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The digital transformation of the business world is occurring rapidly and highlighting the need to focus on the digital experience of the end-user. The end-user experience is personal to each particular user, whether they are a customer using your web app or an employee using an internal SaaS business application. 

This personal digital experience is central to a digital business. The experience of each user needs to be considered, but the problem with personalization is that technology changes so quickly that IT teams often fall behind with the tools needed to monitor digital experience metrics and performance data.

There are lots of tools out there for monitoring mobile app performance and network performance, which are great for resolving issues, but there needs to be more of a focus on real user monitoring. This can assist IT operations and teams in their efforts to solve real user challenges and personalize each digital experience for users. 

Assessing user behavior and user experience with the aim of solving each individual user’s challenges is the main goal of Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM).

What Is Digital Experience Monitoring?

A clear definition comes from Dynatrace, one of the leading software companies.

“DEM solutions extend Application Performance Monitoring (APM) by including the outside-in perspective to ensure applications and services are available, functional, and performant, across all channels of the digital customer experience in real-time. Monitoring tools combine application performance data, real-user behavior, synthetic monitoring, and deeper experience insights like session replays, to pinpoint digital experience issues and understand the precise impact to business KPIs.”

Gartner also has a clear definition:

“Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) is a performance analysis discipline that supports the optimization of the operational experience and behavior of a digital agent, human or machine, with the application and service portfolio of enterprises… This discipline also seeks to observe and model the behavior of users as a flow of interactions in the form of a customer journey.”

Implementing a DEM strategy or monitoring strategy affords businesses the following insights:

It seems that as the digital world and IT environments continue to evolve, new terms, short forms, acronyms, and buzzwords grow exponentially as well.

However, while many of these words and their accompanying content are helpful, they are not critical. DEM can be. It is not just a new buzzword. It is a way of doing things that can significantly affect a business. 

7 Important Benefits Of DEM For Your Business

DEM has significant benefits for businesses when it comes to gaining insights on the user experience and the digital experience in general.

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1. Stay Up To Date With An Active Experience Monitoring Tool

Tools such as APM tools can provide solid insights, but they cannot provide the current, up-to-date, and active end-user experience monitoring that DEM can provide. APM tools and other similar tools are quickly becoming out-of-date. DEM tools can provide a competitive advantage in terms of allowing direct and real-time insights on the customer experience.

One way DEM does this is through synthetic transaction monitoring (STM) — this is one type of DEM tactic. It involves creating scripts that are set to run periodically, which simulate user activities and test whether users can still carry out those activities successfully. 

Through end-user experience monitoring (EUEM), DEM tools also allow businesses to adapt their customer experience strategy to keep up with changing demands as the digital landscape changes. 

2. Adjust To Decentralization Of Experiences 

In recent years, and especially with COVID-19, offices, businesses, and users have become more decentralized. More and more employees are working from home, and users can now have experiences almost anywhere, including their homes, hotels, shared working spaces, coffee shops, or while commuting. Users and employees can have digital experiences on several different devices as well, including desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, and more. 

DEM provides a framework to bring all user experiences together and assess them in one place, whether the user is an employee trying to login to their email on the phone, or a customer trying to purchase an item on their tablet. 

People who are working out of office might use Mac or Windows operating systems, and when interfacing with apps, they expect response time and load time to be similar to what it is when they are working in the office on their desktop. This isn’t always the case, so DEM can monitor and assess these response times to help improve the extended office setting.

3. Account For Non-Human Users

Another issue that DEM can assist with is the fact that users might be human or machines. The Internet of Things means that tools and endpoints might also be users of services.

Many cloud-based apps that are created by DevOps teams now use micro-service architecture so they can offer quick, repetitive delivery of complex applications. DEM will ensure you account for these non-human users so their usage of your service or enterprise application is frictionless and provides the necessary outcome. 

4. Address Service Chain Dependencies

The amount of dependencies that need to be dealt with in the service chain has significantly increased — devices depend on networks and internet connections, and a user’s ability to access your web application might also depend on the cloud or the infrastructure the application is built on. 

Some of those particular dependencies are out of any IT team's control. There are now spots along a delivery chain which cannot be seen by IT, which can restrict the IT team’s ability to fully understand and resolve downtime problems, outages, page load issues, and other issues. 

Figuring out whether issues are coming from the end-user device, Wi-Fi, internet connection, application performance, or a company that is providing external service has to be discerned, and DEM can help with this. 

5. Complement Existing Tools

DEM will complement tools that you might already have in place such as APM (Application Performance Monitoring), NPMD (Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostic), or AIOps tools. Combining the best tools means a business gets the whole picture rather than just one segment.

They get a deep insight into the customer user experience, which then allows them to improve customer satisfaction and create positive business outcomes.

6. Aggregate Data

Companies who already have a DEM strategy in place are often using a digital experience platform that offers a combination of tools to do this. Digital experience management is complex, but with monitoring from the front end to the back end of the employee and customer journey, it can be substantially beneficial for the business. 

Each tool will bring in different data from various digital channels, customer portals, and any other digital touchpoint. Using DEM to control these multiple channels of data through digital asset management will offer new discoverable data and create an overall experience picture so the company can then improve its digital customer experience.

DEM is important to enhancing data access in real-time. Using DEM offers insight into an employee or customer’s digital experiences better than simply working with data derived through a help desk. 

Only using a single process to assess digital experience can become costly, and limited data can affect worker engagement or productivity, as well as affect customer decisions around an ecommerce purchase. DEM can enhance the data flow and content to improve the digital experience.

7. Better Customer Journey Insights

Getting the full benefits of DEM means managing its complexity and utilizing its abilities to the fullest. Having a strategy around DEM and the tools used for monitoring experiences means the business will get a solid user-based understanding of experiences happening across the full spectrum of their customer and employee journeys. 

DEM will isolate an issue that is slowing performance and help set priorities through actionable insight, benefiting the business and allowing for an enhanced user experience. 

What Do You Think?

Is your company ready to implement digital experience monitoring? Have you already implemented any experience monitoring solutions? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!

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Related Read: 6 Ways To Collect Customer Data

By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The CX Lead. After serving over 12 years working in front-line customer experience for major brands, Hannah pivoted to a career in digital publishing and media production. Having gained a holistic view of the challenges and intricacies of delivering exceptional experiences, Hannah aims to help CX practitioners 'level up' their skills by amplifying the voices of today's thought leaders in the space.