Q&A with David Roth of AppFirst
VSM: Let’s start by having you tell us a bit about AppFirst.
DR: Sure - at AppFirst, we deliver platform and solutions that integrate business performance and system metrics into a single repository. Our customers are getting cause analysis at just a glance. Our SaaS-based offerings provide critical business and system visibility solutions that allow organizations to closely align business and IT goals and better manage business risks.
VSM: Which businesses are adopting this organizational structure?
DR: We have customers in many different industries and they vary in size and are across more than 70 countries worldwide – what they have in common is the desire to minimize business and systems risks. Some of our customers include Intelligize, Dell Boomi, Lilly Pulitzer, Engine Yard, Yipit, Pingar and Yap.tv to name a few. Our customers are businesses that have recognized that customers are interacting with the organization’s technology like never before, and that means that an application is the business, and vice versa.
VSM: What does that mean to companies offering products for the traditional IT organizations?
DR: It means they are providing tools that just enable a bunch of silos of information and companies have no shared view of how to drive the business forward. IT departments that depend on traditional tools are in constant survival mode – reacting to crisis and putting out fires – and believe me, when they’re reacting to crisis situations and focused on dousing a fire, the business is losing customers.
We want the IT department to be elevated and take its place in the business ranks so that it is planning and proactive and driving the business forward. So much of today’s business is dependent on technology and often your customers are directly interacting with your technology like never before. Integrating business performance and system metrics therefore makes a very strong business case.
VSM: It seems like the idea of aligning IT with Business has been around for quite awhile. What’s different about AppFirst’s solution that will finally make this a successful reality?
DR: Oh absolutely – I can show you books and articles from 10 years ago that talk about how IT is evolving from a back-office support function to becoming an essential component of business strategy. There was a lot of discussion, a lot of theory, a lot of ‘are we investing in technology for the sake of technology?’ types of discussions. The economic downturn blew all of this up and it became a case of mere survival – CEOs told their CIOs “There are no IT goals. IT goals are business goals, period.”
The difference now is that critical business information includes customer experience such as revenue/session, number of logins, time it takes to start up a game, locate and view merchandise, and so much more. AppFirst is delivering the solutions that will elevate IT to the strategic business model of other C-level executives, allowing organizations to make business and IT goals one and the same. In order to support a transition to true IT/Business alignment, technology executives must have access to the business and system metrics that live within applications and that provide critical business visibility through technical operations.
We recently launched three new initiatives to streamline and support business and IT alignment.