On November 10, AppDynamics announced Business iQ, which is a single platform for combining application and business monitoring. This announcement represents a significant development in the role that application performance monitoring (APM) solutions play in enabling digital transformation.
APM vendors (especially market share leaders) are looking for new avenues that will support rapid growth that they have experienced in traditional APM deployment cases and many of them recognized digital transformation as the next big thing that can fuel the future growth. However, helping organizations to become digital businesses is a complex and multifaceted endeavor. APM vendors have been struggling with finding where they could fit in digital transformation enablement and coming up with the right message that will resonate with digital transformation leaders. So far, their attempts to jump on the digital transformation bandwagon have been limited to the following areas:
- Positioning their existing solutions as very effective in monitoring (or even transforming) IT environments for digital businesses while emphasizing their effectiveness in monitoring technology attributes of digital enterprises such as Cloud, IoT, Mobility, etc.
- Tying their existing monitoring solutions into portions of some of the key themes of true digital transformation such Agile, collaboration or customer experience (CX).
- Providing correlation between the IT metrics they are collecting and some high-level business metrics (more than three-quarters of IT monitoring tools can do this to some degree) and positioning this capability as digital transformation enablement.
- Staying true to their core value proposition, which is troubleshooting and preventing performance issues, and explaining how that frees up more resources for transformation and growth (this the most honest and accurate way to describe the role of APM solutions in digital transformation).
What all these areas have in common is lack of understanding what digital transformation is. The core of digital transformation, from the technology perspective, is making technology an integral part of a business strategy and using it as a source for competitive advantage.
AppDynamics’ Business iQ is the first solution coming out of the APM space that enables digital businesses to deliver on the core promises of digital transformation. The solution does provide correlation between IT and business metrics, but not in the traditional format that was designed to just prove the value of IT to the business. . The solution is actually using this type of correlation to target business users and have them leverage application performance data for their own goals. That is the major shift in how APM information is being used in the organization as IT data is being leveraged for making non-IT decisions. It is also well aligned (with goals of user organizations as 41% of organizations)) in DEJ’s IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) research shows that they are looking to use IT data outside of the IT.
Business iQ is delivered as a part of the company’s App iQ platform that provides a strong collection and analytics capabilities around applications, user experience and infrastructure. That allows the company to collect an enormous amount of IT data on a wide range of domains and monitoring aspects and applying Business iQ capabilities to this data will enable executives and other business users to access information about major business areas that they would not be able to receive from other business performance monitoring tools.
Although this announcement represents a major opportunity for AppDynamics, there are two areas that the company will have to work on to maximize potential of Business iQ:
- This announcement puts AppDynamics in front of a different audience in the terms of job roles, purchasing processes and needs for proof points. It will also, require changes in the company’s messaging and the sales approach where potential buyers will care more about business outcomes than KPIs. This is a new situation for AppDynamics and it is yet to be determined how the company will be able to execute in these markets.
- The company will have to find the right balance between putting resources behind this new strategic direction and not jeopardizing their existing APM business and install base (or future buyers of their pure APM capabilities).
As DEJ already wrote, APM is a market that will not be able to continue the rapid growth it experienced in the last 5 to 6 years without innovation and the introduction of new capabilities. The announcement represents a new stage in the evolution of APM and it challenges other players in this market to innovate and find ways to redefine this market and the role that APM capabilities play in the enterprise.