The importance of business application performance

Bridging the application performance gap

Picture: Peiling Tan, Flickr

Picture: Peiling Tan, Flickr

Whether an application is online and customer facing, or supporting internal operations, there’s a shared need that drives the user experience and related satisfaction – performance. In turn, it can dramatically affect the business value of the application.

Many enterprises have significant revenue streams generated through ecommerce and online applications, as well as cost saving opportunities that occur when customers access services online rather than using more costly call centres.

At the same time, business critical applications such as CRM and ERP, as well as collaboration platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint and Lync, are vital to enterprise productivity.

Today’s tech savvy users expect the applications they interact with to always work and for information to be instantly available on demand. If every second counts, why is there still so much room for improvement for application performance?

Business using more applications than ever

As users become increasingly mobile, modern applications need to work across all types of networks and from any location, whether in the physical workplace or beyond. This is only going to become exacerbated by the growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Application response and reliability need to increase to meet escalating user expectations and business requirements. Improving performance not only maximises the value of applications, it creates opportunities for enterprises to drive revenue and lower costs.

Given the state of the industry, it’s hard to understand why businesses still aren’t maximising application performance. It’s surprising given that they recognise that revenue and productivity can be improved by over 10 percent by optimising their applications and customer loyalty by nearly 50 percent if speeds could be doubled. This is according to research we recently conducted with Vanson Bourne, examining why and how smart organisations are maximising application performance in 2016.

Businesses are using more applications than ever – the average number is well over 300. They are also constantly upgrading them, in addition to deploying increasingly important mobile versions. Unsurprisingly, this is an issue that is not going to go away without a new approach.

Improving application performance is vital

It’s clear that organisations have some serious issues to address, particularly at peak usage times, which is when the impact on the bottom line is very clear. No business, especially those which rely on creating a superior online experience, can expect customers to tolerate anything but a smooth, fast and reliable performance at any time, let alone when every second counts.

In the retail sector, for example, a smooth online purchasing experience is always crucial, particularly during peak sales periods like Christmas. A missed minute is a missed bargain. The difference between a satisfied customer and a disappointed former customer can be a matter of seconds. The Vanson Bourne study showed that organisations see unacceptably low satisfaction, delays and perhaps most importantly, fewer repeat orders at these times.

With so much competition, and ever more impatient consumers willing to switch brand allegiances after a poor experience, improving this is clearly vital to a business’ continued growth. In fact, some businesses seem to be more concerned about performance during very busy periods than they are about security.

Why is this not a top priority?

Confidence in current performance appears to be an issue with many organisations still not assured that they meet performance service level agreements during the peak periods that are the most critical to sales.

In fact, only a minority of organisations are completely confident about their applications’ current performance, according to the study. Additionally, almost two-thirds said that their department has either deployed, or considered initiating, application projects without the knowledge of the IT department

While most businesses recognise the cost benefits of deploying applications on the cloud, this does not automatically translate to better performance for the consumer. In a lot of cases applying the traditional data centre approach to application optimisation is costly, lacking agility and not effective, relying instead on the application to provide its own acceleration and security.

Time to take a new approach

All of these issues call for a new approach to application delivery services to reduce the cost of deploying, managing, and ultimately, driving a more cost effective solution to the application performance and security. Virtual application delivery controllers (ADCs) are playing a crucial role in the modern application platform. Load balancers and traditional ADCs, which are expensive, monolithic and not flexible, are a thing of the past

Adopting virtual rather than traditional physical ADCs enable businesses to improve application performance significantly, deal with surges (predictable or not) seamlessly, migrate applications easily and accelerate application deployment through automation. This is all done using a single license that allows for complete control of how many ADCs are required in any cloud environment, as well as on-premise.

Organisations stand to realise considerable operational savings by shifting to a virtual or software based platform with subscription based licensing costs, instead of getting stung by unnecessary hardware overheads. They can use and pay for only what they need for their environment, rather than paying more than they need for ‘just in case.’

This kind of a solution makes it easier to rollout new applications, get maximum value from virtualised servers and keep customers happy. This means that every second can count, every customer can be converted, and confidence can be restored for both consumers and the business.

Matt Moore, software networking manager for ANZ, Brocade

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Matt Moore

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