Let’s breeze past the familiar opening paragraph and cut straight to the point. Remote working has changed forever and is showing no signs of returning to ‘normal’. Ultimately, IT teams have now accepted that the workforce will remain distributed for the foreseeable future. Yet many have not yet adjusted to the reality of having limited visibility into endpoints, connectivity and application performance – exposing organizations to issues far beyond their control.
This is the core reason behind why Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) technologies have grown so rapidly in 2020. What began as a nascent market first covered by Gartner in 2019 has now become a large, fast-growing space – punctuated by the $1bn acquisition of ThousandEyes by Cisco several months into the lockdown.
A NetMotion survey of 500 IT and network professionals in September 2020 found that 1 in 3 organizations are already using DEM tools – a number expected to rise as a result of the lockdown. Just under half of IT leaders shared that they were more likely to invest in DEM as a consequence of COVID-19.
What is Digital Experience Monitoring?
So an increasing number of companies embracing it – but what actually is DEM? The term itself was coined by Gartner, which published its latest Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring by Federico De Silva, Charley Rich, Josh Chessman in August 2020. It’s a nebulous marketplace, with a variety of different vendors approaching the concept in unique ways but essentially it is any technology which concerns itself with the gathering of data to better understand the experience of workers – especially those operating remotely.
The Gartner document outlines three core types of DEM solutions: real user monitoring, endpoint monitoring and synthetic transaction monitoring.
Real user monitoring (RUM) evaluates the experience in relation to specific programs, such as websites or mobile apps. Endpoint monitoring (EP) is designed to provide visibility into the devices that employees use to get work done. Synthetic transaction monitoring (STM) technologies have been around for much longer, focusing mostly on the performance and uptime of services.
Most organizations enjoy a wealth of visibility into fixed places of work – corporate networks, desktop computers, on-premise applications etc – very few have access to comparable visibility into their distributed workforce. With so many employees working outside the traditional office environment, it’s clear to see why DEM tools are such an attractive proposition.
Why digital experience monitoring?
Gathering data on the experience of working can have a huge impact on business. Happy employees almost always means more productive workers. Countless studies have demonstrated that a high quality employee experience leads to a better customer experience, plus will indirectly contribute to improved retention and hiring rates. Experience problems can be linked to business outcomes; the Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring repeatedly stresses the importance of doing so.
Extract business insights from their monitoring tools by deploying DEM technologies in the context of monitoring “North Star” business metrics, such as orders per minute or conversion rates, instead of infrastructure-centric metrics only.Market guide for Digital Experience Monitoring by Federico De Silva, Charley Rich, Josh Chessman
Example benefits of implementing digital experience monitoring (DEM)
- Increased productivity of remote workers, due to eliminating common experience problems such as network disconnects, outdated hardware or misconfigured apps.
- Reduced volume of support tickets to the helpdesk team. Proactively resolving issues using DEM data often results in fewer support requests by employees. Several NetMotion customers have enjoyed a 50% reduction.
- Faster speed of remediation. DEM can give insight to those working in IT, providing root cause analysis and diagnosis of problems, enabling more effective issue resolution.
- Improved engagement with digital transformation projects. DEM can help measure and encourage adoption of new programs, applications and processes – identifying potential blocks and advocates for change.
- Overall morale and satisfaction improvements by tackling sources of frustration. This can prove critical for remote workers that all too often ‘suffer in silence’ – 57% of all issues experienced by distributed workforces are not even reported to IT.
The benefits of DEM will depend on the unique nature of your business but the unifying factor is that the employee experience can be tied to business outcomes.
Endpoint experience monitoring
One of the most popular ways to implement DEM is through endpoint monitoring. This typically works by deploying an agent on work devices such as laptops, tablets and mobiles. These agents give IT leaders added insight into the experience of workers from a device, application and network perspective.
Gain visibility into remote worker user experience by deploying endpoint monitoring technologies from the user device perspective.Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring by Federico De Silva, Charley Rich, John Chessman
Endpoint monitoring offers a number of advantages to organizations seeking to get more visibility on remote workers.
- Application performance monitoring
- Endpoint performance and configuration monitoring
- Employee user experience monitoring
- Remote application access monitoring
- Application usage (technology adoption and employee engagement)
- Root cause analysis of endpoint problems impacting employees
How to embed DEM in your organization
The Gartner Market Guide lists representative vendors in each of the three categories of DEM solutions. Spend time to assess which type will work best for your business and evaluate the tool that will meet those needs by approaching vendors directly.
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