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Improving The End User Experience

This blog is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent industry perspective, Build and support better applications with Application Intelligence. Download the full perspective here

Application intelligence provides deep insight into the application’s end-user experience by answering the question: How are users actually using and experiencing the application?

Application intelligence can tell a program manager exactly how, when and on which devices an application is being used; whether it is running as expected or abnormally; precisely how the application is interacting with the IT infrastructure supporting it and how the application code or the IT infrastructure can be adjusted so the application can perform better and more reliably.

This is not the case with traditional data center monitoring tools in use at federal agencies.

“While everything looks great in the data center, agencies have 24/7 help desks and there’s a lot a dissatisfaction with the user experience,” Josh Beard, Director of Federal Sales at AppDynamics, said. “With application intelligence, we can now start to make the real user experience a part of the decision matrix and part of your cadence where you’re really not just putting the app out there and hoping, but you’re actually able to use data to show and understand how real users are experiencing it.”

Application intelligence also can provide insights into how particular user populations are interacting with the application. This is helpful when, for instance, users with a particular mobile device or operating system or in a particular geographic region are experiencing common problems. Application intelligence can help to quickly spot problems and figure out root causes. This contrasts with the traditional approach at many federal agencies of trying to solve application problems by using anecdotal evidence and various IT infrastructure data to narrow down the root cause of a problem.

“We can now have data-driven conversations. With this unique dataset available, we can make changes and generate results that have a meaningful impact on the user experience,” Beard said.

In the end, Beard said, application intelligence offers federal agencies the ability to see, act and know. Specifically, that means:

• Seeing the entire application in real time as it responds to individual end users and operates across the IT infrastructure. This often means being able to spot performance problems long before they prompt end-user complaints;

• Acting quickly to fix problems or fine-tune an application — in development or production — based on data reflecting deep visibility into how the app is relating with its surrounding infrastructure; and

• Knowing critical trends in the application over time, as well as its contribution to overall mission goals.

AppDynamics has an industry-leading APM solution called the Application Intelligence Platform, which works in all phases of the application lifecycle — development, test and production — to provide deep-level visibility into the end-to-end journey of each and every application transaction. The platform uses this data to build and enrich feedback loops from those development, test and production environments back to the development and operations teams responsible for optimizing the application’s performance, ultimately ensuring a far more satisfying experience for the end user.

The AppDynamics platform adopts a top-down approach to performance monitoring by focusing on the end user’s experience with the business transactions of the application. A Business Transaction is the aggregate of all the required software functions and components called upon to deliver an application response to a device or user initiated request. It traces the entire business transaction path, from the end-user device or browser, through the application code, databases, third-party API calls, servers and other infrastructure. This presents a far more accurate and direct way of understanding the health of cloud-based applications than traditional bottom-up approaches that rely on silo-based monitoring solutions to collect snapshots of data from various components and then infer the health of the application.

Download the full perspective here

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