Monitoring vs. Management: One Word Makes a Big Difference

Applications that perform well will drive greater business value for your organization – either directly or indirectly. To see the correlation between an application’s performance and business outcomes, let’s look at the value chain.

Value_chain2At the bottom of the value chain is the electricity that powers the infrastructure, the networks and the compute power. Farther up the value chain, the end users drive the applications, which ultimately produce value for the business.

When applications perform consistently and reliably, the end users are more effective at getting their jobs done, increasing productivity and their output. Therefore, in an enterprise context, user productivity is a key measure that influences the output quantity.

For Internet-facing applications there is a strong correlation between performance and conversion rates. It’s a fact that improvements in performance lead directly to greater revenue. So, going back to the value chain, the rate at which the business output is produced is of great value to the organization. And the performance of the business output relies upon ALL the value chain inputs optimally combining.

However, consider this against traditional IT performance monitoring, where the focus is most typically on the lower end of the value chain: infrastructure metrics, CPU, network utilization, up time etc.

At CSC, we find that many organizations still rely on this type of monitoring due to the complexities in consistently applying more modern monitoring technologies to their increasingly distributed environments. Changes are happening rapidly across the enterprise, and organizations often react only when there’s a problem – rather than before – leading to siloed solutions for specific problems.

Those organizations that have not modernized their monitoring approaches are left with a huge visibility gap, as the user experience, the application and the real-time business outcomes are not measured. Peter Drucker’s management idiom applies to this situation: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

This is where next-gen Application Performance Monitoring (APM) comes into play. Here, the focus is on top-down outputs and end-user experience as well as the bottom-up inputs. The next generation of APM provides visualization of application outputs, all in the context of a user’s interaction with the application. This output-based approach gives C-level stakeholders the ability to assess performance across three different dimensions: the business, the user and the IT.

At CSC, we consider the “Monitoring” part of the APM acronym to be a narrow description of what is important. People and processes are as much a part of an effective APM approach as is the technology, so that’s why we reframe the “monitoring” and instead provide an Application Performance “Management” service.

We suggest that every organization consider taking a similar approach. With an emphasis on management, rather than monitoring, you can focus on the business, user and IT aspects of performance to allow end-to-end optimization and drive greater business value.

By the way, if you’d like to read more about the value chain, I suggest you check out some of the research by Simon Wardley with CSC’s Leading Edge Forum. It’s quite interesting.

By Matt Kay, Performance Services Offering Manager


  1. The good thing about the latest Application Performance Monitoring tool is that it enhances its monitoring power and provides a visualization on its monitoring activity which is very important in monitoring process.


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