By now, decision-makers in most mid-market and enterprise organizations understand the simplicity and utility application programming interfaces (APIs) represent. These tools allow organizations to infuse their apps with capabilities that might otherwise be too costly or complex, making them valued tools in the ongoing fight for customer attention and loyalty.
However, they also understand customers — however tech-savvy they may be — have little patience when it comes to performance issues from the apps they download and use, whatever the cause. They're likely to express their displeasure about poor network signal strength, overtaxed network bandwidth, and other issues that can plague a company's app on the back end by directing it at the company itself.
Internally, this can contribute to a nasty turn of events where the buck ultimately stops at the development team or the decision-maker that authorized the work. At some level, if the app doesn't work, it doesn't work. In an era where poor performance can tarnish a reputation faster than you can say "Please try again," that makes an eye for external points of failure one of the smartest traits a business's stakeholders can cultivate.
How Network Signal Strength and Other Factors Can Ruin Your App Experience
In an APM Digest article describing common app performance issues, Zyrion CEO Vikas Aggarwal offers perhaps the most succinct take on the infrastructural challenges companies may face when building apps.
"Applications are distributed by nature," Aggarwal said, "and unless the underlying infrastructure is responsive on all the different components of the application service, the entire application service is impacted."
Today, the distribution Aggarwal talks about largely comes in the form of APIs and the services they call to. On the back end, an app is likely to perform important functions on that company's network. Ensuring good performance from the backbone that carries a million moving parts, then, is as important as the code running beneath the hood.
Moreover, this concern only grows as companies increase their reliance on APIs. Whether your software is a shell wrapped around an off-the-shelf API solution or you've put several together piecemeal to provide a robust feature set, every inch of distribution is another potential point of failure. Although a company may not have control over every aspect of its performance — for instance, if the voice recognition aspect of your app is hosted on another party's server and there's an outage, all you can do is wait — this basic fact puts an even larger onus on organizations to tend their own gardens as well as they can.
Due to this, network signal strength and related infrastructural factors are of the utmost importance anywhere performance is a factor. When your backbone is reliable enough to perform at a steady clip during peak hours, you aren't just keeping the distributed areas under your control in fighting shape — you're ensuring the company (externally) and the people who authorized and built the app (internally) don't catch flak for something they might not have had a hand in at all.
Network signal strength and related infrastructural factors are of the utmost importance anywhere performance is a factor.
The Unfair Perception of App Performance
Now consider the rather unfair series of circumstances that can befall a company when it lets infrastructure degrade its app's performance. When 1,000 users pop on to place an online order or make a direct connection to a customer contact center and are met with poor performance, many are bound to take their concerns and complaints to a public forum.
Worse, it's not like the company can just shift the blame to a third-party service provider or internal network problems without looking like it's being petty or passing the buck. Your app, your failure, your problem. At least, it's that way in the public's eye.
Externally, continued problems in this vein can result in a loss of customer loyalty and a severe ding in the goodwill an organization scraped and scrapped to establish. Internally, the people concerned about this sort of loss may not possess the most technical expertise, resulting in an innocent development team taking heat. Imagine telling a C-suite member who just wants the app to work that, no, the code was actually rock solid. You see the problem here.
Sometimes, even the strongest code and most wisely implemented selection of APIs isn't enough. And again, while a company might not have full control over performance issues depending on the way the product is engineered, it does have the ultimate say in the data that's carried over and through its own network infrastructure. It's a grim reminder of public opinion's fickle nature and a pointed reminder to get your network signal strength (and related points of infrastructure) in line before it becomes an issue.
Always remember: In software, the best work is the stuff users — and, for that matter, angry C-suite members — may never notice at all.
App performance woes got you down? Contact Vonage Business to learn more about the importance of a reliable network backing your APIs. And by all means, invite your developers to take a closer look at Vonage's robust Nexmo API Platform.