AppDynamics & WWT Protect a Revenue Stream Worth Millions
This well-known operator of more than 530 travel stops across 41 states provides professional truck drivers and motorists with 24-hour access to a clean, safe place to purchase gasoline, diesel fuel, compressed natural gas, travel items, electronics, snacks, meals and more.
For long-distance truckers and travelers, one of the company’s most popular amenities is its private, secured showers, which travelers can purchase from an attendant or reserve online using an app on their smartphone. The company sells more than 8 million showers a year, so this application alone contributes tens of millions of dollars every year to top-line revenues.
Prior to working with World Wide Technology, application managers had very little insight into shower application performance. If the system went down at a store, they might not hear about it right away. Once the outage was reported, it would take additional time to diagnose the problem and implement a resolution.
The company estimated that a shower app outage costs them roughly $4500 per hour per store. The more stores affected, the higher the hourly costs ran. Unfortunately, they had the opportunity to test that estimate when a four-hour outage that impacted several stores cost them over $60,000 in lost revenues.
When they reached out to World Wide Technology, the company had two primary objectives it wanted to achieve:
- Minimize downtime to avoid losing significant revenue. To do this, they needed a system that would alert application and network managers immediately to pending performance issues as well as any actual outages. The company also needed a system that would help application managers pinpoint the cause of the outage so they could reduce remediation time.
- Ensure application performance for a better user experience. This organization isn’t the only one to offer shower amenities to long-distance travelers, so the team wanted to ensure a positive user experience. An unplanned outage creates a lasting negative impression, but so does a drop in performance that leads to a delay in issuing tickets. This is especially true when the customer is a weary traveler who’s been looking forward to a hot shower after spending hours on the road.
Sales strategy and WWT solution
The shower application is just one of many applications the company wanted to monitor, but because of the revenues involved, the team decided this app would make an excellent proof of concept. The World Wide Technology team worked with their application management team to implement AppDynamics, an application performance monitoring solution from Cisco that delivers application mapping, dynamic baselining and code-level diagnostics.
“We brought in a measuring stick and started measuring things, but we didn’t stop there,” said Tree Lindemann-Michael, Solutions Architect at World Wide Technology. “We went one step further and married business context to the metrics. Using the customer’s knowledge of the business and our expertise with the AppDynamics tool, we were able to take the data generated and morph that into a visual story of what the shower application is actually doing.”
With data gathered from AppDynamics, the shower app team knows which stores are affected by outages so they can be proactive about outreach and reduce time to resolution. As one application manager said when shown how to use AppDynamics in his role, “For four years, I haven’t had glasses on to view the performance of our apps. Please don’t take my glasses off!”
AppDynamics also fits nicely into the application team’s DevOps initiative, as it gives developers a real-time window into how the applications they develop are performing in the production environment. This allows them to proactively diagnose and address performance issues, such as scheduled workflows that impact performance in seemingly random ways. Code-level diagnostics also helps the team pinpoint the root cause of both performance issues and outages to decrease time to remediation and break down the silos that tend to crop up between network managers and application developers
One of the unexpected benefits of the AppDynamics implementation came when the company lost one of its network security managers. Prior to the implementation of AppDynamics, the network manager responsible for application performance spent a lot of time tracing application issues. With AppDynamics making his role easier and faster, he was able to take on the responsibilities left by the departing network security manager.
Thanks to AppDynamics, the company was able to meet its network security needs without backfilling the position. Just as importantly, the network manager had the time and freedom to step up and develop his skill set, increasing his value to the organization.
The initial proof of concept a resounding success, the company is now looking to leverage AppDynamics across several more applications, including its SAP ERP backbone.