Why Application Performance Monitoring Matters to Small Businesses

Your website is your storefront. You no longer rely on foot traffic or the yellow pages for someone to find your store. Instead you invest in good SEO practices that bring customers to your website. You employ the latest technology to provide a great user experience to keep them coming back. Application performance monitoring (APM) tools watch your application for indicators of bad user experience, so you can quickly resolve problems before they impact your bottom line. 

What is application performance monitoring (APM) software?

Application performance monitoring (APM) software monitors key performance metrics on your application and alerts you when functions take longer than expected. It sounds highly technical—because it is—but it’s also necessary if you’re running your own website or application. Unlike some other ways that you might track the performance of your application, APM is about the end-user’s experience, which makes it a customer-first approach to monitoring your app.

Technical teams at small businesses perform many functions, and they don’t have the time to constantly watch for runtime slowdowns, reduced performance, or application timeouts. An APM tool will monitor your website, ecommerce store, online course, member forum, or software as a service application and notify you of reduced performance. 

APM software has a variety of functions depending on the complexity of your application and the needs of your company. 

  • Application metrics monitoring software will monitor server and application metrics and identify the URL where a problem may exist
  • Code-profiling APM tools will identify the code that is slowing performance on a particular URL
  • Network performance monitoring tools provide insight into traffic patterns, code-related performance issues, and URL identification

Most small businesses that need APM software will need it to perform application metrics monitoring to identify issues and code-profiling to pinpoint problematic code. Those companies who need to monitor traffic patterns should look into purchasing network performance monitoring software.

Who benefits from APM tools?

Not everyone needs to monitor their application. 

If you contract with a company to host and support your website, they probably have an APM software that watches your site for lags and delays. The contract company will then take that information and make updates to the server hosting, check plugins on your site, or identify code that might be slowing you down. Because they already employ APM tools, you can rely on your hosting provider to respond to performance issues.

However, companies that run their own applications in-house definitely need a performance monitoring tool. The more complicated your site or application, the more third-party code you install on your site. Each plugin, API connection, and code snippet you use to enhance your site should work at peak performance. An application performance monitoring tool can identify slow or unresponsive tools and help the IT staff determine the root cause of the issue before it affects revenue.

Especially if you’re running an ecommerce site, you want to remove friction for customers who are ordering products on your site. Slow loading times for pages or videos, transactions that take a long time or (gasp!) time out, or the worst case scenario is that the site is down.

Related: How to Add Ecommerce to Your Website

Monitoring isn’t management

Application performance monitoring software watches your applications for anomalies that may indicate a problem and then alert you to those issues. APM also takes into account the application environment where your tool exists, including connections to third-party tools, company microservices, and connections to data tools like CRM or ERP software. 

If you run and manage a couple of applications in-house like an ecommerce platform, a website, or an elearning course, you probably won’t need much more than a monitoring tool. Application performance management suites are for agencies that run hosting for multiple sites, companies that provide software as a service to multiple clients, or companies that are running several microservices concurrently to run their sites. 

Choosing an APM software for your company

When choosing and implementing an APM software for your company, you’ll want to research the tools that are built for the job. Draw up a list of all of the services you use to run your application and map out how they’re connected. Then look for an APM that can monitor those connections. For example, you may find an APM that works to monitor your WordPress site but won’t connect to your online course provider.

Here are a few recommended APM vendors for small businesses.

  • Sematext
  • ManageEngine Applications Monitor 
  • Kinsta
  • DataDog
  • Loupe
  • Sumo Logic
  • Splunk
  • NewRelic

Read next: APM Platforms are Driving Digital Business Transformation

Tamara Scott
Tamara Scott
Tamara Scott is Managing Editor at TechnologyAdvice and SmallBusinessComputing.com, where she guides content strategy, writes vendor and buyer content, and maintains high editorial standards among content creators across several properties.

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