Blog Post

From Dial-Up to the Cloud: Why APM is Not Enough in the Age of the Internet

Without critical visibility into the Internet Stack, you risk losing revenue and customers due to downtime and performance issues.

What would you be doing right now if the Internet didn't exist? The world wide web as we know it is only a few decades old, but it's hard to imagine life without it. I fondly recall the early days of the "personal" Internet, when I used a 56k modem and waited anxiously for that oh-so-familiar connecting sound to access my AOL account and check if I had mail. We've come a long way from those humble beginnings.  

We talk about the Internet as your new network because it is. Whether it's an eCommerce organization such as Amazon, where over 99% of purchases are made online, or a local gas station that processes credit card payments in real-time, almost every business today relies on the Internet in one way or another. It's as fundamental to modern life as electricity.  

The birth of monitoring  

The advent of the Internet sparked a fresh wave of innovation, migrating everything from accounting and finance to manufacturing and planning into software applications. These applications became the cornerstone of running a business. Ensuring applications ran smoothly at that time was a relatively straightforward affair. Software systems were comparatively simple and ran on individual machines. IT teams had direct access to the hardware and could easily identify and fix any issues that arose.  

All that changed as applications became more complex and distributed. Inevitably, the required monitoring to ensure they ran as expected and could support the needs of the business and its customers. Consequently, developers created software to monitor the application stack, giving birth to Application Performance Management (APM). APM enabled organizations to tune the apps better to the flow of business, and to identify issues in the app stack quicker. However, despite its apparent benefits, APM still leaves a huge unanswered gap in the market today.  

Why monitoring applications is not enough  

Applications don't exist in a vacuum; they require a resilient Internet to function correctly.  

How do you get to Amazon.com if you don't have WIFI? How does your doctor access your medical records if they can't get online? How do eCommerce brands compete if they have a slow-loading website? And how do you find the root cause of Internet incidents anyway? Is it an issue with the ISP, Wi-Fi, CDN, DNS,  BGP, JavaScript, or the laptop?  

To complicate this further, not everyone uses the Internet from the same location. People in the United States, from San Francisco and Boston to Chicago and Springfield, as well as folks across the pond in London, Paris, and Madrid, and even further afield in Tokyo, Australia, New Zealand and beyond, are all trying to access the same applications. How do you ensure they can access the apps they need online, regardless of their location and the network conditions they face? The answer is simple: you need to monitor the Internet.  

Enter Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM)  

This is why Mehdi Daoudi, Dritan Sujoti and Scotte Barkan founded Catchpoint. They worked at Google after DoubleClick was acquired and recognized a significant gap in the market. In their quest to be the best Ad Serving company in the world, they realized they needed to have the best uptime and performance. The problem was that existing tools only monitored either the App stack, the infrastructure, or monitored from the cloud. There was nothing that truly measured performance from the user's standpoint.    

So they set out to create something new, something that would help organizations ensure that their employees and their customers received the experience that they required. In the early days, they referred to their new technology as synthetic monitoring, then digital experience monitoring or observability. Today, we call it Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM), a term that captures what Catchpoint’s founders set out to achieve – to get deep visibility into every aspect of the Internet that impacts your business.  

Given the importance of the Internet, organizations cannot afford to look the other way. They need to be able to monitor their networks, APIs, workforce, web and, of course, their customer experiences to ensure they catch Internet incidents before they impact their business. Any organization that is monitoring their app stacks using APM alone, is doing themselves a disservice by not also monitoring their Internet Stack with IPM.    

The high cost of disruption  

One of our customers, a large electronics company, had an incident causing just a few minutes of friction for all their salespeople. Now imagine if this issue reduces productivity by 5 minutes per salesperson daily. If the organization has 6000 sales employees, that works out to 30,000 minutes daily, which is 130,000 hours lost annually. If the average salesperson makes $100,000 per year, that means a loss of $6,250,000 annually.    

Another example is on the eCommerce front. Say a company with a revenue of around $700,000,000 annually has an average of 76 disruptions a month from their Internet Stack. With an average of just 30 mins per disruption,  that works out to 38 hours of slow or downtime a month, resulting in about $3M lost revenue monthly or $36M annually. That's before you account for the resource impact of the team that has to identify, debug and fix the issue or the negative knock-on effect on your brand.

As you can see from those two quick examples, the lost revenue is not at all trivial in either case, and you can find many more of these stories on our website.  

Ensure the resilience of your Internet Stack  

Catchpoint is the market leader in the IPM space with solutions that deliver complete operational visibility into all aspects of your business: Customer, Workforce, Network, Application, and Website Experience. Unfortunately, many of our customers don't recognize the need for IPM until it's too late, often after they suffer a significant disruption or outage that costs the organization millions of dollars in lost revenue, productivity, and a damaged reputation.  

The time has come for organizations to put the same emphasis on monitoring to ensure Internet Resilience as they do on their Application Stacks with APM. Without critical visibility into the Internet Stack, you risk losing revenue and customers due to downtime and performance issues. That’s why your business needs IPM tools. Are you going to be the one that waits too long and costs your organization millions, or are you going to be the superhero that is able to catch and fix issues before they impact your business. For more information on Internet Performance, visit us online or request a free trial.

Network Experience
Application Experience
Customer Experience
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