Black Friday is just the beginning of that time of year when most businesses finally start to turn a genuine profit. The business your IT department supports is depending on you to keep the sales process flowing smoothly and swiftly. What practices can you put in place today to ensure your mission-critical applications stay up and running throughout the busy holiday shopping season?
1. Use application performance monitoring (APM) to understand the performance of your applications.
Each business depends on its own unique set of applications. This makes using an APM solution to understand application performance and prevent user impact very important.
APM allows you to load test in pre-production to see what will happen when multiple business transactions are being executed using different applications and then continue to use the same tool in production. Of course, load testing can deliver varying results, so it’s also important to use APM to evaluate whether your applications have any hidden interdependency conflicts in real-world execution.
Some application failures may not cripple the business at low volumes, yet have the power to impact the business significantly as transaction volumes rise. These are business abnormal incidents that can be identified by the right APM solution long before you are facing holiday sales volumes.
2. Use APM to familiarize IT with the end user’s experience using the applications that the business depends on.
Application performance management also provides a window into how the end user uses business-critical applications. It can identify where application issues are impeding follow-through on transactions. Identifying that a certain user action isn’t executing now, before the rush, significantly reduces the chances multiple users will take their business elsewhere when that same application doesn’t execute on high-volume days.
3. Use APM to provide early warning about potential problems across the application stack.
Your application performance management solution is also a useful tool for detecting problems before they impact users. APM ensures that you catch minor changes that can add up to serious cascading problems before they have impact. When APM automates this process, using complex event processing, it ensures that the large volumes of data available are crunched into useable, prioritized actionable information, including warnings and automated corrective actions.
Use the end-to-end, deep-dive capabilities of your APM solution to track down potential issues in the application execution chain. If you have the right APM solution, it can learn from past application issues that violated the necessary parameters and prevent similar problems from reaching mission-critical status in the future. That’s important when transaction volumes rise.
4. Connect the information revealed by APM to making changes, if necessary, to meet the needs of the business.
There are many applications your business depends on. Use APM to turn information about the end user’s experience, the interaction of your infrastructure environment and the technical information you gather into business optimizing strategies. Leverage your APM information into application configurations that are optimized to serve the goals of the business.
Ultimately, this is one of the most important best practices for IT to consider. The information gathered in the first three best practices recommended here should culminate in information that results in IT making the changes needed to ensure that IT is supporting the needs of the business.
And it should prepare your business for Black Friday and beyond.