Even if your company isn’t an ecommerce-based operation, your organization is bound to be chock full of web apps. These are probably a mix of:
- third-party SaaS applications like Salesforce and Netsuite
- behind-the-firewall applications like SharePoint, a bug tracking system, project tracking systems, etc.
- externally facing sites like your corporate website
When web application performance suffers on any of these applications, it costs you hassle, troubleshooting time, and either directly or indirectly costs your company money in lost revenue or productivity. You’re probably already monitoring your apps from an application and infrastructure perspective, but is the ROI there for synthetic end user monitoring?
Let’s consider the 3rd party sites first. If they go down or suffer a performance degradation, people can’t work. Productivity in your office slows or stops, and in the case of the two applications mentioned above, you might not be able to make, track, and process sales. That’s really bad news. While there’s not much you can actually do when these sites have issues, proactive monitoring allows you to track SLA information, giving you powerful data when negotiating next year’s contract. This knowledge could save you the cost of your synthetic monitoring product in one fell swoop. Plus, knowing how these sites perform can help you choose the vendor with the most uptime, minimizing lost productivity by making the right vendor choice.
Now, on to monitoring apps that you actually control. As we discussed above, you are probably already monitoring application and infrastructure health with a product like SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor. Do you really need to add synthetic end user monitoring on top of that? Is the ROI there? The answer is, it depends. It depends on whether these things are important in your organization:
- Users can access the apps from around the globe – it’s possible for an application to be available from one location and not others due to the distributed nature of web applications
- Apps perform optimally at all times of the day
- Slowdowns and errors are recognized and eliminated
- Employees can work efficiently, resulting in increased job satisfaction
- End-users can conduct full transactions using your applications with no hiccups, so work gets done and ecommerce sales go through without a hitch
Ok, I might be laying it on a bit thickly, but you get the point. If you want to ensure everything is working the way it should – the only way to know this is to monitor your web apps from the end-user’s perspective. Not doing so leaves you with a huge blind spot. When you monitor your web applications from multiple end points, you can get out in front of application errors. Remember how you used to find about application problems when the users called you? Now you can employ an army of synthetic users, at locations around the globe, to “call” you when they see anything amiss.
How to Calculate the ROI
Calculating the ROI of a synthetic web app monitoring solution isn’t hard. For internal applications, you can estimate the cost of application downtime with this easy formula: Hourly Downtime Cost = (P+R) x A x C
P = number of people affected + R = revenue contributed by the application
A = average percentage they are affected
C = average employee cost (salaries or wages + benefits)
Next, every time you have an application slowdown or outage, run it through the calculation above. Be sure that you’re including users accessing the application from all probable locations—not just home office users accessing home office applications, but remote users and satellite offices as well. How many times have you received a phone call from one of your users that an application was down, but you had received no alert from your conventional monitoring tools? Your monitoring solution tells you the services are started and everything is fine, but users are receiving errors when trying to log in or submit form data. The critical services and processes of your mission critical application may be running, but that doesn’t mean the application is working. A synthetic monitoring solution acts like an army of end users, continuously monitoring your website and web applications and reporting problems immediately, before your real end users do, such is the importance of a web application monitoring software.
Estimating the cost for an ecommerce site is also quite simple – just look at your typical revenue for similar period to outage period. What should you have earned? But you didn’t. Maybe the customers will come back and buy from you at another time. Maybe they won’t. Maybe they went to a competitor’s site and now they like them better.
This gives us a nice transition into how application availability impacts the outward image of your organization. If your organization has a customer-facing website that assists in sales, awareness, and brand-building, you can estimate how much that contributes as a percentage of sales and cost it out over the period of downtime. What did you lose by not being there when customers came looking? How much traffic should you have received in the period of downtime? There are several studies that go into this in more depth, but you can make a back-of-the-envelope calculation that should be pretty eye opening.
When you add it all up, it should be pretty clear that synthetic web application monitoring can quickly and easily pay for itself in both hard dollars (increased revenue) and soft (improved employee satisfaction and productivity). I think these real numbers will change end user monitoring from a “nice to have” to a “must have.” If you’re even partially convinced, why not run some ROI calculations, then download SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor, website monitoring tool and see how the ROI looks during the trial period. Then, get in touch and let’s discuss the results of your web application monitoring tool.
“The only way to make a rational, business case-based decision on the appropriate level of investment in availability solutions is to first understand the financial impact and exposure that downtime has on the organization’s bottom line.”