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Melissa Hamilton Sargeant

About Melissa Hamilton Sargeant

Melissa Hamilton Sargeant has been developing and marketing IT management software products for nearly 20 years. She has worked for CA Technologies for over five years in senior product marketing roles in Application Performance Management, IT Governance and Security. She currently serves as Sr. Director of Product Marketing for the Service Assurance Customer Solutions Unit where she focuses on CA Application Performance Management. Prior to joining CA Technologies, she was Vice President of Marketing for Digitalsmiths and Bluefire Security Technologies. Mrs. Sargeant also has held senior marketing positions at Mercator Software, Guardent, Digex, Landmark Systems Corporation and COMSAT.
Author Archive | Melissa Hamilton Sargeant
Importance of monitor/measuring application performance

Can the APM Market Handle the Truth?

What do “Two and a Half Men” star Angus T. Jones and some members of the Application Performance Management (APM) blogosphere have in common?  They all had major Charlie Sheen-like meltdowns last week that were equally misguided.

At the source of the controversy is a recent CA Technologies-sponsored IDG/CIO survey on the pulse of the APM market.  This is the third year CA Technologies has sponsored this survey and the results are available on a webcast, in a new white paper and via a Service Assurance Daily blog post.

Advice to the APM Blogosphere: Before one embarks on an online rant, it is a good idea to make sure the facts are right to avoid embarrassment and an Angus T. Jones moment. To inject some intellectual honesty and clarity into this discussion, let’s review the facts.

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You Don’t Need to Run 6 Miles a Day to Improve APM – But it Might not Hurt

I’m a health enthusiast.  My husband might describe my focus and dedication to my health as “fanatical.”  While I think he’s over exaggerating a bit, my guiding principles for a healthy lifestyle are simple: (1) it has to be easy; (2) it has to be sustainable; and (3) it has to work every day.

Not surprisingly, my regimen is equally simple.  I run 6 miles day; I drink a lot of water; and I don’t eat junk or highly processed foods (not even on Thanksgiving – ok, I eat one piece of dark chocolate a day). What’s fanatical about that?

However, I will admit to being fanatical about the Application Performance Management (APM) market and delighting CA Technologies customers every day.

A recent IDG/CIO survey suggests there is a lot of opportunity for fanatics like me to help customers deliver positive business outcomes and an exceptional end-user experience.  Of the 100 large organizations surveyed, only 16% felt “very confident” in their ability to meet end-user expectations for application performance.  That’s a nearly 50% drop from the same survey the previous year.

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Is Your APM SaaS Vendor Faking It?

Reality television has opened our eyes to a lot of fakes: fake love, fake singers and even fake families.  While suspension of disbelief is expected in the entertainment business, it’s a recipe for disaster in the Application Performance Management (APM) market.

Regardless of whether they are delivered on premise or in the cloud, effective APM solutions are uniquely designed to monitor the real-time performance of large, highly complex, revenue-generating applications and business services.  Some niche APM SaaS vendors promise a no-hassle APM utopia that delivers everything at a really low cost, yet they fall way short on delivering critical capabilities and meeting customer expectations. Imagine if you tuned into an episode of 60 Minutes to find Honey Boo Boo interviewing the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It’s not real; it’s not what you expected; and it just doesn’t work (although I would definitely watch). With so much at stake, how do you know if you are getting the real thing or if your APM SaaS vendor is faking it?

When evaluating APM SaaS vendors, make sure you ask them this important question: Is it a subscription offering or a multi-tenant SaaS solution?

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Can't we all get along?

Why Can’t Application, Infrastructure and Network Execs Be Friends?

When there’s a performance problem with a critical, revenue-generating business service, hearts race, questions fly and the blame game begins.  Application executives often point fingers at the network. In turn, network executives may blame faulty application logic as the problem source. At the same time, infrastructure executives may not know if it is the app or the network, but they know for certain it is not the underlying infrastructure.  This war-room approach to problem resolution not only wastes time and drains resources but it also hamstrings an IT organization’s ability to respond to changing business demands.

With so many advanced performance monitoring tools at their disposal, why do so many IT organizations continue to struggle with problem resolution?

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Is Your APM Vendor Weighing You Down? Take the test and get in shape

In college, it’s called the Freshman 15.  In the TV entertainment business, it’s called “standard definition” – because the camera adds 10 pounds.  In the application performance management (APM) market, it’s simple, your solution is just too fat.  Let’s look at the number of market factors that are causing your solution to pack on the IT pounds.

Fact: Billions – if not trillions of – revenue-generating, end-user transactions are zipping across highly complex, hybrid-cloud infrastructures across a rapidly growing population of employee and corporate-owned devices every second of the day.

  • What’s at stake?  End-user experience and application performance have a direct correlation to customer acquisition, satisfaction and loyalty, employee productivity and, ultimately, lifetime value of the business.
  • Why do anything? Optimized application infrastructures deliver high service levels to achieve business objectives, increase IT productivity, help control service-delivery costs by reducing mean time to repair (MTTR) and increase capacity for innovation.

Fact: Increasing end-user transaction visibility throughout the application lifecycle is becoming a high priority.  The business demands more services, faster, at a high quality and a lower cost. This is forcing IT organizations to introduce near-flawless application performance early in the application lifecycle.

  • What’s at stake? Optimized application lifecycles deliver higher services to achieve business objectives, increase IT productivity and help control service delivery costs by reducing MTTR and increase capacity for innovation.
  • Why do anything?  Error-free development, quality assurance and performance testing detect service quality issues early, accelerate time-to-market for new business services and enable IT to respond more quickly to changing business demands.
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The Triple Crown is in Play … Even in the APM Market

Three races, in five weeks, across increasingly longer and more grueling distances: The Triple Crown is the greatest accomplishment of a Thoroughbred racehorse.  It tests every facet of a horse’s athletic abilities – rapid acceleration, blistering speed, turn-on-a-dime agility, unwavering endurance, and most importantly, heart.  Many racehorses specialize in only one facet, and that’s probably why only 11 have put it all together to earn the prestigious title of Triple Crown winner.

As I’ll Have Another embarks on his journey to make horseracing history, at CA Technologies we’re blazing a trail for a new era in Application Performance Management (APM).  This week, we too have made history by integrating our market-leading CA APM solution with CA APM Cloud Monitor and CA LISA (ITKO) – a perfect trifecta.  Much like thoroughbred racing, in the APM market, there are lots of specialists, but few (if any) who can bring it all together across the most grueling physical, virtual, cloud, mobile and mainframe environments to deliver a winning solution.

Our latest innovations put us lengths ahead of the specialists by enabling you to manage IT complexity and costs, increase capacity for innovation and adapt to constantly changing business demands.  Here’s a snapshot of what’s new and why you should place your bet on CA APM.

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Is Consensus Killing Your Business Transformation?

A new Forbes article doesn’t tiptoe around the effect Groupthink has on an organization: “consensus thinking is devastating to all things productive.” The article continues by saying that such thinking “stifles innovation, discourages candor, disdains dissenting opinions, and mutes the truth,” which is a recipe for disaster if you are an organization that wants to harness disruptive innovation to transform your business.

I couldn’t agree more with the author Mike Myatt’s assessment. In fact, I believe Groupthink was created by the people who invented vanilla and beige – it’s bland and watered down.

Fortunately, I work in the Application Performance Management (APM) market, where there is consensus (the productive kind) on only one very important issue: The end user is king!

With a direct correlation to customer acquisition, satisfaction and loyalty, proactive end-user experience management is the ultimate driver of revenue growth and competitive advantage. By continuously monitoring, measuring and resolving problems before they affect end-users and revenue-generating services, organizations can deliver higher service levels to achieve business objectives and help control IT costs by reducing mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR). It’s simple: An exceptional end-user experience helps you transform IT into a strategic asset that drives business performance gains and positive business outcomes.

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Is Application Performance Management Good for Your Health?

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular chocolate consumption can have significant health benefits, may help you lose weight and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. So, ditch the running shoes, dip the FDA food pyramid in dark chocolate and back up the Ghirardelli truck to my house right now – I’m all in!

How can something so decadent be good for you? Dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and caffeine that together can increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and boost your metabolism, helping to optimize your overall health.

Much like the anti-oxidants in dark chocolate, Application Performance Management (APM) solutions can optimize the overall health of your revenue-generating business services by managing complexity, reducing downtime and costs, and improving service quality and reliability. Similar to a heart monitor, APM solutions proactively monitor business transactions as they traverse the IT infrastructure to identify, diagnose and resolve performance problems before they negatively affect end users, preventing lost customers, revenue and employee productivity.

A recent IDG Research Services survey confirms that an effective APM strategy is the key to delivering an exceptional end-user experience and meeting business objectives. According to the survey, “organizations that lack robust APM capabilities put organizational performance at risk, threatening the end-user experience. On the other hand, those that connect to customer metrics and measures through APM are better prepared to face current challenges.”

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APM Behind the Numbers

I’m a runner. Like many runners, I love numbers. I run six days per week, logging an average of 35 miles per week. My numbers give me insight that goes well beyond pure mileage. They tell me when to change my shoes, how much dark chocolate I can consume, where I am relative to my training goals and why my feet hurt.

What insights can we derive from the rapidly growing number of Application Performance Management (APM) vendors? Recent analyst reports highlight more than 25 companies. Only five years ago, I think there were less than 10.

Despite the less-than-favorable macroeconomic climate and flat IT budgets, the APM market is growing, capturing the attention of venture capitalists and established IT vendors. What’s driving so much interest in APM? Let’s go behind the numbers and take a look at some of the market forces that have come together to create an environment that is uniquely well-suited for APM solutions.

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Much “To-Do” About Nothing

A new Harvard Business Review article says that to-do lists make you less focused and less productive.

If this is true, I’m in big trouble. I love my to-do lists. I start my day identifying the top three things I have to accomplish by close of business and focus my attention on those action items. I even have a to-do list for the weekend (my husband is far less enamored with this list than I am). As an achievement-oriented person, I firmly believe that my to-do lists help me prioritize, focus and get work done.

According to the article, to-do lists have the opposite effect because they are often too long and lack prioritization. As an alternative, the author recommends that you take your to-do list and put it into your calendar, giving you dedicated time to deliver on your key tasks. I often do this when I have a big project that requires a significant amount of my time.

While I’m not ready to give up my to-do lists, I understand the author’s point about prioritization, focus and productivity. With our over-scheduled families, looming deadlines and interruption-prone work environments, how do we prioritize those tasks that are most critical so that we can get more work done and be more productive?

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Play to Win the Game with an Effective APM Strategy

Former NFL Coach Herm Edwards delivers the best quote-worthy sounds bites – also known as “Hermisms” – in sports television. While most people recognize him for shouting, “You play to win the game!” during a New York Jets press conference, there are so many great quotes that it can be hard to find a favorite. Here are some of mine:

• In a speech to NFL rookies last summer, he advised players to steer clear of trouble off the field, explaining “Nothing good ever happens after midnight!”

• My all-time favorite is “When I say it’s Easter, start coloring your eggs!” This feels like the right place to admit I don’t always understand what Coach Edwards is trying to say, but this one makes me laugh every time. It also makes me want to run laps and do pushups.

What makes Coach Edwards so appealing is that his straight-talk advice, honest principles and passionate wisdom go well beyond the sports arena and guide us to achieve greatness in our personal and professional lives.

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Words With Friends

Say Good-Bye to Alt-Tab Integration

What if mobile phone developers never went beyond voice capabilities? You couldn’t send text messages or e-mails, post a Tweet or play Words with Friends (insert your favorite Alec Baldwin joke here).

Words With FriendsWhat if your television never upgraded to high definition? I can’t even watch a show that isn’t broadcast in HD (except The Rosie Show on OWN).

What if Ben & Jerry never went beyond vanilla, chocolate and strawberry? Life just wouldn’t be as sweet.

Even worse, what if your application performance management (APM) vendor forced you to type in “Alt-Tab” to view how the hybrid-cloud infrastructure is affecting your end users and critical business services?

This week, CA Technologies ushered in a new era of APM by delivering the industry’s first and only unified application, infrastructure and network performance solution. This next-generation APM solution sets a new standard by delivering a complete, 360-degree view of the end-user experience in a single solution.

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