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APM Technology Needs to Provide More Joy

by Cameron Haight  |  March 3, 2015  |  4 Comments

So, I’ve been at my new role for about a month now and I’d like to share with you some observations that I’ve made with respect to the APM marketplace. In my conversations with many of the leading APM providers, I’ve seen some improvements in product integration, scale and in some cases, usability, since my earlier foray into this market several years ago. There is some new thinking about the need to support a broader range of users and environments. And in a few cases, some new pricing approaches are being introduced that no longer incorporate disincentives for wanting to use more of the product.

However, there’s been something missing that candidly I was not able to put my finger on until I came across this article. In essence, the approach that many firms have towards to development of APM technology borders on the clinical. While much attention is paid to the mechanics of APM product development (i.e., market research, business cases, use cases and delivery mechanisms), there is seemingly little emphasis on making emotionally engaging software. Who do you know that looks at their enterprise APM software in the same manner as their iPhone or other smart device? Let’s face it – most APM tools are missing a “soul.” Lots of strip charts, dashboards and metrics but not much seeming empathy for what a typical APM buyer would have to actually deal with day in and day out.

I’m not saying that these tools aren’t useful, rather, I just don’t see a lot of joy in those working with even many of the latest APM products and services. In my almost fifteen years at Gartner, I can honestly say I’ve never had a conversation with a client who asked for a call just to tell me how much they loved their tools. NEVER (now that the cat’s out of the bag, I’m sure some enterprising vendor will suggest this to their customers). Sure, you can always find some feel good customer references, but would any of them be open to doing this to get the latest version?

So, once more I turn to the “why” issue I posed in an earlier blog as perhaps one of the contributors to the mostly soulless APM industry we have today. In addition, another contributing cause may be due to my belief that few APM product developers have had to be real life production APM users. Still, there have been a few instances where a firm in this space seems to get it. In a recent conversation, one APM provider saw their goal as not only providing more joy, but also giving people more time back in their day. To do what? I don’t know – maybe get better at their craft, to think big thoughts about how to improve their business or perhaps just to relieve the daily stress that contributes to burnout. A unique perspective. Let’s hope that more APM companies start thinking along the same lines in the future.

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Category: applications  

Cameron Haight
Research VP
10 years at Gartner
30 years IT industry

Cameron Haight is a research vice president in Gartner Research. His primary research focus is on the management of server virtualization and emerging cloud computing environments. Included in this effort is… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on APM Technology Needs to Provide More Joy

  1. Disclaimer – I work for AppDynamics

    I agree that many APM products are “missing a soul” today. While reading your blog post it made me think about this video from Spencer Schwab (Citrix) discussing AppDynamics impact on his work and his life and right in the middle he says “I’m starting to see my life back”. That’s the kind of comment that makes me happy to work for an APM vendor and particularly AppDynamics.

  2. Cameron Haight says:

    Thanks for the link, Jim.

  3. Love this post- across the board, enterprise software vendors can and are doing a lot more to better understand their users but the changes can’t come soon enough for apm. You mention “strip charts, dashboards and metrics”. Pursuit of ‘column fodder’ feature checkslists often means data overload, just a lot more work and no joy for the APM end user.

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