New Research Finds a Growing Cloud Applications Performance Gap

Steve Brar copyby Steve Brar

The enterprise network has never been more important, or more complex and difficult to manage. As companies continue to migrate applications stores out of their data centers to the cloud, a new study finds a steadily rising level of frustration among users struggling with performance slowdowns. This creates a significant performance gap between the needs and expectations of the business and IT’s ability to deliver. That means the blame for this negative performance gap, which angers customers, lowers employee morale and damages the bottom line, falls squarely on IT.

The Riverbed Global Application Performance Survey 2015 finds that 98 percent of executives agree that optimal enterprise application performance is critical to achieving optimal business performance. And yet, 89 percent of executives say the poor performance of enterprise applications has negatively impacted their work. Even more alarming is the regularity with how often those disruptions occur: 58 percent say it impacts their work at least weekly, and 36 percent say it affects them every day.

Despite these frustrations, enterprises continue to migrate more apps to the cloud. Nearly all (96 percent) of respondents use cloud-based enterprise applications in their work, 84 percent say their company’s use of cloud-based enterprise applications will increase over the next two years.

However, consistently poor performance negates those benefits. Survey respondents report that when an app is slow, crashes or not available, the resulting productivity loss creates a domino effect that impacts the company’s bottom line, including dissatisfied clients or customers (41 percent), contract delays (40 percent), missed critical deadlines (35 percent), lost clients or customers (33 percent) and negative impact on brand (32 percent).

There seems to be little realization outside IT how difficult, time-consuming and costly monitoring application and network performance across a hybrid environment is becoming. Globally, 71 percent of survey respondents said they have frequently felt “in the dark” about why their enterprise applications are running slowly.

Executives can then 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.”

Achieving full visibility
IT must have end-to-end, real-time visibility across the entire network and all the applications running on it to be able to understand how specific users and events behave in order to ensure performance and quickly locate the root cause of any problem across the network. This enables IT to more quickly pinpoint what is causing a performance delay and fix it before users experience a disruption to their work.

A majority of the executives surveyed agree that better visibility by IT staff into application performance would close the application performance gap, resulting in increased productivity (56 percent), improved customer service (54 percent), improved product quality (49 percent), improved employee engagement (46 percent) and increased revenue (43 percent). To deliver superior application performance in today’s hybrid environments, enterprises need a comprehensive solution that provides end-to-end application visibility, optimization and control.

There are four key steps to take before migrating an on-premises app to the cloud or deciding to roll out a new cloud app to users:

  • Determine network constraints: First, implement network and application performance monitoring solutions to gain an understanding of the network’s performance constraints.
  • Optimize network constraints: Determine how to overcome potential bottlenecks such as distance, latency, loss and disconnections – the most common performance constraint in today’s cloud-centric global economy.
  • Identify inefficiencies: not all apps are of equal importance, and therefore, not all require IT to allocate equal amounts of bandwidth. Over-provisioning (and wasting) bandwidth to non-critical applications, and eliminate them.
  • Implement a real-time performance dashboard: Provide network administrators with a single view of the network and advanced analytics that enables rapid detection and remediation of issues.

Establish control
Of course, identifying the cause of an application’s poor performance is only half the battle. If IT cannot move quickly to address it because it is too reliant on the service provider, the performance gap will remain open.

IT should not have to go it alone. Reach out to critical service providers and trusted peer network for help in determining where the network bottlenecks and blockages are, and identify trends that may point to bigger looming problems.

You can’t control what you can’t see. Closing the application performance gap is a business priority, and that can only happen when IT has a clear, real-time view of how all apps are performing, whether they are on-premises or in the cloud. This will enable IT to keep applications performing at optimum levels and ensure information is available to all employees anytime, anywhere.

Steve Brar is the director of Platform & Solutions Marketing at Riverbed.

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