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The Application Performance Gap | @CloudExpo #Cloud #APM #DevOps

Nearly all (96 percent) of respondents use cloud-based enterprise applications in their work

If a slow or unresponsive application on your mobile device or PC has ever left you feeling angry, frustrated and unproductive, you're not alone. Business success in today's digital age relies on application performance. Yet according to the Riverbed Global Application Performance Survey 2015, nine out of 10 organizations suffer from poor performance on a regular basis. Executives say the poor performance of enterprise applications has negatively impacted their work on a regular basis. Consequently, this performance gap between the needs of the business and IT's ability to deliver leads directly to delays, missed deadlines, angry customers and damaged brands.

The Riverbed Global Application Performance Survey 2015 is the first global survey of business-decision makers on the business impact of application performance. As enterprises continue to migrate their on-premises applications to the cloud, we wanted to gain a more complete understanding of how applications are changing, and the effects this evolution is having on businesses around the world. So we went to the source: the business executives who rely on these applications to run their businesses.

The cloud is the new normal
Nearly all (96 percent) of respondents use cloud-based enterprise applications in their work, and 84 percent say their company's use of cloud-based enterprise applications will increase over the next two years. When those applications deliver the expected user experience, companies realize improved employee productivity (51 percent), time savings (50 percent), cost savings (47 percent), improved customer satisfaction (43 percent) and faster delivery of products to market (33 percent). Nearly a third also credit optimal application performance with improving employee morale.

However, not only do a majority of respondents report struggling with poor application performance, many do so on a weekly (58 percent) and even daily (36 percent) basis. The constant interruptions and loss of productivity lead to a number of problems that impact the bottom line, such as dissatisfied clients or customers (41 percent), contract delays (40 percent), missing critical deadlines (35 percent), lost clients or customers (33 percent) and negative impact on brand (32 percent).

The survey found that executives are willing to sacrifice a lot for applications to work at peak performance at all times. In fact, 33 percent would give up their full lunch break. They would also give up a portion of their program budget (32 percent), caffeine (29 percent), and even chocolate (27 percent).

But before you hand over your Hershey bars, let's examine the cause of this performance gap, and how you can close it.

The problem: poor visibility
Before companies began embracing cloud computing, IT ran a tight ship. All applications and systems were under its direct control in the data center. Today, even as more CIOs grow comfortable with adopting cloud-based applications, they continue to keep some sensitive data on local systems. This creates a complex and difficult to manage hybrid IT environment, made even more difficult by the fact that all applications are accessible by local and remote employees on an ever-growing selection of connected devices.

Users expect anytime, anywhere access to applications, and expect performance levels to remain high, so when a problem arises, confusion reigns. Globally, 71 percent of our survey respondents said they have frequently felt "in the dark" about why their enterprise applications are running slowly.

Even more troubling, executives can compound the problem by trying to work around it.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents admit they have used unsupported apps when corporate apps run slowly or stop working altogether, thus adding to infrastructure complexity with more "shadow IT."

These findings should raise a red flag over the significant disconnect between IT teams and business executives, and compel companies to provide IT with complete visibility across the hybrid IT architecture.

The solution: complete visibility
End-to-end visibility into application performance is business-critical. Enabling the IT department to quickly identify the sources of performance delays is essential to fixing them. Instead of only being able to react to an issue after a user submits a help desk ticket, IT can pinpoint the sources of bottlenecks that may create performance issues, re-allocate resources, and even give priority to mission-critical applications.

A majority of the executives we surveyed agree that better visibility by IT staff into application performance would result in improvements to several critical business processes:

  • Increased productivity (56 percent)
  • Improved customer service (54 percent)
  • Improve product quality (49 percent)
  • Improved employee engagement (46 percent)
  • Increased revenue (43 percent)

Here are four steps any company should follow before migrating applications to the cloud:

  1. Understand performance constraints: Network and application performance monitoring solutions enables you to quickly identify and address any potential performance constraints.
  2. Optimize constraints: Determine how you can overcome constraints of distance, latency, loss and disconnections. These often are the largest performance constraint in today's cloud-centric global economy.
  3. Identify and eliminate inefficiencies: Determine whether you are over-provisioning (and wasting) bandwidth to non-critical applications.
  4. Monitor and optimize quality: Follow the lead set by Japanese manufacturing industry in the 1950's: focus on the process. Implementing a real-time performance dashboard with advanced analytics enables you to quickly detect and remedy issues.

For the full 2015 Riverbed Global Application Performance survey report that also includes regional insights, please visit www.riverbed.com/global-application-performance-survey.html.

More Stories By Steve Brar

Steve Brar is the Director of Platform & Solutions Marketing for Riverbed. In this role, he leads the marketing strategy for Riverbed's Application Performance Platform and cross-portfolio solutions. Steve has been with Riverbed since 2014. Prior to joining Riverbed, Steve led product marketing for HP's campus networking product lines. At HP he held engineering, product management roles, and product marketing roles. He has more than 12 years of experience in the networking industry. Steve graduated with a BS in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of California, Davis. He is currently based in San Francisco, California.

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