Performance Optimization

The best software applications go beyond allowing the users to do their work; they deliver fast, responsive experiences that don't waste the user's time.

Optimize Your Software Performance

In the world of software, the term "performance optimization" is often associated with maximizing an application's speed. While this is undoubtedly true, proper optimization requires a balance of multiple, often conflicting, parameters.

At SitePen, we believe that there is a point at which many software systems, especially user-facing ones, are fast enough. In most cases, an application is fast enough if it is waiting on the user versus the user waiting on it. Anything more is ultimately a waste of resources and not true optimization. Additionally, focusing purely on the application's speed can compromise other performance parameters, such as memory usage and power consumption.

Proper system optimization requires a strong foundational understanding of what the system will be used for. A data analysis application used by a small team of specialists needs to be optimized in a very different way than an eCommerce site with thousands or millions of potential users.

Why Develop with SitePen

The team at SitePen has experience with applications that have a wide variety of performance requirements. As we work with you to document the system's needs, we will identify critical performance constraints such as the number of potential users, the hosting infrastructure's capabilities, and the ideal level of responsiveness that the system should give.

Our engineering team combines these performance constraints with all of the other requirements to synthesize a holistic system architecture that allows the software to be written clearly and efficiently. Internal quality controls are used throughout the design process to ensure that the system will meet your expectations without being burdened by over-engineered elements that can unnecessarily slow down development velocity.

Software Optimization Benefits

Optimized software systems offer a pleasant user experience while minimizing operating costs and maintenance complexity.

Improved Application Performance

Improving application performance is the most common area of system optimization work. Users waiting for a system to process a request cannot add value to the process, which is both inefficient and frustrating. It can be tempting to address these issues by increasing the hosting infrastructure's power, but this often yields suboptimal results and can be very expensive.

Our team approaches the challenge of improving performance before the first line of code is even written. An efficient system design will often lead to systems that never encounter performance issues at all. When a bottleneck does occur, our engineers make extensive use of performance analysis tools to pinpoint the root cause of the degradation and address the underlying cause.

Reduced Operating Costs

The most optimized system is not the fastest one. It is the one that is just fast enough under heavy loading, which minimizing the resources required to run it. Many software development companies focus only on the software that they are responsible for writing. At SitePen, we consider the hosting servers to be just as much a part of the system and, therefore, part of the scope for optimization. We work with our clients to properly provision their servers to strike the ideal balance between application responsiveness and operating costs.

Better Return on Investment (ROI)

Performance optimization has two primary influences on a system's ROI. One the most noticeable effects is on long-term costs. An optimized system is a good steward of the resources that are made available to it. These systems meet their users' expectations for speed and responsiveness while minimizing the processing time, memory, and storage that they require. Less obvious but equally important is the short-term effect that performance optimization has on a project's ROI. Almost any system can be made to go faster or use fewer resources. However, as the system's efficiency increases, it becomes increasingly challenging to find non-trivial gains in these areas. Too much focus on long-term ROI can lead to an excessively over-engineered system whose performance does not justify development costs.

At SitePen, we believe that an application's ideal performance balances the system's responsiveness and resource utilization with the time and effort required to achieve those targets.

Industries We Serve

Among SitePen's greatest strengths is its wide-ranging experience across multiple industries. We have worked with some of the most notable names in numerous markets, with each engagement serving to refine our ability to address each enterprise's individual needs. Among the industries that we have worked within are:

  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Public Safety

Choosing the Right Performance Optimization Team

The right performance optimization team for any project must have two characteristics - it must be skilled enough to achieve the speed and responsiveness that users require and disciplined enough to avoid wasteful over-optimization.

Today's software systems are so complicated that it can be difficult to meet users' expectations for responsiveness. The development team must start by identifying what the users' expectations and needs truly are. It is critical to quantify the speed required to allow users to efficiently move through each workflow and ensure those requirements are met via automated testing.

One of the most challenging things that many software engineers face is defining "good enough." The best engineers are continually pushing themselves and their code to be more efficient. While this is an excellent trait, it can lead to over-engineered solutions whose development time does not justify the performance benefits. A disciplined optimization team is aware of these tendencies and has controls in place to prevent these over-optimizations.

Benefits of Software Optimization Services

Software optimization requires a specialized set of skills, and many companies can benefit from sourcing those skills externally. An external optimization team brings a wealth of experience to the optimization project that has been honed through multiple projects across various industries and project sizes. Additionally, an external team brings a fresh perspective to optimization projects that can significantly improve system responsiveness and operating costs.

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Performance Optimization FAQs

When Should Optimization Be Performed?

Ideally, performance optimization shouldn't be an event that occurs at a specific point in the development process. An application's performance targets should be identified early and influence the project's design, development, and verification phases. However, care must be taken to avoid placing too much focus on optimization early in the process to avoid over-engineering the solution.

Why Should I Optimize My Software?

An unoptimized software system is susceptible to two major faults. First, the users of the system might find it sluggish and unresponsive. Not only does this affect the users' efficiency, but it can also encourage them to seek other solutions that are more responsive, even if they have other flaws. The unoptimized system might also consume excessive computing resources, leading to increased operational costs and decreased ROI. Addressing the system's performance throughout the development process is more likely to provide a responsive user experience without introducing excessive load on its hosting infrastructure.

How Long Does Performance Optimization Take?

When incorporated into the entire development process, performance optimization has a minimal impact on the project's timeline and resource costs. There will be some impact during the testing and validation phases of development, but those effects are generally minor. If optimization is delayed until the end of the project, then a significant amount of time might be required since substantial rework of the application might be necessary to address any discovered defects.
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