Digital Experience Monitoring: Closing the Performance Visibility Gap
August 28, 2017

Leon Adato
SolarWinds

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According to a recent Gartner report, 58 percent of CEOs identified growth as their number one business priority for 2017, with product improvement and technological advancements following close behind. To facilitate the growth necessary to succeed in the ever-changing tech industry, companies must adopt an attitude of digital transformation, which is imperative to growth and overall business success. But are today's businesses sufficiently prepared to deliver a strong, quality digital experience to customers?
 
Maybe not. A new survey of nearly 250 IT professionals found that when it comes to Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) — a strategy that can significantly improve visibility into and performance of systems affecting digital experiences, and quell issues that negatively affect customer experience and businesses overall — a majority of businesses are behind the curve.
 
SolarWinds, in conjunction with Penton Research, conducted a survey of nearly 250 IT professionals and found that even with its proven benefits, a lack of understanding and budget constraints prevent most companies from adopting DEM tools — even those that reported a lack of visibility into customer experience and the need for monitoring software.

According to Christoph Pfister at SolarWinds, the survey results demonstrate just how large an impact DEM can have on an organization — it has driven about 15 percent revenue increase for organizations that reported a revenue increase — but only 8 percent are currently leveraging DEM. This means that most organizations are unfortunately not experiencing the benefits of DEM.
 
Featuring insights from public sector IT practitioners, managers, and directors, here's a comprehensive overview of the report's key findings:
 
Companies are experiencing digital issues that negatively affect their businesses – they report a lack of visibility into customer experience and a need to monitor, yet they are slow to adopt monitoring tools:

■ 60 percent of respondents have experienced negative customer-impacting digital experience issues or downtime within the past year.

■ The most commonly experienced digital issues at respondent companies are slow performance (51 percent), end users being the first to discover issues (44 percent), and difficulty troubleshooting customer experience issues (41 percent), followed by website and/or app downtime (34 percent).

■ Respondents report using a variety of tactics to gain a better understanding of the customer's digital experience, but less than half (44 percent) said they invest in monitoring tools.  

The slow adoption of DEM relates to both a lack of understanding of the benefits, and low budgets:

■ Respondents reported the top three DEM challenges are: Budget constraints (50 percent); integration with existing systems (37 percent); lack of expertise with/understanding DEM (34 percent).  

■ Only 8 percent of respondents say their companies are currently leveraging DEM; slightly less than half (49 percent) report they are at least "somewhat familiar" with DEM.

■ Only one in five respondents (22 percent) report their companies are actively involved in DEM.

■ The majority of respondents feel their companies' approach to DEM is somewhat lacking, with 84 percent of North American respondents characterizing it as "sufficient" at best.
 
However, Digital Experience Monitoring brings proven benefits to both the IT department and business alike:

■ For the IT/IT operations departments primarily responsible for DEM (65 percent): Nearly three in five respondents (59 percent) report fewer support tickets, 44 percent report improved brand image and 33 percent report having a better ability to retain customers.

■ In terms of corporate benefits, the top three include less time spent manually troubleshooting reported performance problems (70 percent), less budget and resources dedicated to firefighting (43 percent) and more time to focus on innovation (43 percent).
 
Business leaders seeking to improve visibility into and performance of systems affecting digital experience should focus on technology:

■ Of the top five digital experience priorities for 2017, technology priorities are dominant: Analytics and optimization (66 percent); Unifying the customer experience (53 percent); Reaching out to customers (48 percent); Digital experience monitoring (44 percent); Integrate with application monitoring tools (42 percent).

■ One of the top three drivers driving corporate focus on DEM is the need to remain competitive through technology innovation that improves UX (45 percent of respondents).
 
While the survey results found that many IT professionals are hesitant to adopt DEM due to budget constraints, potential issues with integration into existing systems, and lack of expertise with/understanding of DEM, the results also revealed the importance of implementing monitoring tools.

DEM enables companies to ensure high quality of service for end users by providing insight into the customer experience, while also enabling companies leveraging a DEM tool to remain competitive in an ever-changing industry.

For today's IT professionals uptime and overall performance are primary success factors, and the survey revealed that DEM strategies and tools are of paramount importance to empowering organizations to better serve customers throughout the digital transformation journey.

Leon Adato is a Head Geek at SolarWinds
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