In late 2013, CA reaffirmed its commitment to the APM business by revitalizing APM senior management with individuals who had been innovating in this space for 15 years. These people have roots at Wily Technology and want to bring back the positive aspects of the Wily culture. A key aspect of this culture was a strong relationship between the technical field, product development and customers. Many of the original Wily innovations were a direct result of those relationships. In order to reclaim leadership in the APM market, we knew we had to recapture that magic. We also knew that we needed a fresh perspective on the market that expanded beyond the original vision of Wily Technology.
To gain this new perspective, CA undertook an extensive ethnographic research project to understand how performance problems are solved by real practitioners. We sought to understand how real people solved real problems – regardless of whether they even owned an APM tool. We came to two conclusions, one expected, and one unexpected. We found the fresh perspective we were looking for: organizations are not effectively solving their performance problems; the problems are simply too complex. Unexpectedly, the research also changed how we think about building our solution; we no longer focus on features. Instead, we focus on achieving our users’ goals. We observed shearing forces within IT shops: people are tasked with roles for which they are not suited. As a result, experts are called to every performance problem (e.g. Brent from The Phoenix Project). In order to allow these experts to focus on long-term strategic goals, we need to enable the front-line folks to triage without always relying on an expert. We came to know the front-line persona so well, we named him Pete.
The first results of combining our new culture and understanding is embodied in CA APM 10. Pete is faced with complex application environments. CA APM 10 gives him the tools to organize this complexity, making it possible for him to understand unfamiliar, changing environments easily. One of Pete’s key challenges is differentiating between normal and abnormal application behavior. CA APM employs a patent-pending algorithm and unique visualizations, quickly focusing his attention. When a performance problem occurs, Pete’s first question is almost always, “what changed?” CA APM 10 surfaces changes in the context of a performance problem, enabling him to triage.
We believe APM should be E.P.I.C. (easy, proactive, intelligent, and collaborative). No tool is there yet. In the last year, we have taken steps to get there and there is much more to do. For example, imagine an APM solution where Pete is presented with a series of newspaper-like headlines describing the performance anomalies of the day. Each story is backed with a ‘who, what, when, where, why, and how’ of the performance problem, automatically generated by APM. More broadly, every business is a software business and APM should serve more than Pete. Business owners need to understand the interplay between business and performance metrics. APM should be used to enhance the loyalty and trust between our customers and their customers.
SVP, Business Unit Executive