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An Introductory Guide to Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM)

By: NetreoNoaa
August 3, 2021

Modern software development companies are constantly trying to make their products better. Building and deploying top-notch features ahead of the competition is a primary goal for any software-related business.

Perhaps one of the most important features companies can offer but often overlook or find hard to deliver effectively is a smooth end-user experience and great overall web performance. These are crucial for any product because they can affect conversion and bounce rates, user engagement, and business success in general.

The problem stems from the fact that software products are becoming more complex to create. To work correctly, they depend on an increasing number of frameworks, tools, and third-party services. This makes troubleshooting customer-facing issues more time-consuming and can seriously affect user experience as code changes are made.

This post will introduce you to the concept of digital experience monitoring. You’ll find out what DEM is and how it works. You’ll understand the benefits from implementing it, what challenges it has, and what some common use cases are.

Let’s dive right in.

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What Is DEM?

User experience is multifaceted, and traditional monitoring tools don’t offer the necessary visibility. If your product fails, the IT team has to find out what went wrong. But as the software development landscape grows more complex, many parameters outside of your environment could be causing the problem.

Digital experience monitoring, or DEM for short, allows you to experience your product as your customers do by monitoring physical and virtual endpoint devices across your entire infrastructure. It’s a monitoring technique that provides insights into how networks and applications are functioning. With DEM, you can monitor from Internet of Things endpoints to understand how humans interact with your application.

DEM is the combination of three monitoring techniques:

  • Synthetic monitoring tracks performance with the help of automation tools by simulating the path a user probably would take when interacting with an application. The performance isn’t based on real users but on synthetically created data.
  • Real user monitoring or RUM tracks performance based on data coming from actual users. It’s a reliable technique to monitor how the application is actually being used and how real-world parameters such as network latency, device variation, and so on affect the end-user experience.
  • Endpoint monitoring tracks activity and risks on all the devices of your network. It enhances visibility, access, and the ability to detect and address threats.

How Does Digital Experience Monitoring Work?

Rather than assessing how network elements are working, DEM at the beginning examines how users and endpoints interact with an application. The next step is to evaluate its behavior from their perspective. If the application has unexpected behavior, then most likely there’s something going on with either an element of the network or the application itself.

DEM monitors the network interface of all endpoints and detects characteristics when an element of the network isn’t working as expected. If there are no malfunction indicators, but the application is still underperforming, then most probably the problem lies in the application or even the application’s infrastructure.

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Why Use Digital Experience Monitoring?

In traditional network monitoring, data comes from a variety of sources. It can be difficult to pinpoint the true root cause of an issue when you have multiple tools monitoring the network, infrastructure, applications, servers, and so on. Using a unified monitoring solution makes it easier to identify, prioritize, and eventually fix the most mission-critical performance issues, thereby enhancing success.

With DEM, you can prevent problems before they reach users and hurt their experience. It allows you to test your network continuously and spot problems before they escalate and damage your application’s performance.

For example, what if there’s a sudden power outage during non-working hours? Or what if you face unexpected hardware configuration issues? In either case, continuous DEM will alert you immediately and allow you to solve the problem in time.

DEM positions the user experience as the top priority. This is essential for mitigating revenue losses and risks affecting a business’s sustainability.

Finally, not all users have the same requirements. DEM is an excellent solution for companies that want to offer improved, personalized services based on the user’s hardware and software needs. This way, companies reduce costs because they don’t spend valuable resources unnecessarily.

Common DEM Use Cases

Digital experience monitoring has several real-life business use cases. Let’s look at some of them below.

Full-Stack Monitoring

First and foremost, with a DEM strategy, you gain full-stack visibility into your IT infrastructure, systems, applications, and user experience. Furthermore, you can understand in detail and in real time how your resources are performing by taking advantage of historical trends.

External Services Transparency

We mentioned earlier how the software developer landscape has become more complex. In most cases, you’re not in control of your entire infrastructure, especially with cloud services becoming more popular.

A DEM solution can help you make sure that any third-party services your application is using are working as promised. It offers custom metrics that will give you a clear view if an external vendor is negatively affecting your product’s performance.

Being One Step Ahead of Issues

If an issue reaches the end user, no matter whose fault it is, then the business is already in trouble. Organizations are familiar with this, and it’s the biggest motivator for them to proactively mitigate—or even better, solve—issues before they do any harm. By using DEM, IT teams can receive alerts in real time and resolve problems quickly.

Increase Employee Productivity

Technical issues are common in the workplace. They can cause frustration and affect the productivity rates of both your in-office and your remote employees. Furthermore, they might need dedicated personnel and many hours to repair them.

Digital experience monitoring implementation allows you to identify the nature of these problems. It flags the ones with the most significant impact and effectively resolves them. In many cases, employees don’t even notice the problem!

Digital Experience Monitoring Challenges

Like many technologies, DEM has its own set of challenges that can discourage organizations from implementing it.

  • Successful DEM strategy requires a cultural shift. Although IT teams are responsible for DEM, other teams also play an essential role. Only through close cross-team collaboration can a business ensure high-level digital experiences for its customers. Communicating this and achieving a collaborative environment is often a hurdle for DEM implementation.
  • The increase of remote workers has significantly increased the number of endpoint devices. This is especially likely in big companies. As a result, performance monitoring has become far more complex and challenging.
  • Companies base their business on different technologies. A common challenge DEM solutions face is to be able to cover all these various applications.
  • Technology adoption isn’t easy! Besides the initial costs, it takes a great deal of effort to integrate your DEM solution into your ecosystem without affecting your existing customers.

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Digital experience monitoring focuses on who is being affected and why. It moves the monitoring of resources and applications one step further and makes the user experience the main point of view. Companies can implement it to ensure they’re offering a digital experience that’s engaging for their users, helps them achieve desired outcomes, and makes it easier to reach business objectives.

With Netreo, companies can monitor the availability, performance, and quality of the IT infrastructure and network to gain confidence in their digital businesses.

Find out more about how Netreo can help your business, or schedule a demo to get things started.

This post was written by Alex Doukas. Alex’s main area of expertise is web development and everything that comes along with it. He also has extensive knowledge of topics such as UX design, big data, social media marketing, and SEO techniques.

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