User Experience Monitoring – Monitoring Taken to the Business Level

By Jun 17, 2015

Not all User Experience Management (UEM) tools are created equal. Most require you to know what you’re looking for in advance. For example, when the tool relies on JavaScript injection, the code snippets must be placed into the apps that the enterprise can access. This is a tricky option for apps that are delivered in the cloud or are hosted by third parties where the organization does not have app control.

When the tool is a synthetic robot, that is, it executes scripts that emulate the user’s actions, the target apps must be known up front. This emulation is not the same as actual user behaviors since it won’t let you understand where a user’s problem areas lie. Emulation with robots won’t acknowledge when the application is slow because real users are perceptive and emotional about their application usage. Additionally, their navigation (e.g. user interfaces) needs to be well understood. Creating and maintaining scripts (especially with software upgrades) is an onerous task.

Other methods for monitoring end user app usage, such as network traffic capture techniques, measure response time and error metrics from the network or browser but that measurement may actually impact the user experience in that the screen render time does not approximate what the person in front of the screen perceives. Network requests can be transported in milliseconds but if the application does client-side processing or the data to be rendered is large, the metrics do not reflect true user perception. Apps that are not web-based and don’t generate network traffic will not be monitored by these true network packet capture solution.

What’s the challenge for IT in providing excellent user experience? The IT staff uses the tools that they have adopted in the area of Application Performance Monitoring (APM) that target application topology interruptions, attempting to reduce bandwidth, using tools for application deep dive component monitoring (DDCM), database performance investigating, and IT Operations Analytics. And just when the data center staff has gotten a handle on the infrastructure they’re faced with changes and challenges:

  • Holding their cloud providers accountable to SLAs across geographies and business locations
  • Migrations to centralized virtual infrastructure that require performance comparisons between virtual and physical devices
  • When optimizing the company’s WAN for reduced data transfer rates and network latency, they face the task of justifying their expenses by measuring end-user satisfaction

With our software, customers across varied lines of business are gaining insight into workforce productivity from a user-centric view that enables near real-time alerts when expected performance deviates from SLA targets or baselines. Line of business managers can set up alerting to trigger on specific activity deviations from what they may consider normal operations:

Email alerts may be constructed to detail application performance, application activity anomalies, screen and screen control response time abnormalities, and situations where errors are exceeding the norm. Admins can even designate destinations for delivery of these alerts such as FTP Servers or a particular File System. As seen below, the Knoa UEM BI Application can be used to generate dynamic reports:

"Deep thread" application diagnostics are critical for trouble shooting application performance problems and performing root cause analysis, but Knoa UEM further enables you to define business activities, user interactions with applications in the context of groups of screens and what goes to make up a business processes. In this way you can analyze application performance and workforce productivity in terms that make sense to the line of business.

In a report by Forrester Research called "IT is a Business Risk", it was noted that almost three quarters of end user issues were never detected by the IT department. Knoa UEM gives the business user easy-to-understand diagnostic metrics that they can share with their DevOps, SAP Basis, and shared services organizations that will complete the picture of what transpires in transactions involving the user, server, database, and back end.