Application Insights is a Business Tool
Applications Insights is an extensible analytics service that monitors live applications. It helps us detect and diagnose performance issues, and understand what users actually do with our applications. This is especially useful when we maintain applications, because it allows us to identify applications that have active users. And more specifically, we have a means to identify applications that have been abandoned.
What Makes This a Business Tool?
Without these insights, it’s difficult to prioritize our efforts. With limited resources, it can be challenging to maintain a large number of applications. This is where Application Insights can help us identify how we can have the greatest impact on the business. For example, an application whose utilization is dropping month over month, possibly indicates user dissatisfaction. Frustrated users usually find creative ways to get the job done. Some turn to Excel; others turn to intricate post-it systems. The result is often detrimental to the business and can be difficult to remedy.
Dropping abandoned applications creates opportunities to refocus and innovate. This is especially important for the business, because this is where the business can get an edge on competition.
In new projects, Application Insights can help identify which features should be dropped and where to invest more. This is important in scenarios where we want to test in production. It moves us away from making assumptions to validating our hypotheses.
Nothing speaks louder than actions. Through telemetry, we can identify patterns and anticipate failure. Proactively acting on insights results in higher user satisfaction and a gain in productivity. This can have the unexpected effect of moving us from a blind maintenance cycle to a continuous improvement loop. Remember that users don’t like to look bad, and that they tend to lie. This makes indirect feedback is very valuable.
Marketing professionals have used telemetry from various sources to tune and refine their strategy. Over the years, analytics has evolved and has become the driving for behind successful businesses. Today, these same principles are making their way to the software industry. Tools like HockeyApp, Mobile Engagement and Applications Insights help us understand our businesses. They help us tweak our applications in order to augment productivity, user satisfaction and to create new business opportunities.
Businesses can target where to invest by leveraging insights derived from the users of their line of business (LOB) applications. This is accomplished by identifying repetitive tasks, application failures, trends and issues in their business process. They evaluate, plan and implement solutions that empower users to achieve more. Finally, they monitor, analyze and validate their investments in production. This marks the beginning of a new continuous improvement cycle.
How do you prioritize maintenance work versus innovation efforts? How do you evaluate and choose between them when resources are scarce?