Monitor Applications with Empathy with Bill James

Tech Transforms, sponsored by Dynatrace

Apr 6 2022 • 33 mins

What does it mean for an agency to monitor applications with empathy to achieve successful mission outcomes? Bill James is the President of Federal Business LLC and FedSmarts LLC. He is also a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Development and Operations in the Office of Information and Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He joins Carolyn and Mark to talk about the importance of application monitoring, culture, and empathy when executing a mission. Episode Table of Contents[00:30] Introducing Our Guest, Bill James [09:29] The Onus of the User Experience [20:33] Applications Monitoring Is Integrated into the VA Process Episode Links and Resources (Bill James) (FedSmarts LLC) (Federal Business LLC) (Department of Veterans Affairs) Introducing Our Guest, Bill JamesCarolyn: So today, our guest is (Bill James). He is president of Federal Business LLC. In his previous role as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Development and Operations in the office of Information and Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bill led the VA's largest information technology organization to deliver enterprise-wide technology products and services to veterans. He has been able to carry those skills into his current role as president of Federal Business LLC. And today, we're going to get Bill's perspective on why Application Performance Monitoring or APM is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. And he just recently put out a blog that, I'm going to nerd out here, I really like the blog. It's easy to understand. One of the things he says in it, or some of the perspectives we're going to get from him, is how APM for VA software applications is necessary now and critical for the future. And how it helps the VA, and I'm going to throw in there, like any organization, any agency, avoid or recover from outages, increase VA OIT productivity and observability, offer insights into investments needed for innovation and understand and improve the customer experience of veterans. I love that last bit. The customer experience. Bill: Thank you very much, Carolyn and Mark. I'm really happy to be here today, and you've touched one of my hot buttons. I'm really interested in all of it, how the technology ultimately relates and improves the end-user experience. Specifically and particularly, our veterans. And that's why I loved working at the VA so much. Focus On Veterans’ ExperienceCarolyn: Well, and that topic I feel like is especially timely Mark. Especially with the presidential executive order around user experience. I mean, you're kind on the cutting edge, Bill. I mean, you've been doing this before it was cool. You've been worried about the customer experience. Bill: That's right. I grew up as a programmer, a coder, and as a mathematician. It was always interesting to me how we could build a code and write it. And we thought our job was done when we hit the end card, back in the day when we had punch cards. But that wall, was frankly was a false wall, and what we never thought through, I think clearly enough into what that code actually did for the end-user. So I think with the new executive order and clearly the focus on the veterans' experience in the VA, that wall came crumbling down for me particularly. It was really a great place to work and a great place to exercise this whole idea of customer experience from the IT perspective specifically. Carolyn: We're definitely going to dive more into that. Before we go there, for our listeners that may not be as familiar with application performance monitoring or APM, will you give us a quick definition of what that is? Bill: Yes. It's the heartbeat of your systems, and specifically of software. So, many folks have gone to the doctor or seen these...