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What is Digital Experience Monitoring?

Aternity July 23, 2021

Digital experience monitoring refers to the measurement of customers’ and employees’ experience using an application, service, or device. It helps IT teams ensure that applications, services, or devices are available to users and functioning optimally. Digital experience monitoring solutions monitor user behavior and application performance data, going beyond application performance management to help teams more readily resolve user issues and create an optimized and personalized user experience.

In the modern era, customers interact with businesses and services through various online means, and employees interact with a growing number of applications, devices, and services to perform their job duties and meet customers’ needs. Each of these applications, services, and devices can impact the employee experience and ultimately the customer experience when issues are encountered, and worse, when users struggle to get those issues resolved. Digital experience monitoring enables teams to stay on top of issues and even address them before they’re noticed by users to ensure a seamless, consistent user experience.

Two main tools used to track the digital experience of customers are End User Experience Monitoring and Application Performance Monitoring. Digital experience monitoring is an amalgamation of EUEM and APM.

Definition of Digital Experience Monitoring

Digital experience monitoring tries to analyze the performance of digital technology in catering to the needs of the user. The two major elements of digital experience are the technical performance of the application and the end-user experience, or the experience of the person interacting with the application. Application Performance Monitoring (APM) collects information regarding the technical performance of the application experienced by the user. End User Experience Monitoring (EUEM) assesses what the user does with the application.

Why Use Digital Experience Monitoring?

When APM and EUEM are used separately, potential insights may be lost. An example could be analyzing the digital experience for different users using different devices. For example, say a user takes an abnormally long amount of time between actions on an application compared to other users. This would be obtained from EUEM data. This could indicate that the user is experiencing difficulty in navigating the application. The IT team can then investigate the issue deeper and take steps to improve the user interface.

But APM data could be telling a different story. Analyzing APM could indicate that the device used to access the application is archaic and cannot keep up with the requirements of the modern application. The application may be adjusted to provide a smooth experience on the user’s device, but whether it makes sense to do so depends on the number of users accessing the application from similar devices, as well as the cost of ensuring compatibility.

This example makes it clear that relying on either application data or user experience data alone lacks context. Combining both provides a more accurate picture of the situation. As such, digital experience monitoring helps to avoid costly situations that might arise from faulty conclusions made from partial data.

In addition, digital experience monitoring also helps to streamline interactions between machines. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), a significant portion of digital interactions are between machines. These machines are of different types and in different ecosystems. Digital experience monitoring can be used as a tool to smoothen out the friction that might occur when machines interact with each other.

It can also be used for predicting what users are going to demand next. By analyzing usage patterns and performance metrics, companies can project what might be required in the next few months or even years, which can help companies get ahead of the curve in terms of meeting employee and customer needs.

Challenges of Digital Experience Monitoring

Though there are significant benefits to implementing digital experience monitoring, it’s not an easy task. It takes having other applications in place, commitment from the organization and its stakeholders, and effort to implement a coherent solution that will be beneficial to the business. Here are some of the challenges of digital experience monitoring:

  • Diverging technologies. The devices and platforms users use will change over time. People were not using smartphones a decade ago, yet mobile is now a significant source of traffic for consumer-facing businesses. In addition, users use different operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, etc. Even within each operating system, there are differences between various versions. If your application is a web application, users can use different browsers even within the same operating system. This adds to the complexity of implementing monitoring solutions.
  • Network troubles. Incidents at the server affect the performance of your application, and usage patterns of users also have an effect on the network and servers. It’s a challenging task to balance these variables. Another factor is the increasing prevalence of microservices architecture. This causes delays in communication even within the server architecture of the same application.
  • Siloed teams. Digital experience monitoring aims to bring together different tools that are used for monitoring purposes. Sometimes, it’s difficult to integrate disparate tools to obtain a unified view. It’s also challenging to bring together different teams working on different tools to focus on a singular mission. There are technology challenges and human challenges to overcome for successful implementation.

Digital experience monitoring brings together various monitoring tools to gain a holistic view of the experience from the point of view of the user. This enables companies to gain insights that might have been lost if the monitoring tools were used separately. The information gained from implementing digital experience monitoring can be used to improve the user experience and reduce resource consumption.

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