Digital Experience Management: What It Is and How to Do It
Digital Experience Management (DEM) allows you to mimic and test the end-to-end customer and worker experience. Such solutions can be used in on-premises data centers or run in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. Discover how to get started and what its future holds.
The COVID-19 pandemic put digital services in the spotlight. The winners in 2020 and beyond will be those organizations which provide awesome user experiences for online products, services and apps. There is scant room for error, as digital leaders before the pandemic have upped their game even more.
For example, streaming service provider Netflix’s 2020 Q4 revenue reached $6.64 billion – almost $14 million more than expected – and added 8.5 million paid subscribers. The company had more than 200 million users in the quarter and saw viewership for non-English titles jump 50 percent during the year as U.S. viewers sought new content from around the globe.
Companies in more traditional sectors such as restaurants and hospitality also grew by investing further in digital strategies. Chipotle’s 2020 revenue increased 7.1 percent, to $6 billion, with digital sales skyrocketing 174.1 percent and accounting for more than 46 percent of sales. Target’s digital sales increased 155% in Q4 while Costco grew ecommerce sales by 91% in FY20, as online ordering and curbside pickup became the new normal.
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DEM comes of age
To manage this onslaught of online customers and transactions, IT organizations are turning to digital experience monitoring. DEM is a broad area, but it comes down to delivering the best experience for your customers and employees by monitoring your IT assets and addressing issues that arise before they become problems. DEM allows you to mimic and test the end-to-end customer and worker experience. Such solutions can be used in on-premises data centers or run in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.
There are two key methods for DEM:
- Real user monitoring (RUM): This entails using real users’ devices to measure the performance of a page. A script is injected on each page to measure data on page load performance for every request made, monitoring the interaction of an application and the users. The data shows such aspects as how an application is being used and the geographic distribution of users.
- Synthetic monitoring: This technique tests the performance of a page using an automation tool rather than users’ actual experiences. Scripts are used to simulate how a user might move through a web application and then report back on the performance. An example is WebPageTest.org.
In a recent report, Gartner analysts said DEM products are evolving, moving from a focus on performance and availability to correlating I&O (infrastructure and operations) and business outcomes. Currently, fewer than 15 percent of digital business initiatives will require I&O leaders to report on business metrics from digital experience; that will jump to 70 percent by 2025, Gartner says.
Organizations for years have been using monitoring tools to measure various aspects of their infrastructure. For example, IT operations management (ITOM) solutions track metrics and manage alerts and events for infrastructure hosted on premise or in the cloud, including servers, networking systems, storage appliances and databases. The data also can be used for historical data analysis and to map out trends.
DEM is specifically focused on the end user experience, giving IT professionals the visibility to run diagnostics, fix issues and measure performance at each point of contact between the users and the application. Acquiring a new customer is an expensive effort, and a user can be lost because of a single poor experience. DEM is designed to ensure the optimal experience.