The way that consumers and end-users interact with businesses and their services has changed dramatically in the last decade. Today, nearly every transaction is supported by applications, which is why every organisation on the planet is transforming into a software business.
In this new software-driven world, the performance of applications directly impacts customer experience, which in turn determines crucial business outcomes such as customer loyalty, conversions and revenue. The role of IT has therefore evolved from being a back-office function to a strategic enabler that makes the difference between success and failure for everyone in the business.
If organisations want to succeed, they need to deliver perfect software and offer seamless user experiences. The only way to achieve that goal is with a multidisciplinary view of the user experience and all digital services across the organisation. Digital business application owners, IT and DevOps teams need to understand the direct link between user experience, application performance and business outcomes.
However, while the data they need to unlock that insight is already flowing through the business and being analysed in many cases, it’s usually siloed across disparate dashboards in a variety of IT monitoring, web analytics and ad hoc reporting tools. This makes it nigh on impossible to understand data in context and turn it into actionable answers that can be used to improve business outcomes.
Michael Allen is the VP & CTO, EMEA, for Dynatrace.
Struggling with tunnel vision
These silos have evolved as different teams within the organisation have adopted their own tools for a variety of use cases. For example, digital business application owners have analytics and reporting tools that can show them key success metrics for click-through rates, conversion ratios and revenues.
Meanwhile, IT teams have an array of monitoring tools that allow them to keep tabs on SLAs around application performance and user experience. These tools all provide important information, but their siloed nature leaves individual teams with tunnel vision, as they are unable to see the wider context of what each set of data means for the business as a whole.
As a result, it is very difficult to determine the impact IT performance has on business outcomes without a lot of manual correlation. That takes time and in some cases is nearly impossible to do at all given the dynamic and complex nature of modern cloud services. As such, it fails to provide actionable answers when they’re needed most – in real-time.
For example, consider a common scenario such as an application update that introduces a bug and directly contributes to a fall in a crucial business metric, such as average revenue per customer checkout through the payment gateway. The development team might be using their own monitoring tool and detect that the update hasn’t gone to plan, while the operations team is using another that sees a sudden decline in performance.
Meanwhile, the digital business teams are using their own tools that detect a decline in revenue. Each team scrambles to investigate the root cause, but none is aware of the wider context, or that there are others involved.
Looking at the bigger picture
To make more informed decisions and prioritise efforts to optimise digital services based on the impact on business outcomes, organisations need access to business intelligence that provides the full context behind each issue. For example, IT teams and application owners could use business and application performance data to prioritise initiatives to improve customer journeys based on how revenues and conversions are being affected.
This can only be achieved by breaking down the silos between tools and implementing a common data model that ties user experience, customer behaviour and application performance data together with business metrics. If that data model is combined with deterministic AI, which provides precise insights into the root cause of anomalies, it’s possible to analyse the vast quantities of data flowing through the organisation and uncover real-time answers to business questions.
In some cases, these answers can be used to automate remediation, so teams within the business don’t even need to manually intervene and resources can be used more effectively to provide better outcomes for the organisation. For example, where humans might not discern any link, deterministic AI could recognise that a sudden drop in scheduled payments activity is linked to a recent code update that is causing user journeys to fail at the checkout stage. This software intelligence could be used to automatically roll back the update, so payments and credit card processing can continue to be made without any disruption for the organisation or its customers.
Getting ahead of the game
Ultimately, today’s businesses live or die based on the success of their efforts to deliver perfect software and seamless digital journeys to their customers and users. In such an environment, it’s crucial that everyone in the organisation has access to real-time answers that reveal how business outcomes are being impacted by application performance. That’s impossible to achieve if everyone is just looking at their own piece of the puzzle.
Digital business application owners, IT and DevOps teams need to put their heads together and work collaboratively to see the full picture of what’s taking place across their organisation. By breaking down the walls between their tools and taking a new, multidisciplinary approach to how they run the business, organisations can truly leap ahead of their competitors and unlock the answers they need to improve the outcomes of their collective efforts.
Michael Allen is the VP & CTO, EMEA, for Dynatrace.
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