Time for a New Year’s Toolsolution ??
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Problem to Solve:  What other types of Value can I leverage from my APM/NPM solution?   What additional features do other customers use?

newyears_resolution_640Resolution? Toolsolution? huh? …. I like to think of it as “blog author’s creative license” and a quick turn off of spell check.  🙄 
Well Happy New Year everyone!! Yes it is that time of season where everyone looks at the upcoming year, and makes some decisions on where they can improve themselves. We have all heard these resolutions before in late December / early January. Some resolutions get accomplished, some goals get set, some goals … well… get forgotten by the end of January. You all know the types of resolutions I am talking about ……

  • I am going to lose 10 pounds
  • I am going to read more
  • I am going to eat healthier
  • I am going to spend more time with my family
  • I am going to start exercising
  • I am going back to school

Certainly, these are all excellent personal goals to set, and I hope that any resolution that you have set …gets accomplished. But here is a thought … what about a resolution to ask your APM/NPM tools solution vendor for a solution health check assessment? a.k.a. “Toolsolution”??

WHAT ?? Yeah, I said it.

If you have deployed an APM/NPM solution and have been able to solve real problems with it, wouldn’t you want to get “every ounce of value” out of it? In most cases, your trusted vendor should be a subject matter expert on how other customers realize all of the value that their solution can bring. Your APM/NPM vendor should be able to provide solid guidance and recommendations on use cases, best practice configurations, valid workflows, useful reports / dashboards, etc. Why not ask them for a solution value check up? My approach has always been to offer this type of request completely at “no charge”. It may be my “geeky roots” shining through here, but have always loved to see my customers find a new functionality or workflow to solve a problem with our solution, that doesn’t require any additional investment. It is enjoyable to hear them say “I can use this <insert newly discovered functionality> right now, and I don’t need to buy anything? The joyful look in their eye reminds me of a excited little kid on Christmas morning …. and other than the Grinch, who doesn’t love to see that?

In the spirit of starting fresh and re-evaluating your personal goals and challenges, let’s bring in another item to the mix.

OK? So What Types of Things Should I Expect?

1) Is All the Cool Functionality Configured and Enabled?
Many times, a customer will deploy a solution to address a very specific use case or pain point. For example, I have had many customers specifically deploy our solution to resolve issues with a painful multi-tier ERP application. But after a solution health check, discover that the same deployed solution could be additionally used for monitoring other areas like Unified Communications environments, capacity planning reports, executive reporting, etc.

Why is this Valuable? It comes down to realizing all of the value. If your current APM/ NPM solution can be used to solve other types of business problems, then that means that you really do not have to invest dollars in niche solutions to address the other problems. The net/net to you is that you will….

1) get more value out of your existing APM/NPM investment

2) save money by avoiding unnecessary expenditures for other solutions when you already “own” untapped functionality

3) look like you made a very business savvy decision by leveraging all the functionality available

2) Are you Running the Latest Versions with the Latest Cool Functionality?
As your vendor offers additional functionality with new versions of the solution, are you ready to take advantage? Many vendors will add in new features and functionality as they go through normal code revisions. However, if you are not aware of these new features, or do not upgrade frequently, you may miss some new cool feature sets. You are always welcome to read the vendors data sheets, release notes, and documentation. But if your vendor really does have subject matter expertise, why not let them do the research and make recommendations for you?

Why is this Valuable? Making sure that your solution is running the latest version and is configured properly allows you to take advantage of any new functionality as it gets released. For example, let’s say that you are running version 3.0 from your original deployed solution, but your vendor now has version 5.0 out and available. In this hypothetical example, you likely cannot take advantage of the new 5.0 functionality and are missing out on the cool new stuff. Letting your APM/NPM vendor provide guidance on upgrade paths, timing, builds, configuration, etc. again allows you to take full advantage of all it can do. This review can come from a solution health check by your vendor.

3) Other Workflows that are Valuable to other Departments?
This example is usually the eye opener to most customers. In most situations as I mentioned before, your APM/NPM solution gets deployed to address or solve a particular issue. There is nothing wrong with that use case, as that was the original intent for the deployment. And that is exactly the point. Now that the solution has been deployed, what other users, departments might be able to leverage the solution’s functionality? Your APM/NPM vendor should be very well versed in this area, because they interact with other customers and other use cases to solve unique problems … pretty much EVERY DAY !!!! It is an extremely useful question to ask your vendor a question like …”How do other customer’s or departments use the solution?”

Why is this Valuable? I am going to use “CyberSecurity” challenges in this example, because in today’s world, it affects all customers. If I stick with my original example of the APM/NPM solution getting deployed to address and ERP issue, this will make more sense. In this example, CyberSecurity was likely not the main challenge to be solved, the performance of the ERP solution was the driving force behind the deployment. But now in today’s environment, CyberSecurity is a huge issue in all aspects of IT. That being said, if your APM/NPM solution originally deployed to solve ERP issues also had some CyberSecurity functionality, wouldn’t it be good to let the IT Security department know? My experience in dealing with most customers is a resounding YES !!!!! Case in point to one of my previous articles as a relevant example.  https://problemsolverblog.czekaj.org/cybersecurity/hey-security-teams-dont-forget-look-apm-npm-tools/   Again, this type of direction and guidance from your vendor will come from a solution health check.

Every customer environment will have technical problems and business challenges. The challenges that actually cost your company lost revenue, lost productivity, lost customers, damaged brand recognition, compliance fines, etc are the challenges that obviously have the management priority. Using all of your solution’s capability to add more value to your IT and company environment just makes good business sense.

Points to Ponder

  • What has your experience been with your APM/NPM Vendors doing this type of review?
  • Did the Solution Health Check yield any new insights or business value to your company?

Comments

Time for a New Year’s Toolsolution ?? — 2 Comments

  1. Hey Ken, good article! I imagine that you see this under-utilization all the time. And to your point, it’s not always a result of under-staffing – it’s frequently a matter of just not knowing, whether at a detailed tree-top level, or at a higher “big-picture” altitude.

    Looking forward to tomorrow!

    Paul.

    • Ironically yes, we do see this from customer environments. Certainly, solution education does play a role in some cases. But a lot of times it is more that our customers are so busy with other projects, they do not have time to read lots of release notes or product documentation. The solution health check allows us to get everyone aware of additional use cases and new functionality, without taking away a lot of time and resource away from the customer. The feedback that we get is usually very positive.

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