94% say application performance and availability affect ability to do their job
45% contacted IT six times or more due to related problems in the past year
WHILE applications are now the heart of businesses of all sizes and their performance is the lifeblood of success, IT departments in Singapore organisations continue to struggle to ensure app performance and availability.
The proliferation of BYOD (bring your own device), cloud, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and consumer technologies in the workplace have made the application the disruptive technology that will drive business IT into the coming decades, IT management software company SolarWinds said in a statement.
At the same time, the application delivery chain is becoming more complex to support as applications become more networked, virtualisation drives IT infrastructure convergence and abstraction, and end-users become more mobile, the company said.
SolarWinds recently conducted a survey in Singapore whose results highlight the impact of application performance and availability on business end-users, and their experiences with and expectations of IT when problems arise.
“Applications affect nearly every aspect of our world. And not just business, but well beyond. Today, applications impact people’s lives in ways never imagined just five to 10 years ago,” said Suaad Sait, executive vice president, products and markets, SolarWinds.
“The resulting importance of application performance and availability requires IT to expand beyond infrastructure-centric management to add app-centric management. Beginning now, and increasingly so in the future, this will make or break businesses.
“Ultimately, IT will be held responsible for application performance, regardless of whether the application resides on-premise or in the cloud. It’s no longer just about if an application working, it’s about that application working to end-user expectations.
“These survey results should be a wakeup call for IT pros everywhere,” Sait added.
Fielded in June 2014, the survey yielded responses from 202 business application end-users currently employed full time in an office environment – public and private sector small, mid-size and enterprise companies – in Singapore.
Applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, NetSuite and others, are now at the core of nearly all business-critical functions and beyond.
Major vendors such as Cisco have acknowledged this reality by architecting data centre offerings to be app-centric. With this, application performance and availability have become more important than ever; productivity, end-user satisfaction and revenue are all affected, SolarWinds said.
In fact, 94% of business end-users who responded to the survey said application performance and availability affect their ability to do their job, with 59% saying it is absolutely critical.
Seventy-one percent also mentioned that app performance and availability have become more important to doing their jobs over the past five years. Of this group, 61% said app performance and availability have become more critical because the amount of time they spend using apps on the job has increased.
Fifty-seven percent also said they are expected to work faster and complete deadlines sooner.
In addition, 37% said slow or unavailable applications result in significant financial loss (tens of thousands of dollars or more) for their companies annually.
High reliance, higher expectations
The quality of the end-user application experience is critical for success, SolarWinds said. End-users expect applications to work and work well.
When application performance or availability issues do arise, end-users expect a quick response time to problem resolution from IT, down to just minutes in some cases.
Seventy-six percent of business end-users said they are only willing to wait an hour or less to contact their IT departments when they experience an app performance or availability issue, with 47% of those willing to wait only a half hour or less and 17% unwilling to wait at all.
IT depts struggling
Despite the rise of applications as king of business infrastructure, applications and some form of management tools to support them have been in general business use for decades.
However, the struggle for IT to ensure performance and availability of business-critical applications remains.
To illustrate, 66% of business end-users said they have experienced a job-critical app performance or availability issue; while 25% of those who experienced a critical issue claimed that it took one business day or more to resolve the problem, 41% said the problem was resolved in more than one hour but within the same business day, and 44% within an hour.
The complexity of the modern application stack (AppStack), or the application delivery chain comprising the application and all the backend IT that supports it – software, middleware and extended infrastructure required for performance – adds to the challenge of identifying issues and the time required to resolve them.
For instance, IT departments are only occasionally aware of app performance or availability issues before they are raised; respondents state that IT departments are only 11% aware of issues in 75% to 100% of cases.
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