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Critical Considerations for CIOs for Implementing Digital Experience Monitoring

Critical Considerations for CIOs for Implementing Digital Experience Monitoring

June 9, 2022
 by 
 Rajeev Ranjan Rajeev Ranjan
Rajeev Ranjan

As digital transformation percolates in every sphere of the globe today, businesses are chasing to gain a competitive advantage over their contemporaries in deploying various digital technologies. The spending on digital transformation is forecasted to reach 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022 and 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars by 2025. The initiatives taken by the organizations are primarily customer-centric, aiming to meet their customer demands efficiently and upscale the business. As customer-centric business practices become the focal point, several siloed workflows and communication within enterprises have often hindered achieving the desired experiences for its customers. Furthermore, the initiatives adopted by the organizations often don't provide an in-depth understanding of the end users' experiences. Amidst this conundrum, Digital Experience Monitoring comes into play.

What is digital experience monitoring?

Digital experience monitoring refers to a set of tools that enable companies to capture, monitor, and consequently enhance the user experience across a plethora of platforms and applications in the digital space. As control over user experience has been replaced by software abstraction layers such as the cloud and SaaS components, DEM software has become more and more important for businesses. Poor user experiences often lead to considerable declines in sales for the brands on their websites and the employees' productivity on the web apps. Due to this, the demand for software that can predict when a change is made to a web app will affect the end-user experience.

Alongside, there has also been an increased emphasis on client-side performance testing metrics to evaluate the client-side performance. These mostly help understand the application's response for different clients using multiple devices like mobiles, desktops, and servers. 

What does the data look like in the DEM space?

The critical data types monitored by DEM software are generally real-user data and synthetic data. Such data types need to be monitored for every endpoint, including mobile and desktop devices. Further, real user data must be obtained organically by a browser plugin or a tag, while synthetics must be collected by various user agents representing real user endpoint devices. The synthetic agents can also leverage automated scripts for mimicking a real user's action to maintain a process or a workflow within the respective website or web app.

The challenges

Digital experience monitoring aims to solve the long-prevailing problem of not being able to be everywhere at once. the biggest challenges faced by DEM software are:

Divergent tech:

Today, the vast array of user technology is a logistical nightmare for DevOps. Apart from the division of iOS versus Android, there are several other operating systems, updates, devices, and many more platforms. Additionally, today there exists a wide range of hardware limitations and inconsistencies in user behavior across multiple platforms, for example, using a web app versus a mobile app and different connection types like cellular data and WiFi.

Division of responsibilities:

Not only do the users' online activities or digital activities bring a potential risk, but issues lurk on the servers as well. As microservices become essential in terms of project architecture, it is much easier to develop a link in the communication pipeline among your own teams. Besides, it can be challenging to track down when the problem arises from within. Observing your digital services as a unified tool is also tedious when the responsibilities are divided.

Also check: Reasons to Consider A Digital Experience Monitoring Strategy for Your Enterprise

What can one measure with digital experience monitoring?

When discussing DEM, understanding Application Performance Management (APM) and End-user Experience Monitoring is a quintessence. While APM measures an application's performance and EUEM observes user experience within an application, DEM seamlessly combines the best of both these realms to bridge the gap between IT initiatives and the direct consequences on the users' digital experiences. Therefore, business outcomes become more manageable and visible as the client-side interactions can be cross-examined efficiently and accurately with server-side operations.

DEM can effectively help measure the following:

  • The overall service desk approach
  • The consistency of service quality across all the service desk platforms and channels
  • Professionalism of communication
  • Satisfaction with response time
  • Customer satisfaction with equipment

Besides the technologies that DEM solutions leverage like Real User Monitoring, Synthetic Transaction Monitoring, network visibility, and many more, the user's journey becomes increasingly cohesive. And such a bird's-eye view enables businesses to drive customer behavior, optimize every online component, and enhance web security based on real and simulated metrics.

Is it important for organizations to look beyond APM?

Critically considering digitalization today, organizations must attempt to shift from APM to DEM tools as a part of their efforts to enhance IT efficiency and employee engagement. However, for organizations to consider moving to DEM, they need to understand not only why it is required but also the key differences that exist between the two platforms.

Following are some of the primary differences between APM and DEM tools:

  • DEM primarily focuses on performance from the user's vantage point, while APM focuses on monitoring performance from the viewpoint of technology. Both of these play a crucial role; however, only DEM is built from the ground up to monitor and improve the way people experience the technology they're using.
  • While DEM is a broader discipline covering devices, applications, networks, and other resources, APM monitors the application performance alone.
  • While DEM takes an endpoint-centric approach and monitors all the resources the employees interact with, APM requires proper setup and tuning per application and is therefore deployed only for a limited and small number of organizations' crucial applications.

How do the DEM solutions work?

Digital experience products and solutions deploy multiple approaches for collecting information from SaaS applications, like installing web browser extensions, tracking JavaScript, installing analysis applications, and loading an analysis library into the endpoint's operating system. The browser mechanisms offer good visibility into applications that run over VPNs, while the endpoint analysis functions can detect endpoint operation issues like the CPU, memory, and network. Active testing provides a way to monitor connectivity on an ongoing basis and not only when the user is interacting with an application. 

The DEM solutions often extend APM by including the outside-in perspective for ensuring that apps and services are available, functional, and performant across all the channels of the digital customer experience in real-time. The respective monitoring tools fuse application performance data, synthetic monitoring, real-user behavior, and more profound experience insights, such as session replays, to pinpoint digital experience issues and understand the exact impact on the business KPIs.

Also read: Critical KPIs that affect user experience in the mobile games

A DEM architecture generally functions in three layers:

  • Data ingestion methods— data is collected from multiple devices and endpoints, JavaScript-injected web pages, network sniffers, simulated user interactions, and APIs.
  • Nonrelational database management system—The captured data is stored for analysis and modeling.
  • Machine learning components—Issues are uncovered, and business decisions are formulated by utilizing predictive analysis, trend analysis, pattern matching, and data visualizations
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The cruciality of DEM across industries

With significant focus on delivering the right experience for the end users, the adoption of DEM solutions have proven to benefit multiple industrial sectors in different ways. CIOs across industries are focusing on digital experience monitoring solutions to streamline the business workflows and meet the business goals effectively.

With a significant focus on delivering the right experience for the end-users, the adoption of DEM solutions has proven to benefit multiple industrial sectors in different ways. CIOs across industries are focusing on digital experience monitoring solutions to streamline business workflows and effectively meet business goals.

DEM in the financial sector at a glance

Within the banking and financial realm, the changing and ever-increasing customer demands for digital banking urge organizations to render flawless digital user experience and performance. For an intermediate number of users across multiple secure channels, at any time, the digital experience is expected to meet the customer’s expectations. Websites must have fast page load and transaction times, while mobile apps must be intuitive, secure, fast, and stable. Additionally, in-branch applications and systems cannot afford to leave their customers waiting.

Today, there is an urgent need to move beyond the traditional APM and leverage advanced data analytics to proactively identify issues and prevent risks and identify opportunities for business growth and enhanced customer satisfaction. This is driving banking leaders at the forefront of advanced digital transformations to embrace the practices of digital experience monitoring.

How can DEM drive financial services?

  • DEM significantly assists with proactive performance monitoring
  • Advanced synthetic tests help simulate comprehensive user transactions and monitor performance and availability to ensure real customer satisfaction and retention
  • Proactive monitoring of business-critical transactions allows capturing performance data, which, combined with real-user monitoring data, can offer vital customer journey data and digital experience insights and thereby help organizations to better serve the target clients
  • It provides customer journey analytics that captures end-to-end performance data, enabling banks to ask more effective questions based on behavioral insights for improving customer experience. Complete visibility allows for resolving issues more quickly and enhances the end-user experience. 

HeadSpin has turned out to be a trusted platform for Citi Ventures, one of the innovation drivers in the financial services realm. This organization faced two significant challenges:.

  • Functional testing of two Citi mobile apps
  • Regulatory and compliance testing

How can HeadSpin help you?

HeadSpin's experience monitoring capabilities have assisted the Citi Ventures team in quickly accessing test results through the efficient Grafana dashboards on the HeadSpin platform. With HeadSpin, Citi ventures could complete almost 24,000 tests on mobile devices and desktop browsers and further help the team save several hours of internal infrastructure management and manual testing while launching newer features and creating superior quality experiences in confidence. 

The intuitive Grafana dashboards have also been deployed in financial organizations like Axis Bank and ADIB, offering crucial insights into different functions and performance metrics.

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Monitoring Dashboard

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DEM in the telecom industry

With millions of applications in use today, like Netflix, Youtube, Instagram, and so many more, customers often blame their operators for any app buffer, stall, or delayed loading. Despite providing sufficient bandwidth and the required speeds and latency, efficient compliant resolving, operators end up pondering over several applications and content issues regularly. Operators are identifying the chances of customer experiences deteriorating due to a few broken links in the global Internet backbone, some malfunctioning virtual machines in the third party Cloud, or code errors in SaaS applications, which are beyond the operators’ control. Furthermore, operators’ own employees access a multitude of SaaS and cloud applications not only from their branch offices but also from dispersed remote locations. In these cases, they often experience these apps, and the ramifications of the experiences on operators’ processes and service delivery are invisible on the IT monitoring radars deployed by the operators. This is where CIOs and other executives see DEM come into play for telecom operators.

Learn how HeadSpin works with Telcos and large organizations to monitor and improve 5G user experience

How can DEM drive telco companies’ services? 

 DEM can seamlessly enable: 

  • Customers to know when their preferred apps face congestion on a main national link
  • Pre-empting customers that a trending mobile banking application is temporarily down or not accessible
  • Alerting employees of the invoice processing portal is facing a web server error, leading to increased downtime
  • Delivering many other real-time insights with Synthetic User Monitoring (STM) and Real-User Monitoring, along with several Points of Presence (PoPs) across the globe

The Grafana dashboards on HeadSpin’s platform have also been deployed for telco services, providing vivid representations of different metrics including network strength, speedtest latency, speedtest upload time, speedtest jitter, battery temperature, and many more.

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Speed test graphs

Network signal & tower details

DEM for a diverse range of industries

DEM solutions can be of great assistance in updating and optimizing the digital platform content and enabling smooth communication, thereby improving real-life experiences. These solutions render significant benefits for every stakeholder involved by improving the performance of an organization through better user experience and client-side performance monitoring.

End-user experience monitoring

End-users and customers often lack access to knowledge of the company's backend issues. Therefore, they expect to achieve the best experience while interacting with the different elements of the UI. Continuously monitoring digital experience across multiple delivery channels in several locations might improve the KPIs and overall customer experience.

Generation of crucial data

DEM solutions help generate extensive metrics that assist in calculating end-to-end network, device, and app KPIs. This includes machine-to-machine, streaming, and precisely defined user journey interactions, custom-tailored for your application. Further, analytics and insights driven by AI that are developed here can help translate to business success. 

Improved IT visibility

The metrics generated by DEM solutions assist in understanding and evaluating employee experiences in-depth. This again helps determine how the overall productivity can be increased by improving the digital infrastructure by executing things like VDI right-sizing, VDI planning and migration, hardware refreshes, automated fixes, software rationalization, and need-based procurement.

Technical innovation and growth

A better DEM delivers a competitive advantage for the organizations employing them. Technological innovation and new digital strategies drive successful business outcomes. 

Improving employee productivity

When employees deal with fewer technical roadblocks, they perform much better and feel happier. When the issues are predicted and addressed prior to converting into full-fledged problems, the digital experience for employees becomes better. Further, more content employees make the employers more satisfied, leading to good everyday productivity, retention, and recruitment. 

Unhindered transactions

While monitoring any website's uptime is vital, several other elements on a website can often malfunction and impact the customer experience. Transaction monitoring is a crucial synthetic monitoring technique that helps businesses ensure that each element involved in supporting critical website workflows remain functional. This capability enables you to simulate a series of workflows on a website to check processing times and failures.

Why should CIOs consider DEM today?

Running a business is an extremely complex affair today. There are several concurrent business processes that need to converge to deliver the desired customer satisfaction. Providing customers with incredible customer experience required these processes to function flawlessly and efficiently. The more the number of processes and services, the greater the risk of fragmentation of the backend IT operations, as these are unlikely to be monitored by one team. Additionally, users might experience glitches and inconsistencies from services while the providers are unaware, which leads to poor user experience. This is where top organizations realize the importance of analyzing the performance of these IT and business processes to be able to optimize those for the benefit of the customers.

Besides, DEM solutions are a significant help to multiple tasks, which urges CIOs to consider these solutions today.

Full-stack monitoring— A well-implemented digital experience monitoring strategy provides an enterprise with full-stack oversight of user experience, IT infrastructure, and apps. With DEM, an enterprise obtains real-time network metrics and a comprehensive point of view to expose those potential blind spots. DEM offers value to IT as network architects can easily pinpoint bottlenecks by dissecting the entire service delivery chain into individual components. 

Proactive diagnostics— SaaS platforms and networks significantly benefit from proactive diagnostic tools, which detect problems like outages before the end users are aware. DEM tools extend the aforementioned proactivity to SaaS applications, whether from on-premise or cloud locations. These provide insights into application health performances and enhance the efficiency of root cause analysis. Such a proactive approach assists IT teams in automating incident management.

Cloud application migrations— Conventional APM tools often prove unreliable for hybrid and complex cloud-native applications. In cases where such traditional solutions fail, contemporary solutions like DEM create an application and network performance baselines for every stage of cloud migration, i.e., before, during, and after the cloud migration. DEM tools also improve visibility through the migration processes.

Tools leveraged in DEM

In most scenarios, DEM tools are utilized to capture problems automatically. These generate insights on page-loading issues, network requests, and the impact of third-party APIs and content on users.

The DEM tools increase the UX of the enterprise cloud, mobile apps, and SaaS platforms. 

User experience monitoring provides continuous application baselining, quick performance notifications, synthetic transaction monitoring (STM), accurate user monitoring, and business transaction tracking.

Conclusion

Dominated by digital transformation, organizations are more cognizant of the user experience, including customers as well as employees. The conventional approaches to IT, which involve in-person troubleshooting to resolve service outages, disruptions, and inconsistencies, have gradually been replaced with these DEM tools with the shift to the cloud and SaaS. The DEM tools have evolved with the remote working styles to efficiently accommodate this new mode of working and rectify the focus of the applications for incorporating the experience of internal enterprise users. In a nutshell, these tools have significantly simplified the way enterprises monitor the interactions between target audiences and service websites. 

FAQs

Q: What is autonomous digital experience management (ADEM)?

ADEM provides SASE-native visibility into a digital experience and segment-wise insights across the entire service delivery path.

ADEM provides the following:

  • Segment-wise insights
  • Endpoint, synthetic, and real user traffic visibility
  • SASE-native DEM

Q: What are some primary elements of digital experience?

DX chiefly consists of the following elements:

  • Passive user monitoring (RUM and APM) for monitoring network transactions
  • Active testing for verifying operation outside of the times when the users are not active
  • Measuring and monitoring user endpoint performance

Q: What are some of the common client-side performance testing metrics?

Following are a few KPI metrics:

  • Time To First Byte (TTFB)- This accounts for the total duration starting from the user making an HTTP request till the first byte of the page received by the client's browser and measures the web server's responsiveness
  • Time to Interact- This is the time consumed by the website to become completely interactive
  • Time to Render- This refers to the amount of time taken by a web page to load or reload
  • Speed index- It helps measure how quickly the content is displayed during page load

Q: What is the primary difference between logging and monitoring?

Monitoring assists in managing application performance, while logging helps manage data inside logs. This ensures that during troubleshooting or optimizing your application, you possess all the tools and data required to have a holistic understanding of your infrastructure and app's availability and performance.

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Critical Considerations for CIOs for Implementing Digital Experience Monitoring

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