CA APM Review
We use CA APM to monitor real time customer experience & to correlate the performance degradation back to system events.


Valuable Features:

The ability to monitor real time customer experience and to correlate the performance degradation back to system events. The ability to measure customer/user impact during outage and to assign a cost impact to the “outage”.

Improvements to My Organization:

Prior to the product, we only measured user/customer experience when they actually reported the issue however now we have the ability to understand user/customer experience when it takes place or even predict it with appropriate metrics. This means we can respond proactively when service is impacted without disputing/denying user/customer complaints.

Room for Improvement:

Linking the business transactions back to the backend systems, in other words properly following and mapping the business transaction through the entire backend environment (Webserver -> Application Server -> SOA -> Database -> User).

Use of Solution:

6 Years

Deployment Issues:

No, however I have many years in this space. I do however know of other implementations that were not as smooth.

Stability Issues:

The CEM (Customer Experience Management) product is still immature and do have hiccups. Most of the time it is very stable with an occasional glitch.

Scalability Issues:

Yes, but this was related to infrastructure capacity. We could not expand our infrastructure how ever we exploited the product beyond its original design (so self inflicted).

Customer Service:

Professional and helpful however I got frustrated many times due to their level of expertise. When we experienced issues with the product or had questions, we rarely got quick and proper answers and had to figure it out ourselves (we found that we had more “working” experience)

Previous Solutions:

Yes, we used open source utilities. We could not scale the open source utilities to manage our enterprise applications.

Initial Setup:

The product setup is straight forward, however then you need to understand the business transactions and expectations to align the requirement and expected results. You also have a very good understanding of APM else you would not be able to link the expectation and product capability. I have handed this solution over to individuals who knows the product very very well and they fail to deliver as they do not comprehend APM.

Implementation Team:

Interesting question as I was part of the 3rd party vendor who did the implementation at the time. So let me refer this back to my previous comment. If you do not have an implemented (vendor or in-house) who understands the concept of APM and who to derive business value out of it then you have a problem. Making the product work is one thing…..

ROI:

Hmmmm… Huge J!

Cost and Licensing Advice:

We had a strategy that we realised over a period of 10 years which means that we introduced certain elements piece by piece, we did not deploy all at one go. It is however a very expensive outlay and I am currently reviewing the strategy due to our annual maintenance that is becoming very expensive.

Other Solutions Considered:

Yes, we also looked at Dynatrace

Other Advice:

This is not a IT initiative alone but a IT/Business partnership. This is not a IT Operational deployment alone either but a joint venture with the application developers as well. If these three parties collectively approach this tool then you will have proper ROI, else you will not realise the true potential and then it becomes a very expensive monitoring tool (which it is not - if you think it is a “monitoring” tool then you are looking at the wrong tool).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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