Why end-user experience monitoring is critical?

Throughout my career, I’ve been asked several times by members of the ITOps teams, “Why end-user experience monitoring is critical”. So, I figured it’s about time I summarized the top reasons why you as an ITOps person need to look beyond your typical IT sources – logs, metrics, and traces – which are these days known as observability data.

Reason #1: Measure what matters from the right point of view

With our IT systems, we’re crafting digital experiences for our customers as they use the digital touchpoints we offer them, may it be a mobile app, web application, Amazon Alexa skill, ATM, a Check-in Kiosk at the airport, or a TV app. During the COVID-19 pandemic, digital experience has been the key to success, as the long-anticipated consumer behavior has now become a reality within weeks.

In this omni-channel world, users expect great experiences. Looking at observability data to figure out what the user’s digital experience is won’t help you. The IT team of one of our airline customers has introduced very interesting thinking about their customers. What if the CEO’s wife can’t check in for her flight? How would you go about resolving that?

As you’ll probably be facing an environment like in the image below, the different digital touchpoints are connected to different services, and on top, you have potentially fragmented monitoring data as each of the teams has picked their own siloed solution. If you take a customer-focused monitoring approach, you can figure out this customer’s journey, the digital touchpoints, and how to solve their issues.

Example of an end user experience

Reason #2 Collaboration with non-IT teams

The digital transformation companies around the world are undergoing have two mantras, besides digital experience, these are “Breaking down silos” and “Culture change”. But what has that got to do with the end-user experience monitoring? Have you as an ITOps person ever had meetings with executives or peers from other departments who have no technical background? Have you brought up a huge customer-impacting issue that you uncovered however all you had was a screen capture like below? The feedback you got was unexpected – “I don’t know what this means”, “Why aren’t we fixing the other two on top of the list first?” and other similar questions but you probably didn’t get the high priority statement that frees up the resources you need to fix the issue.

Diagnosing end user experience issues

How can a digital experience monitoring (DEM) solution help in this situation, and help bridge the gap? Non-technical people tend to talk from/about the customer perspective. Think about having this connection of the error to real-user journeys. You can then go to the meeting with information like below and eliminate any guesswork and siloed solutions.

Analyzing an end user experience problem

Six customer-facing digital channels/applications are impacted, and it’s critical to view these to see exactly how it impacts users. To put this into perspective, this is what it looks like from a customer’s point of view:

Replaying user experience with Session Replay

The meeting probably is shorter and gets you quicker to what you need. Here are some other examples of collaboration with business stakeholders:

Reason #3: Third-party impact on the end-user

Integrating third parties like ChatBots, Ad-Providers, Content Delivery Network (CDN), Web Analytics tools, and many more, into the end-point application is very common. All these measures are taken to improve the End-User Experience. But these third-party services can also fail. The question is how do you get visibility? Looking at data center-based monitoring data will not give you the answer and will lead to visibility gaps. Those visibility gaps can turn into unpleasant meetings with digital experience stakeholders where you potentially can’t deliver an answer or worst case you hear about the issue there for the first time. With a good End User Experience Monitoring strategy, you can close this gap, get your third-party providers under control, and clearly show the impact like in the screenshot below.

Chart of errors by origin and top errors for end users

If you want to know more about third-party API-, third-party integration- or CDN monitoring here are some examples you must take a look at:

Reason #4: Employee experience has an impact on the bottom line

With all the restrictions brought in, as a result of COVID-19, the work-from-home requirement is challenging for IT teams. Questions that come up, and now much more often than in pre-Corona times, include are people working from home as effectively as in the office? Are work patterns changing? How reliable do IT systems work via the home internet connection? To get the answer to questions like these again Digital Experience Monitoring is providing you with the answers.

Have a read on “Is working from home affecting productivity” to answer all those questions.

Reason #5: Increase the company’s bottom line

I want to specifically call out a story from Mitchells & Butlers, the UK’s largest pub and restaurant chain. The company leveraged real user monitoring (RUM) with session replay specifically to better collaborate and create a better customer experience, resulting in increased visibility into real user experience, and has increased the average order size in their pubs by a fifth. Have a listen to this webinar with Mark Forrester, Digital Application support Manager at Mitchells & Butlers to learn more.

If you’re interested in more real-world stories, use cases, and reasons why monitoring end-user experience makes sense take a look at our Dynatrace blog Digital Transformation and Digital Experience page.

If you should have another reason why Digital Experience matters, and you can’t find it on our blog, please feel free to ping me.