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The Performance Principle

Russell Rothstein

End-User and Customer Experience: The Real Deal

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Follow Russell on twitter @RussRothsteinIT  

End-User Experience Monitoring. Real User Montoring. The key words here are Experience and Real. When you are choosing a solution for monitoring the experience of your customers, partners and employees, it's critical to keep their perspective in mind.

What's important to your users - pages or transactions? When you are banking online, and it's taking a long time to view that suspicious-looking check that you supposedly wrote last week, do you care about the rest of the page? The page probably includes more information about your account activity and enables you to conduct additional transactions like transferring funds and tracking automatic payments. But you may not even know what page you are on. Your only concern is the business transaction that you are currently trying to complete - viewing your cancelled check.

Yet most end-user experience monitors track pages or page objects. Pages are significant to application developers, but they are rarely meaningful to users or the business. Of course we need to track information about pages in order to isolate and resolve problems. But in order to understand the user experience, and to triangulate that with SLAs and business priorities, you need to monitor and measure the performance of business transactions.

Part of the problem with monitoring pages lies in the definition of a page. Technically speaking, a page is a URI, a Unique Resource Identifier. But what the user views as a page may actually be a container displaying a number of URIs.  When we are monitoring pages, it's important to be able to track and analyze the page as a transaction - the way the user experiences it - as well as in its component parts. Given all of this complexity, it's also important to be able to identify, classify and group the page components automatically, while leveraging as much meaningful information as possible. Otherwise, you are going to spend a lot of time manually "recreating" the application your users experience from an assortment of objects and content items with unrecognizable names.

According to one industry analyst, "One of the key goals in deploying end-user monitoring solutions is to move from an IT-centric view to actually realizing how IT is contributing to business goals. The value of end-user experience information significantly increases if organizations have capabilities for translating application performance metrics into business metrics such as lost revenue opportunities, conversions, the value of transactions failed, application utilization, disruptions of business processes, etc." By using a transaction-centric approach to end-user experience monitoring, you can evaluate your users "real experience" and measure its impact on your business.

Russell Rothstein blogs about cloud computing, performance management, business service management and related topics, examining how new technologies and business models impact the dynamic IT service management market.

Russell Rothstein

Russell Rothstein has spent his 20+ year career in the enterprise technology industry at the crossroads between technology and business. He has spoken at industry events including Interop, CloudConnect, CMG, Red Herring, and TeleManagement World. Russell is currently Founder and CEO of IT Central Station, a B2B social networking site that provides user reviews and ratings of enterprise software, hardware and services. Previously, Russell was Vice President of Product Marketing at OpTier, a vendor of application performance management (APM) solutions. Before joining OpTier, Russell was AVP Product Marketing at OPNET Technologies (Nasdaq: OPNT) where he helped lead the company’s focus into APM. He was co-founder and CEO of Zettapoint, a venture-backed enterprise software startup that was acquired by EMC, and ran marketing for Open Sesame, a Web 1.0 startup that was acquired by Bowne/RR Donnelley (NYSE:BNE). Russell began his career at Oracle, deploying Oracle Applications for Fortune 1000 companies. Russell received a BA in Computer Science from Harvard University, an MS in Technology and Policy from MIT and an MS in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Follow Russell on twitter at @RussRothsteinIT .

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