As companies decide whether or not to move ahead with an “everything in the cloud” strategy for providing consumer-facing applications, enterprise applications are also getting a new shape with web-based applications to support internal business operations. These applications live inside the private network of the organization and often have role-based access. While consumer-facing applications acquire new customers and serve them, internal applications are what make it all possible to operate the entire business consistently and efficiently.
Accounting, collaboration, communication, resource management, and all other day-to-day business operations rely on these internal web-based applications to serve your customers better and support internal stakeholders. If internal applications go down, it will not only impact your employees’ productivity but also your customer support, resulting in loss of credibility and customer trust. The following use cases make internal monitoring essential for your business:
- Monitoring help desk applications to avoid customer support downtime.
- Infrastructure monitoring to ensure SLA compliance by the IT team.
- Cross-department application monitoring for bottleneck and latency.
- Internal user experience for better productivity and efficiency.
- Resource monitoring for better planning and budgeting etc.
So, when it comes to monitoring, consumer-facing application monitoring is not enough to support the growth and success of your business. Monitoring your internal applications plays a vital role in strengthening business operations that will eventually help you win new customers and retain existing customers.
Internal Monitoring Strategy
Before you decide on how to do the internal monitoring or what tools you should choose, preparing an internal monitoring strategy is a good idea for better understanding and taking full advantage of the monitoring. You also want to streamline your internal monitoring with consumer application monitoring so that you have the full picture of what’s going on in your infrastructure as a whole. Here are few tips for internal monitoring strategy:
- Decide on which applications to monitor. Your organization may typically have ERP, CRM, accounting and payroll portal, HR portal, help desk, collaboration tools, communications tools so on, and so forth. Some of them don’t really need 24/7 monitoring, although a regular system check is necessary, while some of them will need continuous monitoring, for example, like your IT help desk. Identify and prioritize the applications that are crucial for smooth business operations and need better monitoring.
- Focus on SLA compliance. SLAs negotiation and compliance are at the heart of your IT infrastructure. Not only they provide a sense of trust between you and your business partners/vendors but they also give you a baseline for a robust IT infrastructure. However, to validate and maintain the SLA compliance by IT, you would need to have a way to check if the baseline is met.
- Server Monitoring. Monitor server and system resources to optimize performance and better planning for future usage and budging so that your internal stakeholders have a consistently smooth experience.
- Cross-department Monitoring. Multiple departments may have different portals for their work but they are often integrated into a large system for streamlined data flow. However, latency and uptime need to be monitored to avoid unnecessary bottlenecks and data consistency.
- Monitor third-party APIs and External Websites. Your internal applications might be using some third-party APIs and your internal users also might be using external websites for their work. To ensure productivity and efficiency internal users, monitoring these from inside your firewall enables you to discover issues they might face.
- Monitor from Regional Offices. This must be an integral part of your monitoring strategy if you have regional offices. Your internal applications might perform differently depending on your office locations. Monitoring from one location won’t be enough to cover your base.
In addition to these above-mentioned points, you need to evolve your monitoring strategy as your organization grows, in addition to your infrastructure and employee base.
How to Effectively Monitor Internal Applications
To cover your internal monitoring base effectively you will need to implement an effective monitoring solution that can work behind the scenes, 24/7, that can help you uncover application issues when they arise. Synthetic monitoring can do just that. Synthetic monitoring allows you to emulate real users, and the critical paths, through your applications, thereby providing you the data about the user journey and business transactions. This is a proactive monitoring approach that allows you to identify issues and gather data about your applications to help resolve the issues before they impact your internal users.
Using synthetic monitoring tools allows you to monitor web page performance, web application performance, third-party API performance, among others in a private environment behind your firewall. Using synthetic monitoring tools will also allow you to set KPI alerts for different metrics that will help you identify SLA compliance issues with your internal applications, and fix them before they impact any of your business processes and vendor relationships.
One important thing you should keep in mind that your internal synthetic monitoring tools should allow you to monitor from different locations for the regional consistency of your internal apps behind the firewall, as well as to compare performance data to gauge whether an issue is related to an external network or just an internal application.
Server monitoring covers the base from overall infrastructure monitoring that typically includes CPU/memory consumption, I/O, network, disk, email, DNS, etc. Server monitoring tools will allow you to gather data that will help you plan your infrastructure better and take informed decisions to avoid any performance hiccups. It will also help you reduce your IT infrastructure cost by optimizing resources and reducing resources you don’t utilize.
Conclusion: Monitoring Internal Applications
Remember, a healthy internal infrastructure is essential for your stakeholders’ productivity and business success. For monitoring internal applications, having the best synthetic monitoring tools and solutions, along with monitoring you IT infrastructure, will help you to proactively eliminate problems before they adversely affect your business. Combining the capabilities of external monitoring and internal monitoring, allows you to monitor everything from a single place, providing you with a more comprehensive monitoring strategy.