Published: April 10, 2020
The 451 Take
Since coronavirus has shut down almost all commerce that requires a physical presence, from retail stores to restaurants to sporting events, for most businesses digital properties represent the only potential for revenue. Some businesses are just launching or ramping up apps and services in hopes of replacing a revenue stream that is no longer viable. Others already offered digital properties but are now experiencing unprecedented demand. Either way, it is critical that these apps and services perform well, since in many cases they represent the only avenue for revenue generation.
Against this backdrop, we think the collection of tools used to track performance and solve performance problems should fare well. Businesses require monitoring tools to alert them when problems are occurring and assist in quickly identifying the root cause of issues. They will rely on incident management and ticketing tools, as well as adjacent collaboration tools, that ensure they can resolve performance problems before they cause a loss of customers – and revenue.
While the impact of and reaction to the pandemic continue to shift, our recent Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Coronavirus Flash Survey, conducted between March 10 and March 19, indicates that organizations still expect to spend on IT, giving firms in the application and infrastructure performance sector further reason to anticipate continued business. We asked respondents about spending on IT resources as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and 34% expected to spend more and 62.6% said there'd be no change in spending. Only 3.4% expected to spend less (see Figure 1).
Vendors across the application and infrastructure performance market should take the following actions to support customers in need during the new reality caused by the coronavirus pandemic:
- Targeted product development: While in most cases it shouldn't be necessary to significantly shift product development roadmaps, we recommend considering the kinds of capabilities that can be quickly added to meet emerging needs. We've heard from some vendors that are looking at new features that can support distributed teams. For instance, teams that historically sat together in a network operations center facing a bank of monitors visualizing system performance might benefit from new tools that deliver similar insight from their home office setups. Similarly, some teams may have typically interacted with line-of-business and other executives in an ad hoc fashion. Features that support collaboration across these teams could be useful in the current work-from-home environment.
- Establish new partnerships: As end users adjust to working as part of distributed teams and supporting new or growing digital properties, consider the kinds of partnerships that can best support them. Think about arrangements with video-conferencing and collaboration tools that include integrations as well as joint go-to-market efforts that may reach new potential customers.
- Tailor packages, marketing at targeted verticals: We think emerging demand for application and infrastructure performance tools in the time of coronavirus is very sector-specific. Plus, the nuances of that demand and the appropriate response are also sector-specific. For instance, businesses like retailers that have primarily relied on physical stores for revenue generation will benefit from guidance and packaging in terms of monitoring and incident-response best practices, while born-in-the-cloud online businesses may require support scaling up as demand for their products grows. Vendors should consider packaging products and capabilities as well as thought leadership guidance targeted at important sectors.
- Step up thought leadership: We've heard from some vendors looking to boost outreach to compensate for the loss of leads typically generated by event attendance. Delivering tactical advice and insight can not only support businesses looking to get started with new approaches to monitoring, it can also demonstrate potential value that may expand usage for existing customers. We've seen some vendors do a particularly good job here. Dynatrace, for instance, describes in a blog post how customers can use data collected by the company to compare worker productivity before and after a shift to working from home. In addition to several posts with advice for crisis management, PagerDuty has crunched internal data to share insight into what for some verticals is a dramatic spike in incidents – for instance, PagerDuty customers in online learning have experienced 11x growth in incidents. These kinds of insights and guidance can meet real needs for potential customers.
Nancy Gohring covers application and infrastructure performance for 451 Research, including IT monitoring, application performance management and log management. Prior to joining 451 Research, Nancy was Editor in Chief of the enterprise IT publications at Fierce Markets. She launched the DevOps publication, setting the editorial direction for the new coverage area, and oversaw seven publications aimed at senior enterprise IT executives.
As an Associate Analyst in 451 Research’s Applied Infrastructure & DevOps Channel, Liam Rogers covers technology and business-model innovation across the enterprise storage landscape. His coverage includes hyperconverged infrastructure, software-defined storage and persistent storage for containers.
Keith Dawson is a principal analyst in 451 Research's Customer Experience & Commerce practice, primarily covering marketing technology. Keith has been covering the intersection of communications and enterprise software for 25 years, mainly looking at how to influence and optimize the customer experience.