Business is 'destroying' the application delivery process

Business has changed, and so must the application delivery process. It's time for IT to go from being provider of services to a broker between clouds and end users. Here's how.

Pundits often use the phrase creative destruction to describe the current business environment where -- thanks to incessant product and process innovations -- existing products and business models are replaced by new ones.

As a result, businesses are under intense pressure to be agile and to continually reinvent their products and their processes. That pressure extends to IT organizations, which must find new ways to help their companies reposition themselves as they adapt to changing market forces.

Enter the application delivery process. Because workers and customers are now more distributed and more mobile, IT organizations are examining how to become more efficient transmitting mission-critical applications. One option for the application delivery process is the public cloud. This involves a cultural shift in which the IT organization modifies its traditional role as the primary or exclusive provider of IT services to one where it provides some IT services itself and acts as a broker between the company's business unit managers and the cloud provider.

Other changes needed in the application delivery process

Efficiently providing users with access to applications and services is only part of the change that IT organizations need to make. They also need to get notably better at managing application delivery. Maintaining a high level of application performance is critical; if business-critical application performance degrades, a company can face lost revenue and dissatisfied customers.

Ensuring an acceptable application delivery process is challenging. The vast majority of IT organizations still believe they don't have all of the visibility they need. According to the 2015 State of the WAN Report, only 20% of respondents said they had all the tools required to troubleshoot application performance problems.

So as IT organizations strive to get better at troubleshooting, they need to think about it in two related, but different, ways. One is proactive troubleshooting. The goal of proactive troubleshooting is to identify and resolve issues before they become problems that affect users. While proactive troubleshooting is the ideal, it is not always possible. Hence, IT organizations also need to get better at reactive troubleshooting, quickly identifying and resolving users' problems.

Given the complexity of the current application delivery process, getting better at troubleshooting is a multifaceted endeavor. It requires being able to assess the user's experience as well as the performance of an application -- independent of whether it runs on the customer's premises, in a public cloud or some combination of both. It also means the ability to simulate the IT environment, including the number of simultaneous users, the browsers they use and the applications they access. Finally, an analytics engine that can quickly process massive amounts of management data is a must.

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