Most enterprises realise that in order to attract and retain customers, they must develop and deliver exceptional digital services – and do so faster and more effectively than the competition. According to a 2016 Gartner CIO survey*, two-thirds of enterprises are actively investing in digital business and digital capabilities will continue to be a top investment for the foreseeable future, as businesses expect digital revenues to increase by 80% by 2020.
But while new technologies and business models are transforming companies, the true driver of this digital era is the end user and their expectations to have richer, more powerful experiences. So for IT and business leaders, a sharp focus on the digital experience of end users, from application design through application delivery and consumption, becomes vital to success.
Delivering these exceptional digital experiences is easier said than done. The bar is constantly being raised as users expect increasingly, sophisticated, engaging, and reliable digital services. Unfortunately, IT organisations must balance these rising expectations with escalating complexity, fragmented and ineffective management tools, and limited business insights. In order to truly succeed, IT leaders must address the following challenges:
- Complex service delivery chains that increase business-impacting issues
Today’s digital services span on-premises and cloud-based resources, are delivered across a mix of private and public networks, and must be optimised for multiple device types. In addition, increased reliance on microservices, containers, and other third-party components means application topologies are more distributed and dynamic than ever before.
This complex chain of interactions means digital services are only as strong as their weakest link. Any flaw – be it a server failure, coding issue, network congestion, or a problematic device – can slow an application and disrupt the resulting digital experience.
- Fragmented tools and IT silos that increase downtime and lead to other inefficiencies
A cross-domain understanding of applications and the networks, infrastructure, and devices they run on is essential to managing the digital experience. Yet, 64% of companies still take a fragmented approach to digital experience monitoring and troubleshooting**, where each IT domain uses its own tools to manage its respective part of the application delivery chain.
This approach creates IT silos and fosters an unproductive environment where teams shift blame and often take months to find and fix problems. As a result, teams spend too much time firefighting issues, taking them away from more strategic initiatives.
- Aggressive development pipelines that strain teams and digital services
Most organisations are embracing DevOps and other agile methodologies to quickly and continuously develop and deliver new or enhanced digital services. However, speeding up development and release cycles means very little if new features are buggy or underperform for users.
All too often, bugs find their way into code as feature sets grow. Relying on testing processes within lab environments to spot potential issues isn’t sufficient. Such practices can be time-consuming and not representative of real-world conditions where thousands of people use the app simultaneously. As a result, increased rates of change can cause service degradations or outages, frustrating IT teams and end users alike.
- Limited insights that hinder planning and future development efforts
Measuring the success of digital capabilities is critical for making informed planning decisions and cost-justifying future investments. Historically, IT has focused on metrics like availability and response time, which are important indicators of service quality. However, those metrics fail to report on performance from the end user’s perspective, nor do they demonstrate how a digital service is contributing to the company bottom-line.
Without these insights, it’s difficult for application owners to know how users are adopting digital services, nor can they determine what the overall impact is on the business. This, in turn, hinders future development or improvement efforts.
To succeed, businesses and IT leaders need a complete, integrated solution that enables them to proactively and holistically manage end-user digital experiences across the software development lifecycle and the infrastructure on which digital apps and services run.
We partner with Riverbed who are unique in their multidomain support of DEM, and whose vision is well aligned with the needs of a next-generation enterprise DEM operation.
‘How to Deliver Superior Digital Experiences’ extracts taken Riverbed solution brief ‘Riverbed Digital Experience Management’.
* Gartner, “Innovation Insight for Digital Experience Monitoring,” Oct. 14, 2016
** Forrester, “Application Performance Management Is Critical To Business Success,” Feb. 2014