Digital Experience Monitoring: What it is and Why it Matters

Digital Experience Monitoring: What it is and Why it Matters

The art of monitoring the influence of an application’s performance on business outcomes is constantly evolving. It used to be directing IT teams to act on insights from an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solution was enough to drive business outcomes. Now we know the user experience has a heavy hand in determining whether a digital platform survives or dies. An APM solution keeps tabs on the performance of application components such as servers, databases, and services. When it comes to monitoring user experience, Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) is the key component organizations need to go a step further and really understand how users (human, machine, or digital) are interacting with their digital platforms.

So what is DEM exactly? 

DEM is a practice within application performance management which focuses on monitoring and optimizing the overall user experience of digital applications and services. A DEM-enabled monitoring solution combines various techniques to gain insights into user behaviors, experience metrics (page load times, transaction responses and error rates), application performance, network performance, and infrastructure performance. This allows organizations to proactively identify and address issues driving user satisfaction, improve the overall user experience, and positively drive business outcomes.

Why DEM Matters 

As a monitoring capability, DEM is what mines and presents critical user patterns and trends to IT teams so they can collaboratively elevate their organization’s digital user experience from good to great. In many organizations, APM data gets splintered and analyzed through the lens of the team looking at it. Where DevOps teams are more likely to look at APM insights to keep tabs on application components and code-level performance, ITOps teams are more likely to pay attention to the data regarding broader infrastructure performance (servers, network devices, and databases). DEM provides unified insights from a variety of sources so both DevOps and ITOps get a unified look at the intertwined influences of user behavior, application performance, network metrics, and infrastructure data. This singular data set, coming directly from the users, gets IT teams out of their silos and at the whiteboard to collaborate on solutions.

Consider one scenario organizations are likely to experience: a surge in CPU spikes on the servers. In the absence of DEM, DevOps and ITOps teams likely have separate insights into different application components and services, which limits their ability to collaboratively troubleshoot the problem. DEM bridges the gap between DevOps and ITOps, fostering a unified and cohesive approach to monitoring and optimizing the digital experience. It facilitates cross-functional collaboration, breaking down barriers that traditionally impede effective troubleshooting. By eliminating silos and promoting shared visibility, organizations can streamline incident response, reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR), and enhance the overall user experience.

Not all DEM-enabled solutions are the same 

Selecting the right APM is about more than the list of capabilities. The first consideration should be how a new DEM-enabled APM solution will compliment any existing monitoring solutions. 

Integration and Compatibility

It is essential to evaluate how well the DEM-enabled APM solution integrates with your existing monitoring ecosystem. Consider whether it can seamlessly integrate with other monitoring tools and systems you rely on, such as log management, network monitoring, or cloud monitoring platforms. Compatibility between the DEM-enabled APM solution and your existing infrastructure ensures smooth data aggregation, correlation, and analysis.

Scalability and Flexibility

Consider whether the DEM-enabled APM solution can scale as your digital infrastructure grows and evolves. It should be able to handle increasing data volumes, monitor diverse applications and services, and adapt to changing technology stacks. Additionally, assess the flexibility of the solution in terms of customization and configuration to align with your specific monitoring requirements.

Context and Correlation

An APM solution should provide DevOps and ITOps with context and correlation within observability platforms to manage application performance and gain digital experience insight, across hybrid and multi-cloud environments to allow for cross-team collaboration. By proactively sharing those insights into the digital experience, both teams can own the solutions which enhance user satisfaction, increase productivity, and drive better business outcomes.

Why DEM Matters to Users

Users don’t know which digital offerings are using DEM to improve their experiences.

But they will ditch the ones that don’t.

Consider users in the e-commerce and digital retail space. DEM lets those platforms and websites monitor website performance, transaction times, and user interactions. If any of those experiences are suffering from downtime, disrupted transactions, or delayed user interactions, IT teams can use DEM analysis to identify the cause. They can then implement a solution, and prevent a spike in cart abandonment rates while improving conversion rates and customer satisfaction ratings. 

Let’s explore a second use case for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers. DEM allows them to track user interactions, application response times, and errors to identify opportunities to enhance the customer experience and retain users (who hopefully tell their networks about the positive experience).

In both scenarios, integrating a DEM-enabled application monitoring solution would speed up the process of pinpointing the users’ pain point, diagnosing the root cause, and enabling IT teams to collaboratively solve the problem faster than they could without DEM insights.

Benefits of DEM

DEM-driven insights provide a variety of benefits to organizations looking for data-based strategies to help optimize their resources (both human and financial).

Enhanced User Satisfaction

Organizations which monitor user experience metrics, such as page load times, transaction response times, and user interactions, can use this information to prioritize addressing the issues which have the most sway in the user satisfaction. Proactively identifying and fixing those high-impact problems will result in higher engagement rates and increased customer loyalty.

Improved Performance Optimization 

The holistic presentation of the end-to-end experience (application, network, and infrastructure performance) enables organizations to identify performance bottlenecks, diagnose issues, and prioritize areas for improvement faster than competition that is ruled by an APM solution alone. Leveraging these insights lets IT teams optimize their applications and websites, resulting in faster load times, smoother interactions, and better overall performance.

Data-Driven Decision Making 

IT teams can know the solutions they are working on are backed by data that came from the users they are trying to impress. DEM helps developers uncover trends, patterns, and areas of improvement so those teams can prioritize resources to effectively deliver an improved user experience.

Drawbacks of DEM

Before investing, organizations need to consider some of the complexities they are signing up for when they deploy DEM capabilities in their monitoring solution.

Implementation Complexity

For large, or complex digital environments, integrating a variety of monitoring techniques, tools, and systems may require upskilling or hiring the expertise needed for a successful implementation. In addition to configuring and fine-tuning the monitoring setup, ongoing maintenance and management of DEM can be a long-term investment.

Data Volume Challenges

DEM generates vast amounts of monitoring data, which can be overwhelming to process and analyze effectively. Organizations need to have robust data management and analysis capabilities already in place to sort through the onslaught of data, as well as a process in place for converting it into actionable insights for IT teams.

Resource Considerations

Integrating and maintaining a DEM solution may require financial and resource investments ranging from the procurement of monitoring tools to hiring skilled personnel. Ongoing data analysis efforts may require long-term resource allocation.

Despite these drawbacks, many organizations will want to harness the benefits of DEM, as they outweigh the challenges.

How LogicMonitor Can Help

If DEM is a measure of how much an organization values its users’ experiences, then LogicMonitor’s Application Performance Monitoring solution is how organizations show they’re serious about improving the processes and technologies that ensure their operations don’t just meet – but they exceed – users’ expectations.

OpenTelemetry integration monitors end-to-end application requests through distributed services in your existing environment.

Performance metrics capabilities can graph everything from high-level KPIs to granular technical metrics, visualizing business outcomes for the teams which need to deliver them.

Synthetic monitoring brings solution theories to life before users can test them in real-time. This capability simulates end-user traffic through automated browser tests of user interactions or transactions, giving early insights into the quality of the end user experience.