End-user monitoring company hooks up with HP, CA

End-user performance monitoring company Knoa is working with Hewlett-Packard and CA on a project that could let IT managers get a more complete picture of application performance.

Knoa is one of a handful of companies in the end-user monitoring area, although other larger vendors such as IBM, HP and CA are incorporating end-user evaluation features into their back-end application management products. Knoa is now working with HP and CA on such a project, said Lori Wizdo, Knoa's vice president for marketing, in an interview last week.

However, after seeing Wizdo's comments, an HP spokesperson said Tuesday that the company "does not have a relationship with Knoa. In addition, HP and Knoa are not engaged in any joint projects as indicated by the Knoa spokesperson in the article."

According to Wizdo, the collaboration could result in an adapter that latches Knoa's Experience and Performance Manager software onto another product.

Knoa's software takes an in-depth look at what kind of errors users are encountering in products from vendors such as Oracle and SAP and sends them back to IT managers. Many system and application errors never get reported by users since they often don't understand the problem, but it slows their productivity, Wizdo said.

The complexity of SAP and Oracle products can be daunting. Knoa's product takes note of how people actually use software, which in many ways is vastly different from how designers intended. For example, one of Knoa's clients sells health-care equipment. When the company's customer-service agents were booking orders, they would often open up seven to 10 different ordering windows on their SAP system. Then, they'd forget there was an order in one of the windows. The products were reserved but never shipped, making a big impact on the company's business, Wizdo said.

End-user performance monitoring lets companies adjust their systems to speed up how long it takes someone to perform a task. If administrators can fix a problem, it often translates into fewer help-desk calls and ones that have to be escalated to higher-level IT specialists, which cost companies even more money.

Knoa has typically pitched its software to business managers rather than the IT department, Wizdo said. Typically, the money for SAP or Oracle systems comes out of their budget rather than the IT budget, so Knoa sells itself on the basis that it can save a company money it spends on supporting applications.

Knoa is planning to release an incremental upgrade to its Experience and Performance Manager 5.0 around November, probably version 5.5, Wizdo said. That upgrade will include more functions for the reporting dashboard, which can be customized according to the metrics a particular IT manager is interested in.

Knoa's competitors include Serden Technologies, Symphoniq and PremiTech, according to a report from analyst Forrester published in September 2007.

Analyst IDC predicts companies will have growing interest in monitoring how end-users are getting along with applications, as it has a direct impact on how well a business performs.

"There is a direct correlation between Web application response time and lost sales," wrote former IDC analyst Stephen Elliot in a November 2007 research note.

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