IT in the New Normal: Top Tips to Optimise Application Performance

The recent transition to remote working has revealed many cracks in application deployments that had previously been papered over. If your users are becoming frustrated, these top tips will enable you to optimise application performance and deliver the services they need to remain productive in the new normal.

If March 2020 was a time for organisations throughout the UK to respond to the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, we find ourselves now in what many are calling the recovery phase. A lot of the dialogue between IT professionals is based around how infrastructures and applications are going to look in the future, and how organisations should structure their people, processes and technology in alignment with the way they will need to operate in the new normal.

Application performance is right at the heart of this conversation, with cloud-based applications forming essential elements of most organisations’ operational capabilities. What has come to light since lockdown has been the application performance issues that may have been mitigated by high-bandwidth connections to head offices and large, responsive support teams in the pre-coronavirus world, but that are now coming to light in this new reality of remote working and furloughed staff.

Fortunately, there are steps all organisations can take to optimise application performance and deliver the services their users need to remain productive in the new normal. Six Degrees partners with Synetec, a bespoke software provider, to modernise its clients’ business applications. In this blog we’ll provide context for and guidance around some of the application performance challenges organisations are experiencing in 2020.

Application Performance Business Challenges

Since moving to remote working, users have complained in their thousands about poor application responsiveness, resulting in poor page load times and slow reporting responses for month-end and week-end reports. In many cases these performance issues are caused by an imbalance between the areas of the application that are most important for business users and the areas where the development teams spend most of their time coding and adding ‘perceived’ value. Typically, these issues result from poorly written code, poorly designed architectures, and inflexible infrastructure setups.

The business challenges that result from application performance issues invariably centre around user experience and productivity. Users facing performance issues often go one of two ways: many become frustrated and find workarounds, often introducing shadow IT solutions that can introduce cyber security and compliance risks. Others, meanwhile, begrudgingly accept poor application performance and don’t challenge the status quo, making it hard to identify, address and enhance processes.

The Impact of Coronavirus

If coronavirus hasn’t caused application performance issues, it has certainly put them under a microscope. Before lockdown, organisations could endure performance issues as support teams were responsive at sensitives times such as payroll or month end. However, in the new normal where network performance is key and in-person responses are not available, users who have come to expect applications to work are finding that often they don’t.

We are seeing a shift in how applications are accessed, with a large number of sessions accessed from outside of the corporate firewall. And we are also seeing a move to exit real estate or to cope with different business models, which create different or variable loads to what has been experienced previously. The result of these changes in usage patterns has been some applications shifting from being constrained to actually breaking.

Top Tips to Optimise Application Performance

If your organisation is looking to optimise application performance, we recommend following three stages: prioritise, focus and fix. During the prioritise stage you will identify which areas of the application are most important – these are the areas your development team should focus on fixing first. It’s essential that the prioritise phase is undertaken with user engagement in mind; in the worst-case scenario, development resources will spend time focusing on fixing problems their users aren’t actually complaining about.

At Six Degrees we follow the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework, which places any optimisation exercise within a business context. Since many key applications are enterprise applications with well-known deployment architectures, it’s important to work with key vendors who will be able to guide you towards the most appropriate technical and cost options.

You can learn more about how Six Degrees and Synetec partner to optimise application performance by watching our joint webinar.

We’re also offering a free application performance review with Six Degrees and Synetec to optimise your application performance.

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