Hi, I’m Valerio software engineer and CTO at Inspector a real-time monitoring dashboard for PHP applications.
As product owner I experienced moments of big anxiety when my systems doesn’t respond as expected and marketing campaigns continue to drive a lot of traffic.
Users don’t like bugs, it seems obvious although we often tend to underestimate this sadden reality.
Users don’t spend time to report bugs, they simply stop using our application.
Factors like time to market new functionalities, time to complete the project on schedule and developers working in impractical tight schedules etc. force teams to release the product with few bugs inside.
In this article I talk about some scenarios, some known, others not so easy to predict, whose negative impact on business is often underestimated by developers, but thanks to a real-time monitoring tool like Inspector you will be able to reduce its impact to almost zero.
Solve these problems result in a strong ROI for Inspector customers allowing the development team to influence the business journey based on real data.
Anticipate and avoid upcoming crisis
Any application has its dynamics on how to process data, but some trajectories seems very common in mostly growing applications.
Crisis can appears in many forms, take a look on these scenarios:
Performance worsens exponentially with growth, not linearly
We want users to interact meaningfully with what we build, but when the number of users grows the application needs to run more effort to enable that growth and limit the chaos.
For every new user the volume of data and processes to deal with increases exponentially, not linearly, so it may be difficult to avoid crisis because a system crash can occur suddenly.
- Processes to produce data history and aggregations
- Marketing automation processes
- Processes to keep you and your infrastructure healthy
- Data to stay complaint with regulations
- etc., etc.
One moment everything works well a moment later your application freezes, is too slow, causing a poor experience for the users. It’s not so easy to anticipate these situations due to their sudden nature even if they are well known .
Inspector helps you to make data driven decision about application refactoring giving you necessary information to balance your development effort between “release new functionality” or “remove old bottlenecks”.
Prevent application crashes means avoid loss of users that usually is a really good news for the business.
System complexity increases exponentially with growth, not linearly
In modern applications there’re many ways to make scalability more easy to accomplish. Think of queues or background cron jobs. All of these strategies try to hide complexity from the users’ eyes, but you can take the risk to create a dark side of your application not only for users but also for you.
If something goes wrong during an HTTP request users will be informed immediately that somthing doesn’t work by red bubbles or messages. It’s quite easy to find out relevant errors before release the software in production by automated tests, or using the application yourself.
If a queued Jobs or a scheduled Artisan command fails he will do it silently, without anyone noticing. No user reports, just a jump in the churn rate. 😨 😨
When background processes are involved get an accurate picture of what’s happening in front of an issue can require hours or even days. Inspector helps you to make the difference in terms of resolution time, allowing you to drastically reduce the impact of negative events on users.
Avoid impact on growth
Grow mostly means new users acquisition + adoption rate. These two KPIs can be slow down if the product isn’t running at its best.
In addition to creating inconvenience for customers, application bottlenecks and bugs can have a big impact on one of the most strategic step in a software based business: new users onboarding.
Congratulations — you have a new user!
But your happiness may be short-lived if your application isn’t working as your marketing saying. While convincing people that they need your product is a very expensive game.
If your product succeed in this early stage than you’ll face another challenge before receiving the long-awaited notification from stripe: Adoption.
Engage and turn users into lifetime customers is a long term challenge that require more attention to application stability.
Inspector helps technical leaders to be aware not only on how the application is performing, but also what’s the impact of the exrernal services. Many times it isn’t the application itself that isn’t working but could be a broken external service.
In these cases it is even more difficult to identify the problem and find a solution without real-time data in your hand.
Make your company more efficient
A poor digital experience can affect your customers’ perception that your service is right for them in the long term.
Users who have experienced an application that freezes, crashes, is too slow or involves too-complicated functionalities would not consider using that application in the future, and most of these users will share their negative experiences with other peers if asked, harming your reputation (inside and outside your company).
Here are three immediate benefits you could have from day one by getting your application under control.
Stay one step ahead
A performance monitoring tool visually represents your code execution flow. This gives you the ability to identify bugs at a glance before your users are even aware of them.
Avoid customer reports can drastically reduce churn.
Higher developer productivity
Solving production problems can be very hard and time-consuming.
Delegating performance measurement to an autonomous tool helps developers to spend more time making code improvements instead of on application debugging.
Furthermore, if something goes wrong they will be alerted immediately so you can sleep better at night.
Time is money, software developers are expensive, and finding skilled people is not easy at all. It is important to keep them working on innovating new products that can grow your business instead of wasting hours or days trying to interpret massy log files.
Tools that make your developers more productive are highly valuable.
Better collaboration and employees onboarding
Unified insights help a development team to troubleshoot application errors and exceptions, making subsequent decisions clear and based on real measurements. No opinions, only real numbers.
In non-unified environment, each developer would need to reproduce errors, recapture the logs and reanalyze them in their own toolset. 😴
Decrease reliance on costly tools
Real-Time monitoring is very helpful to identify opportunities for improvements. A SQL query tweak here, some code refactoring there and you might able to lower your hosting costs through some optimizations.
Inspector can help you understand how your application uses external services, databases and much more. A little performance tuning around these dependencies can allow you to scale down your application resources.
In today’s competitive marketplace, manual monitoring for essential business applications no longer cuts it.
Thanks to a real-time monitoring solution, your business’s critical applications will have a continuous eye on them and you’ll be alerted the moment anything goes wrong, before your users even know there’s an issue.
Free developers to use their time more productively, and have the opportunity to cut costs by scaling down on resources.