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HP Software's community for IT leaders // February 2012
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Mobile monitoring: Get it early

Don’t wait for mobile applications to be dropped into your lap. Collaborate with the Apps team from the outset to make monitoring easier—and start by asking these six questions.

Enterprises are quickly realizing that they can’t let the mobile revolution pass them by. But they’re also learning that simply having mobile apps isn’t enough; they have to ensure that apps perform as users expect.

“If you really want to take advantage of mobile as a new delivery mechanism, you have to treat it like any other business-critical application in your organization: Continually optimize it to ensure that it performs as intended,” says Genefa Murphy, solution manager in HP Software’s portfolio strategy and architecture group. “And the only way you can do that is to monitor and manage it while it’s deployed with customers.”

However, the mobile app is different from what most operations teams are accustomed to. It must run on hundreds of device types, many operating systems, through multiple carriers and across cellular networks of varying bandwidths. But too often, operations teams are asked to monitor apps that were created without their input—sometimes not even knowing that an app was created and deployed before they’re asked to monitor it.



Discussion points for better collaboration
What can you do to set up your Ops teams for success? Engage with Apps from the start. For every application your organization wants to create, sit down with the developers and have a planning discussion guided by the best practices that will serve each team—and your customers. Here’s what to cover:

  • What kind of app will it be? Native or browser-based? Will you offer both and let customers choose? These application types require different monitoring techniques. Browser-based applications use modified browsers to access apps online. When monitoring these apps, you should consider how the user experiences the service from a native application and from the browser. If accessed from a browser, does the entire page render? How long does it take? Does it perform differently from one device to another? Customers may have a very different experience using a mobile browser compared with using the native application. 
  • What platforms will native apps run on? Applications can be platform-agnostic or come in multiple versions for different operating systems. You’ll need to know what kinds of devices you’ll be monitoring so you can prepare to slice and dice performance data accordingly.
  • Will the app enable users to move through a single process using multiple devices? For example, will users be able to place items in their shopping carts in the native iPhone app and then complete the transaction on the website via their laptops? You must be prepared to monitor processes not only on mobile devices but also as they cross devices, websites and servers.
  • What network types will the apps run over? You need to be able to effectively emulate various bandwidth rates, since your end users may be using the varying bandwidths of 3G, 4G, EDGE and Wi-Fi connections.
  • How will the Apps team get feedback about the application in production? Mobile applications frequently are updated and patched to address issues encountered by end users. Make sure you and the applications team understand how you will get feedback about the application. 
  • Will performance testing account for the end user experience? Your team will end up monitoring the end user experience, so you need to know that the app was working properly before it was deployed. Talk about reusing performance testing scripts in monitoring production apps.

Be part of the process from the start
For your organization to grow its market share, your mobile apps must run faster and better than those of your competitors. That means Ops has a major role to play in the mobile revolution. But if you want to be successful, get involved long before it’s time to start monitoring.

To read more about mobile application monitoring, see the white paper, “Five things your IT team needs to know about monitoring mobile applications,” and look at the mobile capabilities of the new BSM 9.1 solution.


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