Rethinking Application Performance in the Digital Business Era

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User Monitoring

Synthetic and real-user monitoring are both necessary to deliver the full picture.

Synthetic monitoring, which monitors website availability and performance by generating synthetic-user traffic from cloud resources in various geographies, can provide a measure of peace of mind. Companies know their websites, mobile sites and applications are available and can understand load times for users across a wide range of geographies. However, synthetic monitoring does not tell the whole story, because it does not show what users are doing – and what they're experiencing – within the site or application, especially in examples of infrequent actions or paths.

Real-user monitoring can supplement this view by helping companies understand their customers' most common landing pages and conversion paths, and what parts of their sites must be prioritized for optimization. However, it can be a mistake to rely on real-user monitoring alone, as it doesn't provide the most comprehensive, accurate picture of web page and application response time. Case in point: If a website or application takes a few extra seconds to load, some real users will likely abandon it, thereby not having their experience "counted." A worse case is that relying on real-user monitoring to detect performance problems means waiting until customers are frustrated to investigate the issue. By uncovering issues early — before their impact becomes damaging — synthetic monitoring can keep them from degrading the customer experience.

So combining synthetic with real-user monitoring is the best way for organizations to truly understand availability and performance, and identify areas for optimizations – both in terms of user geographies and website real estate.

Application Performance Management (APM) is defined as the monitoring and management of the performance – speed, availability, and reliability – of software applications. APM strives to detect and diagnose application problems in order to maintain an expected level of service for users. In recent years, the definition of "user" has evolved beyond internal users (i.e., employees using applications to do their jobs), to increasingly mean external customers using web-based applications.

Today's organizations leverage a variety of services to deliver stronger, more feature-rich and more satisfying digital experiences to customers, often with the aim of driving more conversions. Examples include content delivery networks (CDNs), social media plug-ins and marketing analytics. One nasty by-product of all these services is increased complexity – more elements are "standing" between an organization and its customers than ever before, and each one represents a potential point of failure that can degrade an entire experience.

Modern customers have no patience for websites, mobile sites and applications that are slow or unreliable. According to Nielsen Norman Group, even an extra second or two of delay in load time can create an unpleasant user experience, causing a transaction-oriented site to lose sales. If customers have a poor experience with a brand, they don't care who or what third-party element may be the cause; it is the brand itself that will take the reputation hit. Given increased web complexity, APM isn't as clear-cut as it used to be, and IT teams can no longer assume that just because the servers within their walls are up and running, their customer experiences are void of hiccups. Today's APM strategies need to be much more extensive, with a strong customer experience being the ultimate measure of success. Against this backdrop, Catchpoint Systems has identified six key points organizations should consider as they evolve their APM strategies for the digital business era.


Related Topics : SharePoint, Web Video and Voice Conferencing, UK, MySpace, Intranets

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