How Does Shark Tank Reveal The Truth About Application Performance Management?


Shark-tank-logo-300x168I’m a big fan of the ABC television show “Shark Tank” and what it reveals about human nature, business, and in this quirky instance, application performance management.

The main premise of Shark Tank is the following: incredibly ambitious and bright entrepreneurs pitch their business proposals to several “sharks,” aka highly successful, multi-million dollar business executives such as Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Barbara Corcoran. Dragons Den is a similar long running show in my homeland with Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones among others. Both shows have been critically acclaimed for their introspective examination of the state of business and painfully snarky dissections of the contestant’s business plans.

Many of the contestants prepare to dazzle the sharks by claiming their ideas as “first-evers” in their respective industries. Unfortunately for them, this is often not the case. The sharks usually provide strong evidence, even from a simple Google search, that these ideas are not as original as the contestants would have hoped. The reactions can be embarrassing, and usually result in lots of tears, or if we are very lucky a stunned silence where the contestant suddenly has a loss for words.

Something similar is happening in the application performance management market.

I’ve seen in the news these past few days, several announcements from vendors claiming the “first ever” APM features. For instance, New Relic just announced: “With Monitoring of Native Mobile Apps, New Relic Delivers Another Industry First.” However, this not may entirely be the case as Correlsense formally announced support for native mobile applications on March 5th.

Other APM vendors made similar “first ever” claims in recent press releases:

The main point here is that there is great market confusion in our space.  Most prominently this confusion is due to similar messaging strategies for all vendors, even if their technologies solve very different problems.

In a highly competitive market, it is crucial to market your unique product capabilities. However, providing misleading information or claiming first place when it’s not necessarily true does not accomplish this. In our case, providing the same messaging points that exist across the industry will not help consumers understand the variety of solutions that actually exist.

The real truth about application performance monitoring is there are different solutions for different technical problems. A one size fits all approach is not conducive to today’s IT environments. In the world of APM, when vendors make misleading claims about product capabilities there are no “sharks” to hold them accountable on national television. This will continue to cause problems for both consumers and vendors, until a level of trust can be built. This is true for all performance management vendors, including Correlsense.