IT Infrastructure and Application Monitoring Become Complex
IT infrastructure and application monitoring has become very crucial to the success and the performance of digital transformation. Measuring customer experience has never been easy, but it used to be less complicated.
You may remember a time when you could say that, as long as key performance indicators (e.g., uptime, packet loss, latency, etc.) were within appropriate parameters, the needs of internal users and external customers were being met. And if they weren’t, they always let you know about it.
The complexity of the modern IT infrastructure landscape has changed things. For one, your infrastructure and applications now extend into the cloud, where “as a service” components managed by third parties occupy the same ecosystem as your on-premises hardware and software.
So not only do you have to monitor individual services that you may have little visibility into or control over, but you have to understand how they impact the up- and downstream components that comprise the complete service to the customer.
Application architectures have also evolved, moving from monolithic client-server configurations to a microservices” style, in which suites of small services each run their own processes and communicate via lightweight APIs.
The challenge here is that each service may be written in different programming languages and use different data storage technologies, which can make it difficult for IT operations to collect and rationalize data from the various sources—and provide it to development teams as part of a continuous improvement feedback loop.
Meanwhile, your customers have changed as well. Their expectations for easy-to-use, flawless experiences are higher
than they’ve ever been, and when those aren’t met, they don’t hesitate to move onto something new. And they often do so without a complaint, so you may not even be aware of what the issue was—or how you could’ve addressed it.
The Challenges of Measuring the Complete Customer Experience
In order to effectively monitor the customer experience, business services must be analyzed holistically, rather than as a collection of component parts and performance statistics. For many operations groups, this can create people, process and technology challenges, including:
In siloed environments, monitoring “blind spots” often exist as transactions move between the various service components. In addition, many operations groups do not have drill-down visibility into component services and environments provided
by third parties (e.g., micro-services, APIs, XaaS, etc.). Both situations create gaps where the root causes of issues can disappear.
As development teams adopt Agile methods, they increasingly push operations teams to provide analytics and insight during pre-production stages that could proactively influence code and design of the next release.
But with more teams coding faster than ever before, Operations may not have the agility to keep up with demand and essentially be in two places at once.
When every group has its own performance data, war rooms are convened to uncover the root cause of an issue. The problem is, the data does not often point directly to a specific area or “issue owner,” so the right people may not even be in the room.
As a result, these sessions devolve into unproductive turf guarding and finger-pointing that pushes out means time to repair (MTTR).
Finally, the sheer volume of data from innumerable monitoring sources must be collected, rationalized and triaged before it can be acted upon—adding more manual effort and time to an already inefficient process.
Understanding the Risks of Ineffective Customer Experience Monitoring
Your network, database, infrastructure, and software people can boast about individual performance metrics like 99.9 percent uptime or low latency, but none of them matter if users are having a bad experience with your service.
If internal users have a negative experience, it affects the overall adoption of your service, which is the primary way executives measure the ROI of internal investment. What’s more, when employees don’t get what they need from IT, they often procure their own “shadow IT” assets, which can impact your budget and create security exposures without you even knowing.
With external customers, bad experiences directly impact the bottom line. It’s bad enough if the service is a revenue generator itself (e.g., a Web store), but even a poor-performing company website or portal can create a negative perception of your brand—which will indirectly affect revenue down the line.
There’s also the possibility that the application performs well, but it’s just not what users want. When this happens, it begs two critical questions: “How do we learn what they do want?” and “How can we feed that information back to Development in an actionable way, so they can quickly push out an update?” Contact Musato Technologies to learn how our innovative IT solutions and products can empower your business.