Football, APM and Nastel“Fourth down and inches from the goal line, I’m wondering what they’re going to do here?” asks the play-by-play announcer.

“They’re going to take a time out and think this over; they’re wise to do that,” replies the color commentator. “I think they’ll decide to go for it, for a couple of reasons.  They’ve got a big, sturdy offensive line that’s been pushing their opponents all over the field today, and this team invested a lot of money in that stud of a tailback in the off season. They need to prove themselves, and punching it in from inside the 1-yard-line is the way to do that.”

That’s what I’ve been hearing the past few Sundays, and why not, the NFL season is in full swing. This is the time of year when friendships and family relations become strained due to simmering rivalries and loyalty to one team over another.

The other thing football does to the average person, is bringing out their analytical side.  Surprisingly, there is a lot of complex event processing going on. Listen to any sports radio talk show from the start of the season in September to the end of the Super Bowl in early February, you’re going to hear plenty of people with all kinds of solutions for what their team needed to do in their last game and needs to do in their next contest. These people are referred to as Monday morning quarterbacks.

And it’s not just your “Average Joe” football fan; people from all walks of life, company CEOs, presidents of banks, even city mayors and state governors will get in on the action. But football executives are also very analytical when it comes to their team’s play and the health of their players. They’ve invested a lot of money into their teams, it’s only right that they expect a return on their investment.

NFL teams go to great lengths to protect these investments, therefore they keep statistics on every category imaginable so they will know which players perform best in different situations, and what plays are successful against different teams. It’s all in the name of winning; optimizing their investment.

If only enterprises analyzed their business applications so closely, they’d better understand if their IT infrastructure was performing as designed. Further, they’d identify where and when issues were popping up and then are able to remediate those issues before they occurred. Application Performance Management (APM) solutions provide that layer of protection between a breached SLA and keeping a business up and running.

Enterprises can learn a valuable lesson if they only watch how NFL teams operate and then do likewise.