"As mobile becomes mission and revenue critical for enterprises," said Andrew Levy, CEO, Crittercism, "mobile teams will need to provide more analytics that provide visibility into the revenue impact of app performance." The main trend that Levy sees in mobile application performance management (mAPM) is the integration of business and operational metrics to better provide analytics.
In an email Q&A with TechRepublic, he said he also expects more support for Internet of Things (IoT) as the number of networked devices grows, and the extension of mAPM into other use cases, such as Mobile Device Management (MDM)/Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), security management, dashboarding, and customer support solutions.
The startup lays claim to the industry's first mAPM solution, which "monitors every aspect of mobile app performance, allowing Developers, IT Operations and Product Managers to deliver high performing, highly reliable, highly resourceful mobile apps."
In addition to mAPM trends, Levy discussed founding Crittercism, how its solution is designed for mobile business and is differentiated from competitors' offerings, the firm's support for IoT initiatives, and the difference between mAPM and mobile analytics.
TechRepublic: Looking ahead several years, what do you believe are the main trends in enterprise mAPM?
Andrew Levy: We see three major trends in mAPM in the next few years:
- Integrating business metrics with operational metrics to provide advanced intelligence and analytics. As mobile becomes mission and revenue critical for enterprises, mobile teams will need to provide more analytics that provide visibility into the revenue impact of app performance.
- Support for new platforms like IoT. As the number of IoT devices grow, the monitoring of interactivity and connections between these devices will become a focus.
- Integration of mAPM to other mobile use cases — especially for enterprise apps management. This includes integration to MDM/ EMM, security management, dashboarding, and customer support solutions.
TechRepublic: Along with cofounders Robert Kwok and Jeeyun Kim, what did you set out to accomplish with Crittercism?
Andrew Levy: We founded Crittercism out of necessity — after building mobile apps we found it very difficult to get a handle on our end user's experience. This solves a real problem and improves the ecosystem. We focused our efforts on building the best mobile technology out there to help our clients solve experience and performance issues, drive revenue, and make their end-users successful.
TechRepublic: As an entrepreneur what is the biggest thing you learned that you didn't expect since cofounding Crittercism in 2011?
Andrew Levy: We always knew the mobile industry would be big and have a huge impact, but the use cases we see emerging today are fantastic. Mobile apps are now used inside of warehouses to track inventory, on aircraft carriers by the military, by cable repair technicians, to consumers buying gas with Apple Pay.
TechRepublic: How is the Crittercism solution optimized for mobile business?
Andrew Levy: Crittercism has been focused on mobile for over four years. This focus means we optimize our solution to address issues unique to mobile. For example:
- Complexity — Mobile is much more complex than web: there are 100Ms of permutations across devices, OSes, carriers, locations. Crittercism is designed to help companies deal with this complexity.
- Mobile scale — Apps can drive millions of downloads overnight. Crittercism's solution is designed to easily accommodate this scale.
- Mobile and web apps are very different — For example mobile apps can be backgrounded, have network connectivity change, and must have a good citizen on the phone to preserve battery. Crittercism is optimized to deal with, monitor, and accelerate the mobile business associated with each of these.
TechRepublic: What differentiates Crittercism from not only legacy technology but from competing startups in your space?
Andrew Levy: Crittercism has the following:
- the largest mobile scale with over 1B monthly active users and over 30,000 mobile apps under management;
- the broadest platform support including iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, HTML 5, NDK, Unity, and more;
- the industry's first mobile transaction management that allows customers to connect technical metrics like crash rates or latencies to business metrics like revenue;
- a focus on mobile that has allowed us to gather the product and market mobile momentum mentioned above and continued ability to innovate around the mobile ecosystem.
TechRepublic: Could you provide an example of one of the IoT industry initiatives that Crittercism is supporting?
Andrew Levy: Crittercism is used by a number of companies in the IoT space. One example is Lutron, a leader in the lighting control industry, where we are used to help deliver a great user experience for their smart home products. Lutron has a smartphone app that acts as the hub to a constellation of home devices, including lighting, electric blinds, and security systems. Another example is Peloton, which uses us to monitor the experience for cyclists while streaming spin classes to their IoT exercise bikes.
TechRepublic: Here's a just-plain-curious question — what's the difference between mAPM and mobile analytics?
Andrew Levy: That's a good question, one we hear often enough we actually wrote a white paper explaining the differences and need for both. But in a nutshell mobile analytics products like Flurry or Localytics, focus more metrics for marketing funnels and user engagement. mAPM on the other hand focuses on technical app performance like crashes or slow API calls that ultimately could impact your bottom line. So in a sense, mobile analytics provides the "how" (how are my customers engaging) and mAPM provides explains the "why" (the experience/performance is excellent). The buyers for these solutions are also different: analytics solutions are typically purchased by marketing personas, while mAPM solutions are purchased by Dev/Ops personas.
TechRepublic: What is your single biggest strength — be it culture, talent, or technology — as a company?
Andrew Levy: It's hard to pin one down — we're a bit quirky and call each other "critters." We have an extremely important piece of software that operates at a scale rarely seen (this year we'll process half a trillion application launches), all built on top of cutting edge cloud software. When you add this all up, you get a fun and unique place to build something special.
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Brian Taylor is a contributing writer for TechRepublic. He covers the tech trends, solutions, risks, and research that IT leaders need to know about, from startups to the enterprise. Technology is creating a new world, and he loves to report on it.