A for App Economy, A for Availability

|March 31, 2017 0
Image courtesy of Nest Egg at freedigitalphotos.net
As businesses catapult into a new economy; consistency, downtime, capacity planning, peak loads, business continuity and engagement remain strong factors to reckon with

Ashok Acharya

In today’s connected, mobile and application-based environment there is a high possibility that a consumer engages more through a software app than with another human.Welcome to the ‘app economy’, where businesses get just seconds to impress their consumers. With users dramatically spending more time on smartphones, the speed, performance and user experience at every touch point of a consumer’s journey on an application becomes critical.

Providing an unmatched customer experience is at the heart of gaining competitive advantage in the app economy.

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However, it’s not just how the application works, it’s when it works. Every moment of downtime will significantly impact the experience and damage the reputation of the brand connected, its revenue stream and eventually customer loyalty. Hence to deliver on this promise, businesses need to ensure an application is available 24.7.365 to stay relevant. Downtime is no longer an option.

India is fast becoming one of the largest users of mobile applications. As per the recent study by App Annie, India is the world’s fourth largest mobile app economy. The total application downloads per year are expected to grow by 92 per cent which will amount to 7.7 billion downloads at present. That is expected to reach 20.1 billion by 2020. Considering the magnitude of the business opportunity, organizations need to equip the apps to stay in an ‘Always-On’ mode.

What was once acceptable, no longer is

Imagine the number of multiple touch points consumers have during a peak online shopping season or while booking a holiday (flights, hotel, rental car, restaurants, visits). This extended period of visit, when combined with a sizeable volume of like-minded users, can lead to peak online traffic loads of unforeseen magnitudes and hamper business continuity. Any downtime during this critical moment can truly frustrate the consumer, leave items in a basket, or a transaction unfulfilled, and hamper what might normally be a seamless experience.

With the app economy demanding availability of business services 24X7, any delay in responsiveness during average and peak load season can have a severe impact on the business. A brief analysis of peak load patterns can be useful to embark on capacity planning to ensure Availability. For example, an app that gives away coupons during a flash sale for even 5 minutes will witness a significant surge that could topple infrastructure. Businesses can observe these patterns to see where an application has shown a tendency to fall over under increased load,and conduct capacity planning accordingly.

A rich user interface, beautiful design and easy to use features can definitely attract customers to an application. However, a lack of consistent Availability can seriously hamper engagement and eventually the overall customer experience.

Hence real-time performance monitoring of on-premise and cloud based systems can help create an alert on potential failures before app downtime occurs and impacts the application and ultimately the business. Additionally, during an event of disaster businesses need to ask how long it will take to recover mission-critical applications from the backup? Does the business have the ability to restore quickly? And how good are the backups? How often are backups tested to ensure that they work and can be used as a point to rebuild?

Can you afford an outage?

According to the 2016 Veeam Availability report, 84 per cent of senior IT decisions makers across the globe admit to suffering an ‘Availability Gap’, which is essentially the difference between what their IT setup can deliver, and what their users are demanding. It costs up to $16 million a year in lost revenue and productivity, in addition to the negative impact on customer confidence and brand integrity.

Established businesses are increasingly facing the risk of being disrupted by the emergence of unicorns. These are not the mythological creatures of times past, but internet startups valued over $1 billion that leverage new technologies and disrupt existing business models and markets.

Capitalising on the digital revolution

Success in India’s growing application economy depends on multiple factors, but the speed and agility that an application manages to deliver superior customer experience is key. And, underpinning these factors is the core component; Availability.If it isn’t ‘Available’ when a user needs it, does it even exist?

Businesses can either make or break in the application economy because customers expect 24X7 availability. Organisations cannot afford any outage, as any service disruption on the application will have severe business repercussions. Hence it is imperative to keep applications healthy by providing unmatched data and application uptime. By leveraging availability as a strategic driver, businesses can not only compete but also win in the application economy.

(Ashok Acharya is Regional Director for India and SAARC Region at Veeam. Views expressed here are of the author and CyberMedia does not necessarily endorse them.)

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