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By Paul Williams, Director, Software Solutions, Logicalis US

This year, one of the most talked about topics in IT is how to provide the right kind of “experience” for customers – whether those customers are internal technology users or clients of your business.  Nearly every IT professional is looking for new ways to improve that experience and, ultimately to enable a “digital transformation” within their organizations.

Inside most organizations, however, are many disparate technologies – servers, storage, network infrastructure, vendor and third-party tools as well as a myriad of home-grown and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications – that just won’t speak to one another without costly, time-consuming IT intervention.

To make the dream of a digital-enabled enterprise a reality first requires the implementation of a software-defined enterprise where every device and network segment can be logically provisioned, connected and managed via software. But what happens if the applications your users need to access are not up to the task in a hybrid computing world?

In a word…chaos.

The truth is, you simply can’t build a software-defined enterprise without first focusing on application performance management. You need the ability to comprehensively monitor across the entire enterprise computing environment, quickly identify the root cause of a service disruption and quickly remediate the issue to satisfy end users.

Using application performance management software to better understand performance from the end users’ perspectives across hybrid environments, and then being able to proactively take action to ensure peak performance is delivered is becoming an IT operational requirement in the digital world.  How do you enable application performance management? Start with these four important steps.

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 your support person’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.

Shorten Mean Time to Resolution

No one wants to spend the day putting out fires. 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 you anticipate problems before they happen and can lead to more automated responses to issues in the future.

Build Digital-Ready Apps

Even better than remediating problems quickly or automating remediation is avoiding them in the first place. By instituting a Dev-Ops strategy and the tooling that supports it, you 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.”

Report on Performance

Think of application performance management as a holistic science.  Combining benchmarking information with data about your 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.

Want to learn more? Watch a brief video about the software-defined data center; you may find that you are closer to a software-defined data center than you think! Next, explore the six common characteristics of a digitally driven organization, then discover why nearly half of all CIOs are transitioning to internal service providers and download a Logicalis white paper to find out why every CEO wants to lead a service-defined enterprise and why the CIO needs to make it happen.