices have no standards (at least none deriving from a standards body or organization) and can be b...
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
Microservices, for the uninitiated, are essentially the decomposition of applications into multiple services. This decomposition is often based on functional lines, with related functions being grouped together into a service. While this may sound a like SOA, it really isn't, especially given that SOA was an object-centered methodology that focused on creating services around "nouns" like customer and product. Microservices, while certainly capable of being noun-based, are just as likely to be v...
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
Even though it’s now Microservices Journal, long-time fans of SOA World Magazine can take comfort in the fact that the URL – soa.sys-con.com – remains unchanged. And that’s no mistake, as microservices are really nothing more than a new and improved take on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) best practices we struggled to hammer out over the last decade. Skeptics, however, might say that this change is nothing more than an exercise in buzzword-hopping. SOA is passé, and now that people are ...
An explosive combination of technology trends will be where ‘microservices’ and the IoT Internet of Things intersect, a concept we can describe by comparing it with a previous theme, the ‘X Internet.' The idea of using small self-contained application components has been popular since XML Web services began and a distributed computing future of smart fridges and kettles was imagined long back in the early Internet years.
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microser...