AppDynamics rolls out App iQ -- and almost every buzzword known

Sometimes it's hard to see the proverbial forest for the trees with buzzword-laden press releases.


AppDynamics is a vendor that sells solutions broadly covering the application performance monitoring (APM) and IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) space. Essentially, the company helps organizations get a handle on how their applications and infrastructure are working so they can ensure the best possible performance for the various stakeholders. As such, AppDynamics is in a busy space -- companies like New Relic and Datadog essentially do the same stuff.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing -- after all, there are lots of applications and a ton of infrastructure to be monitored. Plenty of room for everyone.

This is, however, the technology industry, and no self-respecting VP of marketing would let enough simply be enough, and so AppDynamics is upping the ante and reclassifying what it does. Apparently AppDynamics is now the Application Intelligence Company, a classification that, to be honest, I can accept. Sure, it means we have yet another space to cover, but it is, after all, descriptive of what the company does.

What I find less palatable is when a company conflates its small (albeit important) part of the world into something much grander. And that, I fear, is what we see from AppDynamics today on the announcement of its new offering, Business iQ.

Breathlessly, the company informs us all that Business iQ is a "new breakthrough App iQ Platform engine to enable enterprises to drive business performance throughout every phase of their digital transformation journey. Built to empower modern CIOs and line of business leaders to transition their organizations from servicing the business to driving the business, Business iQ is the latest AppDynamics innovation and enables the Global 2000 to realize low Mean Time to Business Awareness."

Oh my. Not only that, but that Mean Time to Business Awareness thing even gets its own acronym. MTBA isn't anything even remotely like rocket science -- all it is is a measure of how long it takes operations teams to actually know that there is a problem. In a less hype-driven world, that might have been articulated as "timely insights" or "early notification," but in this frothy industry it is "Mean Time to Business Awareness." And we wonder why people roll their communal eyes at our industry.

Anyway, what is Business iQ? Essentially it is a highly hyped move that is being made by almost every vendor in the space to reconcile the formerly disparate worlds of application monitoring (which, by definition, looks from an application availability perspective) and that of IT monitoring (which, without wanting to be disparaging, tends to be typified by slightly unkempt individuals sitting in data centers or operations rooms look at the blinking lights of servers, storage units and networking equipment). Business iQ answers the modern situation of APM and ITOA being two sides of the same coin and attempts to reconcile it by delivering a single pane of glass for monitoring.

AppDynamics rolls out a few more buzzwords, bringing out the big guns by the way of "application analytics technology," "an increase in business velocity" and "holistic and unified view." Of those three, only the last one holds any real sway with me. But getting into substantive details, the different components that AppDynamics offers includes:

  • Map iQ -- enables enterprises to understand their application through AppDynamics' patented Business Transactions, which are automatically discovered, intuitively named and traced as they propagate through the company's infrastructure.
  • Baseline iQ -- powered by machine learning, the engine creates a baseline across millions of data points to elevate deviations from normal application or business performance according to Business Transactions and metrics rather than static thresholds.
  • Diagnostic iQ -- watches every line of code in production to deliver deep diagnostic capabilities with full code visibility whenever needed but with low overhead agents, analyze data from the moment it is observed, and use patented algorithms and pattern-recognition intelligence to distill it down to what's most important for the business.
  • Signal iQ -- big data ingestion engine that can ingest, store and correlate hundreds of millions of events per day across apps, infrastructure and business, correlating and baselining everything to simplify what enterprises need to prioritize and avoid data fatigue.

Don’t get me wrong. AppDynamics has a good product (as evidenced by its top-shelf customers, NASDAQ, Pearson and Kraft among them) and this latest change is a good thing for customers. If the company had come out and spent less time gilding the lily but simply talked about substantive issues, I wouldn't be so pent up in my post. But it didn't -- the company tried to take something which was already valuable and dress it up with bows and glitter and rainbows, and in doing so it kind of lost sight of the genuine value it's delivering.

AppDynamics, you've done a good thing, but it's not novel -- after all, many of your competitors offer similar products -- and neither will it, as you seem to convey, deliver the answer to every single enterprise issue out there. Best you throw away that buzzword book and stick to articulating solid value propositions in future.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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