Abhilash Purushothaman, MD (IN & SAARC), Cisco AppDynamics

Cisco AppDynamics is reshaping the digital market and security for ease of customer application solutions to business enterprises

Priti Yadav
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Cisco AppDynamics is reshaping the digital market and security for ease of customer application solutions to business enterprises

In these uncertain times, a surge in digital applications has increased. AppDynamics, a CISCO parent company—is ruling the IT sector and enterprises with multiple partners. They provide accessible solutions for IT complexities to ease the customer needs for every business. Abhilash Purushothaman, MD (Indian & SAARC), AppDynamics, has shared his insights on the IT industry, business dynamics and his childhood dreams with CIOL. Let's hear from the spokesperson on the global scenario.


Firstly, I would like to know more about you, talk to me about your childhood, your dreams and passions growing up.

I grew up in a quiet South Indian city and had a childhood filled with memories of many escapades and bike rides with friends. For as long as I remember, I always wanted to be a pilot. At some point, I did outgrow that infatuation, though impossible to say when. Technology and what it could do to human lives always fascinated me during those formative years and it still does, each day!

If you were not doing what you do right now, what would you rather do for a living?


How about “a globe-trotting freelance videographer covering exotic places for National Geographic”?

Who motivated or influenced you the most in your life?

It’s hard to point down to one person or a personality who motivated or inspired me. Most of my inspiration and motivation always came from within myself - possibly from what I’ve read, where I’ve travelled and from those whom I’ve met or worked with. The stuff I see, hear, read, talk, the people I meet, customers, peers, friends, detractors - they are all an influence, in some shape or form!


What made you choose this industry?

From the beginning of early 2000, software began changing the world and made a significant impact in human lives across the globe. Innovation, relevance and impact of work is today most visible within almost all industries that have been undergoing digital transformation in the past decade or so. If you want to learn, grow and in that process contribute to the society and progress yourself, there’s no better time and place, other than the software industry

Can you talk about your journey in this industry?


I started my career as a software engineer, writing code for some innovative products and eventually ended up managing a small team. The company I was working for was always changing and growing, so I moved across at least 6 different roles to explore and help as and when needed. After a few years, I was presented with an opportunity to try out a customer-facing position, I grabbed it with both hands and eventually moved into a consultancy, presales and then sales & management roles. Two words describe my journey in this industry - “learning” and “evolving”

Why do you think that there is a need for your company to exist in today’s market?

We have always believed that ‘applications are the businesses. But in an increasingly digitised post-pandemic world this trend has increased exponentially. The number of applications that people are using on a daily basis has jumped by a staggering 30% compared with two years ago (as shown in our App Attention Index 2021 report). At the same time, expectation of performance from applications has also significantly increased. Our customers are under huge pressure.


In order to meet this demand and heightened level of expectation, technologists are innovating at record speeds. But this relentless acceleration of digital transformation comes at a cost. IT departments find themselves drowning in a sea of complexity and bombarded with overwhelming volumes of data. And technologists continue to operate under intense pressure, constantly firefighting IT issues but without the insight to know where to focus their efforts.

Most organisations don’t have the means to manage this new level of complexity. Many are still relying on multiple, disconnected monitoring tools across their IT infrastructure, which make it almost impossible to quickly identify and fix performance issues before they impact the end users. They don’t have the insight to prioritize actions and investments, and make smart decisions based on business outcomes.

The solution? Full-stack observability with business context enables IT teams to get full visibility of the entire IT estate and the ability to correlate technology performance with business outcomes in real-time. The AppDynamics Business Observability platform is a key component of Cisco’s vision for full-stack observability with business context and will enable technologists to get on the front foot and ensure they have the right level of visibility to monitor and measure performance across the full IT stack and drive the business forward.


Can you describe your business model?

Cisco AppDynamics is delivering a market-leading, enterprise-scale and cloud-native Observability platform that will meet the growing demands of global technologists as they navigate increasing IT complexity and data noise.

AppDynamics helps technologists tackle the challenge of delivering the ‘total application experience’. Today’s users demand frictionless, faultless digital experiences. But meeting their ever-rising expectations is difficult because modern architectures have become too complex for even their operators to fully comprehend. The AppDynamics Business Observability platform transforms organisations faster by providing business context deep into the technology stack, aligning teams around shared priorities, and enabling technologists to act with confidence on what matters most to the business.


We believe in meeting its customers where they are. We have launched a total of 8 local data centres via AWS, across the globe in the last 12 months to better serve our customers. This includes a SaaS instance hosted in AWS Mumbai that was announced in October 2020. This facility and expanded SaaS offering to create a real and differentiated value proposition for our existing and prospective customers where they can host IT performance data in-region without having to worry about data residency regulations. Customers can choose our industry-leading, business-centric Business Observability platform via a local SaaS offering and deploy AppDynamics solutions more rapidly and drive faster outcomes.

AppDynamics R&D and Global Support Centre are based in Bengaluru and we have sales, support and customer experience teams spread across other metro cities as well.

What are your views on the industry during the pandemic and can you give me your insights on the future?

We’ve seen a massive digital transformation journey triggered by the pandemic. In 2020 organisations implemented digital transformation projects three times faster than any previous year.

This has placed significant pressure on IT teams, whether they’re responsible for keeping IT environments secure or delivering the transformation projects. And the amount of pressure is not about to drop down as post-pandemic users are increasingly demanding and won’t settle for anything but the best digital experiences. They’re looking for the ‘total application experience’—a high-performing, reliable, digital service which is simple, helpful, fun to use and also secure.

The AppDynamics App Attention Index 2021 report also showed that 61% of people are saying their expectation of digital services has changed forever and they won’t tolerate poor performance any more. What’s more striking is that, irrespective of the issue, 72% believe it’s the responsibility of the brand to ensure that the digital service or application works perfectly.

Therefore, application owners – and the brands behind them – need to recognize that they are now operating in an entirely new, high-stakes environment, where even the most minor performance issue can result in more than half of their customers walking away, potentially forever. Of course, this adds even more pressure on application owners to deliver frictionless, faultless digital experiences at all times. In order to do so, it’s vital that technologists have full visibility into IT performance up and down the IT stack, from customer-facing applications right through to core infrastructure. Full-stack observability is vital for technologists to be able to identify and fix issues before they impact users.

But even with full-stack observability in place, technologists can find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of performance data that is continually coming at them from across the entire IT estate. This is why they need a business lens on IT performance, to cut through the noise and pinpoint the data that really matters most. By connecting full-stack observability with real-time business metrics, technologists can understand which issues could have the biggest impact on customers so they can prioritize their actions in the right places. It means that they can optimize application performance at all times and ensure they’re able to meet heightened consumer expectations.

What would you like to change about this industry?

It’s a massively growing and transforming industry. When we grow and transform together, it’s quite natural to have conflicting priorities, commoditization of value and obfuscated view of the business. This leads to short-sighted decisions made without looking at the big picture - not just in software, across all IT. Many industries and organizations have fallen prey to this penny-wise-pound-foolish approach in addressing transformational initiatives. For long-term sustainable growth and predictability, it’s imperative that technologists do not take shortcuts or myopic views, when it comes to strategic initiatives and investments.

In today’s world, there is a huge need to safeguard data. What is the best approach to security?

Today's organisations are reliant more than ever on applications to engage with and deliver services to customers, which leads to huge volumes of personal user data being housed within the application. As a result, they face increased vulnerability to cyber threats and security incidents. This challenge is further exacerbated as they continue to support more employees working from home who are using laptops and devices connected to the public internet. This is testing the limits of monitoring practices and vastly expanding the IT perimeter, creating new weaknesses and vulnerabilities in even the most secure IT estates.

As applications now run anywhere from on-premise to multi-cloud and cloud-native microservices, combined with accelerated innovation, the need for an application-led approach to security is paramount. A robust security posture is one where teams have a single view of the entire IT estate, leveraging real-time data to react to, and fix, critical issues as quickly as possible. The better prepared your business is, the better it will be able to protect against malware intrusions, data breaches and the theft of intellectual property.

At the beginning of 2021, we introduced Cisco Secure Application. Built natively into the AppDynamics Business Observability platform it correlates security and application insights through a single solution to simplify vulnerability management, defend against attacks and protect applications from the inside-out.

What are the recent developments at your company?

The acquisition in 2021 by Cisco of innovative companies - such as Epsagon and - is helping to accelerate innovation of the AppDynamics Business Observability Platform and add further capabilities around key technologies such as serverless and container based platforms as well as for Kubernetes Governance and Cost Management for Cloud-native businesses.

From a go to market perspective, earlier this year, AppDynamics announced major updates and improvements to our Global Partner Program to support the move to 100% channel model. This move provides closer alignment to Cisco’s sales motion and gives partners the confidence and opportunity to build out full-stack observability practices with AppDynamics and Cisco.

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