I remember the days when to find someone arguing about a niche technology on the Internet, you had to use a BBS. Now everything that is published can be commented on via dozens of social networks. Links for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and so on are present everywhere and everybody can express their thoughts. Sometimes the comments are even more interesting that the post itself.
As I’m passionate about software performance, I recently stumbled upon a post about Application Performance Management (APM) tools and their features. It was interesting because almost every person that was involved in the discussion worked for a company selling a specific tool and, of course, pushed the magnificent features of his product, sometimes playing down the competitors and making some errors in their attempts.
It was interesting because I had the chance to find out about Application Performance Management products that I didn’t know at all and I realised that the market is growing fast. There are a lot of different products, each with very specific features. So, now more than ever, it’s very hard to say that a product is better than another. In my opinion, you can’t say that one product is the best. It depends on which features are important for your specific needs.
So my mind went back at when I was an Enterprise Architect for a tier-1 telco where one of my duties was software selection. When a company like that decides to buy a product that can cost several millions of pounds, it explores the market, analyses the products, and evaluates them against a list of requirements. When a company decides to buy a tool, it must create value, satisfy specific needs, and ultimately solve problems. To make a long story short, it must implement a strategy.
What still surprises me is that the performance culture isn’t yet widespread, and often managers buy software or services that are very appealing or trendy, but aren’t actually an element of any strategy.
Web performance is a war that must be fought every day. Every day customers ask for new features and expect quicker systems. You can’t think that a tool like Application Performance Management is a magic wand that can solve all your problems forever. First comes the strategy, then the budget, and then, only then, you can look at the market to choose your tools. This is a process we often help our customers to understand.
Otherwise, you risk becoming a fool with a tool.