The “Big Shift” to Value and Velocity: Is IT Still Relevant?
For over a decade, big changes have been rippling through IT organizations the world over, forcing CIOs and other technology executives to rethink how they deliver value to the business. At the extreme, the changes are causing businesses to question the very existence of IT departments. But I can say with confidence that IT is very much relevant today -- perhaps more than ever before.
The rumblings started some years ago with a trend toward outsourcing and offshoring. Then came the cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS), which provided an easy alternative to owning and operating software and hardware in-house. As industry analyst Steve Ranger explains in an excellent ZDNet article, “CIOs are facing a new reality in which success is measured not by the number of staff and projects on the books, but by how few.”
We've heard the big stories about bad days for application performance—like Best Buy's challenge on Black Friday. I discussed simliar issues in this recent post. And we're still hearing about Healthcare.gov's performance problems.
The cost for application downtime can be incredibly crippling even if it's just seconds, much like a kid spilling their ice cream cone.
What is the optimal end user experience for a business critical enterprise application, such as Salesforce.com? How does it affect user productivity and what are the business impacts?
Well, it is better to ask the end users. Brice Charneau, Sales Enablement Analyst from Riverbed's UK office explains, “When a local inside sales representative is accessing leads in Salesforce.com while making outbound calls to prospects or running a report on opportunity in his region, it is frustrating to wait for pages to load. Performance degradation peaks around mid to end afternoon UK time, when US employees are waking up.” Chris Havelka, Regional Sales Manager puts it another way, “As you move along the sales funnel during a deal process, especially during quarter end, managers want instant information as they are updating their forecast reports based on the commit from the team to accurately reflect revenue prediction. Any slowness in the tool has direct impact to business.” End user experience, although a personal matter, is a critical component for business success when it relates to Salesforce.com.
If you didn’t attend the Riverbed FORCE user conference or the live virtual event, you missed some amazing keynote speakers, including Intel's CIO Kim Stevenson, Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly, and author Geoffery Moore. Riverbed SteelCentral SVP and General Manager Mike Sargent spoke on the future of application visibility and the importance of both longitudinal and latitudinal visibility in performance management.
Mike discusses how visibility will and must evolve as big data gets exponentially bigger. Visibility has evolved from a “siloed” approcah to more comprehensive, an approach which we now provide with Riverbed SteelCentral. He further posits that from this complex visibility we will likely evolve network analytics and predictive visibility, and then to business-driven visibility, which “will assure reliability beyond IT components, and will assure reliability of the entire business process while delivering high-impact insights.” Check out the highlights in the video:
Depending on where you live, you have either just experienced the start of the holiday period or are still a few weeks away from gift-giving and over-eating. There is always the annual debate isn’t there? Whether it’s better to receive a present or give one (personally I prefer to give gifts, of course) and when it comes to Application Delivery Controllers (ADC), it’s much more fun to send packets than to receive them. Let me explain.
The other day my very inquisitive six-year-old daughter asked me what I do. So, in the “tell me like I’m six” spirit, I said: “You know how there are lots of apps on your iPad? Think of the billions of people around the world that rely on those apps. And when these apps don’t work it’s no-good because they run things that are important to people. So, my company gives a kind of super-hero power to the people that run these apps so they work as promised for people like you and me.”
But what was I thinking when I said “super-hero” powers? Was I over-stated or too bold? Maybe not.
Success in the business world is bound to the application’s ability to deliver great customer experiences. Think about Uber creating a transportation paradigm shift by winning customers with convenience and new services like the ability to “DJ your ride”. In this world, applications and the infrastructure that supports them are more strategic than ever.
Today’s enterprise is increasingly a hybrid enterprise. It has IT assets on-premise, in the cloud or run by a third party. There is no one size fits all and there are tiers of applications that demand flexible deployment models, often leveraging a mix of application delivery mechanisms depending on real time systems, networks, user locations, devices and loads amongst other factors. On the supply side, there is a ton of options to run and deliver applications - ranging from enterprise managed data centers, co-location facilities with shared infrastructure, IaaS and SaaS.
How do you babysit your network operations center (NOC) for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to avoid finger-pointing in the war room? Let's face it, the next few days for any retail business is mission-critical and business performance is going to be a direct result of application performance—and a nice time to reflect about IT performance.
First and foremost, you need to get crucial monitoring data to the right teams to avoid finger pointing in the war room. Enterprise IT staff typically have daily, war room meetings around 4 PM in a conference room next to the NOC.
Those who pass the finger-pointing test get to go home while others have to stay and figure out what the heck went wrong with the network, the servers, and/or the apps. Here are four tips to help avoid finger poiting at critical times.
In the last two months I’ve seen my home broadband double in speed and my mobile phone data plan include 5x more data – with no price increases. This is great since I occasionally telecommute and often use my mobile phone as a hotspot – I need fast, reliable connectivity wherever I am. Right now, my broadband is costing me about $1 per megabit of bandwidth per month. Broadband has never been cheaper – whether you use cable, DSL, fiber, etc. for your home or business.
It’s no secret that most enterprises, including many of Riverbed’s customers are still heavily dependent on MPLS for their WAN connectivity. MPLS has seen some decline in costs, but is still very expensive relative to broadband.
Earlier this month Riverbed held its annual FORCE user conference where we unveiled new innovations that set the stage to revolutionize enterprise WAN architectures with visibility, control, and optimization capabilities for hybrid enterprises.
Imagine the following scenario: you run IT for a large consumer electronics retail chain, and you're pulled away from your Thanksgiving dinner by an urgent phone call. The point of sales (POS) system is down at your flagship location. Eager shoppers are lining up for the midnight Black Friday opening. Black Friday sales make the difference between profit and loss, so it’s critical that the store open on time. Frantically, you ask the branch manager, "When were the DR plans last tested?" A long pause followed by “umm….” confirms your fears. With little optimism, you instruct the branch manager to implement the DR plans.
Riverbed delivers the most complete platform for Location-Independent Computing, turning location and distance into a competitive advantage. The Riverbed Application Performance Platform™ allows IT to have the flexibility to host applications and data in the most optimal locations while ensuring applications perform as expected, data is always available when needed, and performance issues are detected and fixed before end users notice. At more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Riverbed has 25,000+ customers, including 97% of both the Fortune 100 and the Forbes Global 100.