APM, DevOps, MSP

Application Performance Management: 4 KPI Tips for MSPs

When I climb on my managed services soapbox, I typically rant about the need for application performance management (APM). In addition to traditional PC and server management, I keep pointing to APM opportunities -- both on premises and in the cloud.

Fast-growth software and cloud companies like AppDynamics and New Relic are cashing in on the APM wave. But what's the relationship between APM, MSPs and their end-customers? Logicalis, a leading MSP, puts it this way:

"As organizations are focused on delivering higher levels of customer experience, the perception of IT and of the organization and its brand at large will either soar or plummet based on the experience customers have with applications the organization deploys."

MSPs and APM: The Opportunity

But how can MSPs and their end-customers wrap their arms around application performance management? Logicalis makes four KPI (key performance indicator) recommendations. Here's the company's advice, word for word:

1. Set a Measurable Baseline: In many organizations, there often is no measurable benchmark for how an application is performing. Perception based on feelings or how often IT Support’s phone seems to ring is not the best way to set that benchmark.  To really begin assessing application performance and plan a strategy, start by developing a baseline built on empirical data and analytics, Logicalis says.

2. Shorten Mean Time to Resolution: When applications don’t perform as expected, quickly identifying the root cause of the issue is critical.  It can be difficult, though, as there are many element monitoring solutions that are not integrated and do not monitor from the end-user perspective back through the infrastructure. The key is to get out of reactive mode and focus instead on instituting practices that allow for proactive – and later automated – remediation of issues. Doing so not only reduces chaos, but helps IT anticipate problems before they happen and can lead to more automated responses to issues in the future, Logicalis adds.

3. Build Digital-Ready Apps: Even better than remediating problems quickly or automating remediation is avoiding them in the first place. By instituting a DevOps strategy and the tooling that supports it, organizations are more likely to develop code with fewer defects and support challenges once it is released into production – something you might call “digital performance readiness,” Logicalis says.

4. Report on Performance: Think of application performance management as a holistic science.  Combining benchmarking information with data about the supporting technologies (i.e., network, servers, storage), tuning, and remediation protocols with ongoing performance measurement is critical for continuous improvement and meeting SLAs set by the business, Logicalis concludes.

Bottom line: Customer facing applications are where the action is. Not by coincidence, APM is where the opportunity is...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.