Digitization has transformed the way customers buy and use products. There has been a tectonic shift in customer expectations regarding product availability (measured by service level management) and product performance (measured by experience level management).
According to a 2017 State of Online Retail Performance report by SOASTA (now part of the content delivery network provider, Akamai), 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load (based on data equating to approximately 10 billion user visits). Another study ties customer satisfaction to website performance by highlighting the fact that only 38% of users stated website availability as an issue, whereas around 73% of users complained about slow website experience.
The difference between the percent of customers impacted by service levels vs. those affected by experience levels is enormous and brings to the fore a critical question: Can enterprises now only rely on service availability to deliver the best customer experience? The answer is, no.
Customers now have a high bar for technical performance and certain service levels, making Service Level Monitoring insufficient for enterprises looking to offer best-in-class end-user experience. Companies now need to consider end-user experience levels (to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of the service) as the key metric, and service levels (for availability and resolution) as a contributing factor to the end-user experience.
Challenges with eXperience Level Management
In the past, instrumenting end-user eXperience Level Management (XLM) has not been straightforward for any business.
One huge challenge in implementing XLM is ascertaining the data sources for compliance calculations. Businesses spend hours and days gathering all the data in spreadsheets and other tools in an attempt to feed the right data into their policy management applications. But the myriad of data collection mechanisms, with different data formats and user workflow definitions, result in an inaccurate XLM policy implementation often based on erroneous data.
And all this trouble is for a single SLA policy addressing a single product and user type. An enterprise with multiple products can’t even consider identifying the right experience level for their different products and customer segments because of this extremely complex and tedious process. Without being able to segment experiences, an important customer’s experience might get rolled up with everyone else’s, and their challenges might have a disproportionate impact on your business. For example, a delay in delivering a product for an Amazon prime member who has indicated shipping speed as a priority could result in a loss in future business.
Another challenge in deriving a proper XLM solution in an enterprise is establishing a “single source of truth” between all parties involved in an application. End-users may have one set of expectations for where they engage, while third-party service providers might have another, and some of these expectations may be expressed contractually, too. As an enterprise, straightforward communication throughout the business is key to establishing trust between all stakeholders and ensuring all agreements are being met.
AppDynamics launches XLM in Nov 2017
We at AppDynamics are excited to address these challenges for our customers with the introduction of eXperience Level Management (XLM) as part of our Business iQ product. XLM provides an ability to measure metrics that matter to businesses and their end-users, along with the ability to measure service availability.
Automated data collection and reporting, single source of data, experience levels for different product types and customer segments, and an immutable audit trail to build trust amongst all parties – AppDynamics’ XLM solves these main challenges that enterprises face in implementing their business-critical experience and service-level policies.
Data Selection with Exclusion Periods
AppDynamics Business iQ collects every bit of information flowing through an end-to-end application workflow, and can ingest data from multiple data sources. These could be events generated by AppDynamics agents like business transaction events, log events, or end-user events. These could also be events that are sent to Business iQ using REST APIs or other custom events such as Business Journeys (released in 4.4) that defines complex business workflows. An XLM report can be created on any of these event types for end-user experience management and service availability calculations.
What’s more, for any planned upgrades or maintenance schedules that can lead to potential degradations in end-user experience, XLM has the functionality to explicitly define exclusion periods to disregard compliance calculations during such intervals – ensuring that trivial data collection is excluded.
Compliance Target and Daily Thresholds
Once the data set is defined, users can set compliance targets on any business or application metric that is key to their business or end-users. These metrics can be anything from login time for gold member airline customers, to the checkout time for platinum customers on an e-commerce website.
XLM provides users the ability to define different threshold levels (Normal, Warning, and Critical) to monitor their reports. By providing multiple thresholds, XLM enables users to visualize slight degradations within their metrics and take prompt corrective actions.
XLM Configuration Settings.
Users can also specify reporting period (weekly or monthly) to define aggregation intervals and view the compliance on the aggregated data. XLM also has a drill-down functionality, allowing users to take weekly or monthly data and drill down to daily data and even as granular as individual events.
XLM Dashboard – with aggregate view of compliance for the last five periods
Car Loan Login Response Time – Daily Compliance Data for a weekly aggregate with drill-down to event level information.
Lack of trust is one of the challenges for all parties involved in monitoring, implementing, and enforcing compliance. With fully automated data collection and reporting for XLM, and an immutable audit trail of any changes made to the configuration, AppDynamics can be that “single source of truth” for our customers and their partners.
Audit trail for “Car Loan Login Response Time” XLM report.
While the consistency in service availability is vital, businesses need to provide the best quality experience tailored to the product and customer segment. eXperience Level Management (XLM) is the first step towards helping our customers achieve this. We look forward to your comments and feedback.