What is Digital Experience Monitoring?

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In an age of digital transformation, to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals, businesses are implementing various digital technologies. These initiatives are often customer-centric, with the aim of making customers and their needs more predictable to businesses. Yet, not all these initiatives provide an in-depth understanding of the experience of an end user. Digital experience monitoring (DEM) bridges this gap.

What is Digital Experience Monitoring?

Digital experience monitoring  is a set of tools and practices that assist businesses to get and analyze data from their applications to provide insights into user experience and application performance. Digital experience monitoring helps identify issues that lead to poor, disrupted, or inconsistent user experience like downtime and poor load times while suggesting solutions.

More on the Customer Experience: How Your Customers Help Guide Your Product Messaging

Why Digital Experience Monitoring Matters

Complex business and IT processes 

Running a business today is more complex than ever before. Many concurrent business processes have to converge to achieve customer satisfaction. To provide customers with a  great customer experience, these processes need to work flawlessly, efficiently, and effectively.

The greater the number of processes and services, the greater the risk of fragmentation of backend IT operations as it is unlikely that these operations are overseen by one team. 

It is common to find a team associated with each independent process or service. For instance, a team may be in charge of application development while another is in charge of digital marketing. The existence of these independent moving parts contributes to overall inefficiency.

Furthermore, end users may experience glitches and inconsistency from a service, while the provider is unaware. Though they may not be the business’s fault, such technical issues may lead to poor user experience and poor overall brand perception. Without the ability to analyze the performance of these business and IT processes, carried out by human or machine agents, it is impossible to optimize them for the benefit of the customers.

Systems visibility

Digital transformation has more and more applications and services fully or partially moving to the cloud. Yet, this is at the expense of visibility and control over entire components of an IT infrastructure due to increased layers of software abstraction. For instance, consider the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on how we interact with the world. It is easy to add a device or service to an IoT ecosystem, but this inadvertently makes monitoring every component a greater challenge.

From the point of view of an end user, there is the expectation that your application or service should run perfectly. As such, anything other than perfect service negatively impacts their user experience. Visibility of the entire IT infrastructure helps enterprises understand how well they serve the needs of end users. It also helps to pinpoint areas where performance is poor and address them before they have an impact on the end user and the reputation of the brand in general.

Also read: Observability vs Monitoring: What is the Difference?

Uses of Digital Experience Monitoring

Full-stack monitoring

A well-implemented digital experience monitoring strategy gives an enterprise full-stack oversight of user experience, IT infrastructure, and applications. Through the use of digital experience monitoring an enterprise receives real-time network metrics and a holistic point of view to expose potential blind spots. Digital experience management provides value to IT as network architects can pinpoint bottlenecks by dissecting the whole service delivery chain into individual components.

Proactive diagnostics

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms and networks greatly benefit from proactive diagnostic tools that detect problems such as outages before the end users are aware. Digital experience monitoring tools provide the aforementioned proactivity to SaaS applications, whether from on-premise or cloud locations. They give insights into application health performance and improve the efficiency of root cause analysis. This proactive approach helps IT teams automate incident management.

Cloud application migrations

Traditional application performance management tools prove unreliable in the context of hybrid and complex cloud-native applications. Where these traditional tools fail, modern digital experience monitoring solutions can create application and network performance baselines for each stage of cloud migration. These stages are before, during, and after the cloud migration. When the application performance exceeds a certain benchmark during any of these stages, it depicts successful migration. Digital experience monitoring tools improve visibility through the migration process.

Network upgrades

In this day and age, the mobility of a workforce and the need to access data and workloads in real time are evolving enterprise network and security architectures. The frequency of upgrades of corporate networks has increased. Furthermore, the shift to hybrid cloud architectures has increased the complexity of networks.

An effective digital experience monitoring solution is used to measure network performance and application workloads before, during, and after network changes. This allows IT and network support teams to optimize networks and improve the productivity of a remote workforce.

How DEM Improves IT Processes

In addition to playing a role in IT processes such as cloud migrations and network management, digital experience monitoring improves IT processes in the following ways:

  • Implementing a business-centric approach to IT process management. Digital experience monitoring capabilities provide tools and data to support the effectiveness of business users in achieving their goals. IT processes and business goals are thus much more streamlined. This in turn contributes to making IT in the enterprise more strategic.
  • Centering IT processes around the end-user. In addition to being able to analyze the performance of IT services from the perspective of the user, digital experience monitoring solutions also leverage feedback loops to incrementally better IT and business processes.
  • Supporting IT processes through incorporation of new technologies. With digital experience monitoring tools incorporating artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics among others, the IT processes they support stand to enjoy improved capabilities.

Evolution of Digital Experience Monitoring

In an age dominated by digital transformation, enterprises are more cognizant of the importance of the user experience— whether customer or employee. Traditional approaches to IT would involve the use of in-person troubleshooting to deal with issues of service outage, disruptions, and inconsistencies that lead to negative user experience.

Currently, the shift to the cloud and SaaS, particularly accelerated by increased adoption of remote work as a consequence of an ongoing pandemic, demands a different approach. Digital experience monitoring tools have often focused on revenue-generating applications external to the enterprise. However, to facilitate effective and productive remote work, digital experience monitoring tools have had to evolve to correct the focus of the applications to incorporate the experience of internal enterprise users.

Modern digital experience monitoring tools are therefore evolving to capture both employee and user experience. By capturing both forms of user experience, enterprises are able to analyze both to influence business outcomes. This provides a new way of defining business success through digital experience monitoring.

The ability to measure the impact of digital experience on business success allows IT decision makers to gauge the value of these tools and influence more investment in digital transformation.

Read next: Powering Digital Transformation with Customer Data Platforms

Collins Ayuya
Collins Ayuya
Collins Ayuya is a contributing writer for Enterprise Networking Planet with over seven years of industry and writing experience. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Science, carrying out academic research in Natural Language Processing. He is a startup founder and writes about startups, innovation, new technology, and developing new products. His work also regularly appears in TechRepublic, ServerWatch, Channel Insider, and Section.io. In his downtime, Collins enjoys doing pencil and graphite art and is also a sportsman and gamer.

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