Everything You Need To Know About Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) Software (FAQs)
What Is Digital Experience Monitoring Software?
With increasingly more businesses digitalizing their services, it’s more important than ever for organizations to be able to offer their customers a smooth and cohesive journey. The easier it is for them to buy from you, the more likely they are to do it; if your website is difficult to interact with, they may well go to a competitor with a more user-friendly interface. Just as important is the need for organizations to enable their employees to interact seamlessly with their network, in order for them to be as productive as possible—nobody wants to have to wait for a long time for their work applications to load, for example.
But unfortunately, creating a streamlined end user journey is often easier said than done, particularly when it’s managed by independent IT operations, cybersecurity, digital marketing, web management, and application development teams.
Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) software enables organizations to model their customer journey and to track real-time end user interactions with their systems and services. Whilst monitoring user activity, DEM tools identify any performance or health issues that might cause outages or disrupt the end user experience. These issues could lie in the organization’s local network, data center, SaaS applications, and on end users’ devices. Once the DEM software identifies an issue, it assesses the root cause, making it easier for businesses to resolve the problem, resulting in a more streamlined and optimized end user experience. Some DEM tools even offer recommendations on how best to mitigate the issues they flag.
DEM software can be used for both internal end users, i.e., employees, and external end users, i.e., customers. It is an emerging technology, designed to replace traditional, siloed monitoring tools— such as application performance monitoring (APM) and network performance monitoring (NPM) tools—with a single, unified view of the entire customer journey across all dependencies and channels.
How Does DEM Software Work?
There are three stages in the digital experience monitoring process. First, the DEM software collects data in real-time from web pages, APIs, end user devices, and the local network on how end users are interacting with the organization’s systems and services. The DEM tool may also collect data from simulated user interactions. Once the data is collected, the DEM software stores it in a database, ready for analysis. Finally, it applies machine learning models that identify any availability, performance, and health issues across all channels, at all stages of the end user journey. The software displays these issues to admins in a series of customizable, visual dashboards. Some tools also provide recommendations on how best to resolve each issue. This enables the organization to understand their end users’ experience from the end users’ perspective and correct any issues as they arise to ensure a seamless user journey.
DEM software often leverages multiple types of monitoring technology in the initial data collection stage:
- Real User Monitoring (RUM) monitors end user interactions with web and cloud applications, using app-based monitoring or browser plugins to measure performance in real-time
- Synthetic Monitoring (or “synthetic transaction monitoring”, i.e., STM) uses agents to generate artificial or simulated user interactions that mimic real user behavior, then uses that simulated traffic to test a website, API, or application’s overall performance and availability, or its performance when responding to specific user interactions. This type of monitoring helps identify issues before they can impact real users, as well as provide baseline performance data based on a model user journey
- Application Performance Monitoring (APM) monitors software applications for performance issues
- Endpoint Monitoring provides visibility into the devices that end users are accessing your systems or services on, and monitors performance from the end user’s device, including factors such as OS type and version, CPU and memory usage, storage space, and network metrics
Together, these technologies enable the DEM software to provide IT admins with full visibility into their user journey at every stage of their interaction with all of your services.
What Are The Benefits Of DEM?
There are five main benefits of implementing a DEM tool:
- Improve Performance and Productivity. If you’re implementing a DEM tool to monitor the experience of your employees, it can you quickly identify and remediate outages, bottlenecks and disruptions and reduce downtime so your users can stay productive. And if you’re implementing a DEM tool to monitor the experience of your customers, it can help you deliver higher quality digital experiences that will boost customer satisfaction and ultimately drive revenue growth.
- Reduce Complexity. DEM software provides organizations with a single, comprehensive view of their entire end user experience across all channels and dependencies. This removes the need for businesses to invest in and manage multiple disparate monitoring tools—saving ITOps time, resources, and cost.
- Proactively and Effectively Resolve Issues. With the real-time insights and alerts provided by DEM software, ITOps teams can quickly diagnose and resolve and performance, availability, or health issues. Plus, with synthetic monitoring features, a DEM tool can help ITOps teams proactively search for and resolve issues before they have an impact on real end users.
- Make Data-Driven Decisions. By analyzing the behavior metrics provided by a DEM tool, organizations can make informed, strategic decisions on where to focus their spending in order to optimize their infrastructure and applications, ensuring that resources are allocated where they’re most needed.
What Features Should You Look For In DEM Software?
DEM is an emerging market, so there may be some variations between different tools when it comes to their feature sets. However, there are some features that all DEM software should offer:
- All DEM tools should offer a range of active and passive monitoring capabilities utilizing the technologies outlined above, in order to collect data from all of your end users, and across all SaaS, web, and private applications using HTTP, ICMP, or UDP protocols and running on user devices.
- As well as collecting data on your network and applications, your DEM tool should collect real-time data from your end users’ devices, such as operating system type and version and CPU and memory usage.
- Your DEM tool should help you create a model user journey, with network path visualization from the user’s endpoint to the application or service they’re interacting with.
- The best DEM tools offer robust reporting features that enable ITOps teams to gain insights into their end users’ digital experiences. These reports should be customizable and should offer granular filtering options that make it easy for you to find the exact information you’re looking for. They should also provide you with context around any identified issues and may even suggest remediation options.
- Your chosen DEM tool should integrate seamlessly with any monitoring tools you’re already using, such as log management, network monitoring, and cloud monitoring tools. This will make it easier for you to aggregate and analyze data from multiple sources, ensuring that nothing slips under your radar.
- DEM tools should have the ability to scale as your business—and the digital landscape—grows. That means it needs to be able to handle large volumes of data, monitor diverse device types, and adapt as you change the technology within your environment.
- You need to be able to configure your DEM software to meet your exact monitoring requirements. You should be able to choose from multiple types of monitoring and create custom reports to show you the metrics that are most important to you.