In systems development and administration, the term process refers to a program in execution. For instance, when you create a computer program and then compile it, this generates a binary code. When this binary code is executed, it becomes an application process. To put it differently, a process is an active state while a program is passive. A single application can create dozens or hundreds of processes that may run concurrently or sequentially.

Application performance management (APM) is the intelligent monitoring, analysis and management of application environments in order to ensure a process runs as expected and without inhibiting the execution of other processes. Note the distinction between application process management and application performance management (for detailed description of application performance management, refer to this source:

The Context

The modern business environment exerts tremendous pressure on every organizational resource (people, infrastructure and systems) to go well beyond what was acceptable before. Customers expect applications to respond quickly and have near-zero downtime. The ubiquity of smartphones has drastically reduced end user tolerance for app problems.

Ergo, there’s a growing need for continuous innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Such innovation will often be delivered on the back of new or updated software applications. It is in this context that application process management has become of such great necessity.

Moving Deeper into the Development Phase

The traditional place of APM is also moving from a post-launch monitoring tool to the early stages of testing and development. In fact, best practice demands that application performance management be planned for way before the first line of code is written. Good APM tools not only ensure quicker development and faster deployment of applications to the market but also help reduce defects and release cycles.

Evolving Capabilities of APM

APM tools have grown in sophistication and many now include customized dashboards that allow hand-tailored monitoring, expanded coverage of OS environments, data aggregation for reporting and trend analysis.

Application developers and IT professionals can better evaluate the user experience as well as the overarching stability of the application infrastructure. They can quickly drill down to the root cause of problems thus preventing outages and keeping end users satisfied. You can create custom views with selected metrics, timelines and display charts. Data can be exported in a wide range of formats including image, spreadsheet and PDF.

Newer tools are leveraging cognitive chatbots and predictive analytics. Cognitive technology reduces manual intervention by adopting data-driven analysis. APM is tapping into the full spectrum of cognitive capabilities such as gathering application historical data, tracking the pattern of past solutions to emerging problems, and automatically fixing new problems.

This AI-powered proactive approach is a welcome efficient replacement of the traditional ‘war room’ where the focus was on hastening problem resolution as opposed to prevention.

Choose Wisely

APM tools are not created equal. Not every vendor who purports to provide application performance management insights, integrations and solutions can actually do so. When choosing an APM vendor, prioritize those that can demonstrate an ability to deep-dive your processes, applications, infrastructure and end user profiles in order to diagnose, identify, isolate and resolve problems before they hamper end user experience.

Such tools allow you to uncover source code bugs before their consequences spiral out of control.

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