How to optimise your customer-facing applications for (surprise!) your customers

February 23, 2016 bentannahill

Technology that is designed to win, serve and retain customers is what makes the difference between the good and the great.

Your e-commerce platform, your website, your customer portal, these customer-facing applications are increasingly becoming the main business driver and differentiator in the software revolution.

At the same time, the task of the IT manager is increasingly to simplify and consolidate infrastructure so that staff can prioritise IT projects that contribute directly to business goals. Optimising application development and maintenance can cut IT costs by more than 50 percent, according to research by Gartner [1].

The performance of your customer-facing applications affects the bottom line more directly than anything else. So what should you look out to keep them ticking over nicely?

Frankly, you can find this information out practically anywhere…look out for the usual suspects: application responsiveness, peak responsiveness, error rate, simultaneous user issues, throughput capacity etc.

But be careful!

The most important thing is to understand that you can’t just make sure that each individual part of your infrastructure is operating more or less to your own pre-defined standards of acceptability.

The vast majority of companies monitor in some way how effectively their infrastructure is performing. But that’s no longer enough.

This ‘component-oriented’ mindset offers very limited visibility – specifically, they aren’t clearly correlated with the business impact of performance issues. This means that there is no way of prioritising upgrades and improvements. Which means that there is a good chance that the most important things – the things that will help your business win – won’t get done.

You won’t properly extrapolate the consequences of performance. Knowing that a given server has reached or exceeded capacity is very different from knowing (feeling) that an end user cannot process a transaction worth $X.

Successful companies today approach, create, manage and maintain their infrastructure from the perspective of its effects on the end user. Now your job is all about the end user’s view of your application – not about infrastructure. And this fact must be baked into the entire application lifecycle from development to production.

Your business needs and your customers’ needs converge in your external application. Meet both as best you can.



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