Does Your Company need New IT Workers to Optimize Performance?
Companies are now hiring UX and service delivery experts to solve the problem of reactive performance management — is this a good practice, or even a necessary one?
It’s no longer enough for IT shops to react to application problems as users report them. The blow to perceived user experience is already dealt, and users — whether they’re customers or employees — are quick to switch to more promising applications. As a result, application performance management is literally becoming a job all unto itself, with many organizations now hiring new senior IT staff to act as internal UX and service delivery experts.
But while it’s certainly vital to maintain a seamless user experience, is it necessary to establish an expensive, entirely new position? As we will argue, it’s also possible to proactively manage application performance and resource usage with the right set of tools, which often makes more logistical and financial sense.
TechTarget reports that many IT shops are onboarding new members to move from strictly technical roles — roll out new servers, configure a database, etc. — and into a kind of application consulting. Their goals are to resolve performance and UX issues before they impact users, facilitate dialogue between business stakeholders, and generally help the business hit its services targets; some would call it in-house IT-as-a-service (ITaaS).
“The emerging idea is that IT shouldn’t just deploy hardware or install applications. Instead, IT should provide services to the business whose value can be measured,” says Stephen Bigalow, a Senior Technology Editor at TechTarget. On a practical level, these experts monitor application performance data, track usage patterns, set performance thresholds, and when alerts go off, liaise with developers and try to fix performance bottlenecks before service is disrupted.
One issue, however, is that the level and variety of skill that such a position requires — technical proficiency, business knowledge, customer-facing/sales experience — comes at a potentially significant cost. At some point, the business should determine whether salarying a highly experienced individual provides net value, as there are other alternatives that they may want to consider.
The fact is that in many cases it’s entirely possible to achieve the same level of application performance management without creating an expensive new position. Many of the process-side factors that an expert would need to account for, such as usage trends and resource management, can largely be automated by sophisticated performance management tools.
For example, TeamQuest’s Vityl suite of products conduct automated analysis of both historical and real-time application performance, letting an IT professional know precisely where performance issues are likely to occur, as well as how to best allocate resources in order to prevent them. This saves IT a considerable amount of time that would otherwise be spent problem solving and forecasting, and allows them to refocus their efforts on performance-affecting issues.
Additionally, with our Vityl Dashboard, team members can easily communicate ongoing progress to decision makers — all possible with the skillset and headcount of the standard IT shop.
There are many situations in IT in which it pays to have a top-level professional at the helm. But when expensive skillsets can be easily automated with performance management tools, generating comparable outcomes, it might make sense for many organizations to save that capital for another use — say, investing in a new application feature that will deliver the best possible experience to flighty customers.