When we think about digital experience management from an IT perspective, we traditionally look at metrics derived from monitoring endpoints, systems or applications. In reality, digital experience management is becoming much more about knowing your people. While low-level telemetry might solve a user’s immediate problem, the bigger story around the human experience with technology is largely missing from typical IT metrics on speeds and feeds.
As an industry, we need to think bigger about the human experience, and elevate our approach to digital experience management to focus more on the people we’re serving. Here’s how.
Look at the individual vs. the aggregate
Our industry is used to reporting on data in aggregate, which is helpful, yet misses some of the finer-grained detail about your users – whether they’re employees or customers. The problem with this approach is that overall metrics may look positive or neutral, while there are a subset of users who are having a terrible experience. These people may be so troubled by their experience that they decide to leave the company or buy a competitive product. If we can disaggregate that data, we can pinpoint which users are having problems and be more effective at solving them.
That’s where end-user experience (EUE) monitoring becomes important. This means understanding objectively what interactions our end users are having in their digital experience with the services we’re providing them. Historical device-centric metrics can’t exactly tell if a user is happy, as much as looking at what users are doing and how long it’s taking them. Solutions that do activity-based modeling of data and applications can help the IT team understand the individual’s experience – both on the desktop and in the cloud.
At the end of the day, digital experience management is about getting to a point where every person who is leveraging your digital services really enjoys doing so. Now, let’s get practical on how to do that.
Find the human story through end user experience monitoring
The typical enterprise may be using several different approaches to measure EUE. Here are a few examples.
- Inferred EUE: This relies on device metrics such as CPU load and blue screens of death as a proxy for end-user experience; the presumption being that if you have an application crashing a lot that you’re probably unhappy. While these metrics are extremely valuable for determining root cause, other approaches are more effective for measuring actual EUE.
- Subjective EUE: Sentiment monitoring with surveys and other tools can help us understand how users feel through direct feedback. The challenge is that not everyone responds to surveys, which makes it difficult to gain a comprehensive understanding of the user base. Another issue is that some people may overreact or underreact to issues depending on their state of mind. Surveys also do not deliver real-time feedback.
- Objective EUE: This measures specifically what activities users are performing and how long they’re taking. For example, objective EUE would tell us that at 12:55pm, Mary was trying to complete a certain operation on Salesforce and the application was slow. It’s an excellent indicator that she’s probably unhappy with her experience, but admittedly people have different tolerance levels.
Ultimately, we need a combination of these three metrics to understand what users care about, and how their experience maps to human impact. We also need to gather real-time, actionable user feedback that IT can leverage to solve problems and improve the human experience.
Identify Ways to Gather Real-Time User Insights
There are a few ways to think about real-time user insights. One is through end-to-end activity tracing. This data gives actionable detail about what’s going wrong within the digital experience and why, through rich user-centric telemetry. This insight helps the IT team understand and act on both internal or external factors (e.g. network or other third-party service issues) that are impacting the user experience.
However, to get a deeper understanding of human impact, we need to find ways to collect feedback from people throughout the day. Doing this effectively means making IT feedback loops fit seamlessly into the user’s existing workflow. Since everyone’s workflow is different, this data can be challenging to collect. However, this level of data will provide insight into how individuals feel about particular activities and steps within their specific workflow. Over time, these user insights can be studied to make better decisions based on sentiment in the organization.
Qualitative user feedback, when combined with quantitative data about devices and applications, can help us gain a powerful understanding of the human experience.
Why human experience is important
To sum up, knowledge of human experience will help CIOs and IT leaders make critical decisions about where to put investments and focus their attention. For users, having an outstanding experience will mean valuable employees stay with the business and customers build long-term loyalty with the brand. At the end of the day, IT exists in service of people. It’s time the industry’s benchmarking caught up.
How important do you think the human experience with technology is to your business?
If you’d like to learn more about the human experience, don’t miss the session I presented during Aternity’s DXNow 2020 conference.