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Strong User Experiences | @CloudExpo @Catchpoint #DevOps #APM #WebPerf
To keep up with expectations, companies rely on third-party services to help them optimize their delivery & user experience

Delivering Strong User Experiences in This Increasingly Digital World

This article was originally published as a byline for CMS Wire.

Given the increasing reliance on digital systems to accomplish many everyday tasks, there’s no denying the performance — specifically, speed, and reliability — of these systems is critical to ensuring end users will have a positive experience.

At the forefront are industry giants like Google and Facebook, which are constantly pushing the limits of speed through innovative delivery techniques.

While consumers welcome endeavors like Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project and Facebook’s Instant Articles, they also raise the bar for all internet companies.

In this environment, companies that fail to meet users’ tough performance expectations will soon find themselves falling behind the competition — not just in terms of performance, but revenue as well.

According to a recent Harris poll survey my company sponsored, 76 percent of respondents said they avoid shopping at poorly performing sites and apps after just one poor experience.

This negative reaction extends beyond just ecommerce: half of frequent online shoppers are also less likely to visit a retailer’s brick-and-mortar store if they have a negative experience shopping online.

The Double-Edge Sword of Third-Party Services
To keep up with expectations, companies are relying on third-party services such as cloud providers, content delivery networks and tags (such as marketing analytics and social media plug-ins) to help them optimize their delivery and the user experience.

However, these external services are a double-edged sword as they add to the complexity of digital systems. The result: when something outside of one’s direct control breaks, identifying and isolating the problem requires the ability to sift through the many layers of site architecture to get to the root cause.

According to a recent survey from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), an IT and data management research and consulting firm, 77 percent of IT professionals cite lack of insight into the performance of the cloud and other third-party services as a major obstacle to identifying and troubleshooting root causes of problems

As digital architecture gets more complex, that inability to assess exactly what is happening in those third-party services and systems will only get worse.

The Right Digital Experience Monitoring Strategy
So where does all this leave you? You don’t want to avoid using third-party services, because they can provide a valuable advantage as you scale your business to reach new consumers, as well as add features to your website.

What then is the key to delivering the best possible online customer experience without shooting yourself in the foot?

The most important aspect of a digital experience monitoring strategy is to keep track and verify the performance of every aspect of your digital service delivery, be it your own first-party infrastructure and software, or a third-party service.

This ability to segment first- and third-party elements on the page will be invaluable when it comes to the all-important processes of diagnosing and troubleshooting performance issues. Obtaining that bird’s-eye view into your own performance, as well as that of external third-party services, will not only allow you to solve problems faster, but hold third-parties accountable as far as SLA compliance is concerned.

2016 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Performance
The challenges that third-party services can present  (most notably tags) were apparent during the most recent Black Friday/Cyber Monday long holiday weekend.

Even though the overall performance of e-commerce companies was the best it’s been in years, several major retailers suffered as a direct result of third-party performance degradations.  The reality is that most third-party tags are not designed to handle massive traffic loads.

Williams-Sonoma had ongoing performance issues because of problems with Photorank, a customer photo display service that integrates within a retailer’s website and is designed to help drive conversions. Both the retailer’s desktop and mobile sites had load time spikes around 25 seconds — unacceptably slow.

Elsewhere, Walmart experienced several issues throughout the long weekend, including spotty desktop web performance starting in Phoenix then extending to New York City and Denver as the weekend progressed, all resulting directly from an issue with a Rubicon Project tag.

The desktop sites of Lenovo, QVC and Newegg also experienced issues directly attributable to third-party tags on Cyber Monday, with Lenovo’s webpage load time spiking to more than 18 seconds in the middle of the day.

How to Protect Your Website
If you want to use third-party tags, your first line of defense needs to be a thorough vetting of any third-party service before you put them into place.

You wouldn’t hire a stranger to house sit for you while you’re away, so why would allow just anyone onto your digital properties?

Less is often more when it comes to third-party tags, and you should not only be asking yourself if a particular service is capable of providing the top-notch service you require, but also whether that service is even necessary. This vigilance becomes even more important during peak traffic periods, when the risk of misbehaving third-party tags multiplies.

Monitor Cloud Service Providers, CDNs
In addition to monitoring third-party tags, it is critical to monitor cloud service providers and content delivery networks (CDNs) as well. Clouds can provide instant scalability, while CDNs provide a valuable bridge to help you cut down content delivery latencies, improving the user experience for geographically dispersed users.

But remember, peak periods for you are likely peak periods for these external infrastructures as well, and they must be monitored constantly to ensure that they are performing up to par and protecting your users’ experience, and ultimately your brand.

With ecommerce maturing, there are fewer and fewer excuses for poor performance during both peak and non-peak traffic periods. Certainly, catastrophic failures like a massive power outage are always a possibility. However, even as the internet increases in complexity, most problems are still within your zone of control. Deriving actionable intelligence amidst a sea of growing IT complexity is the key.

The post Delivering Strong User Experiences in This Increasingly Digital World appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog.

About Mehdi Daoudi
Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.

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MATTHIEU
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Catchpoint

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Transparent

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AgilData

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DUFOUR
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NICTA

NIELSEN
Redis

PAOLAL-
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DataArchon

KAHN
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KIM
MapR

BROMHEAD
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GORBA-
CHEV

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THYKAT-
TIL

Navisite

TRELOAR
Bebaio

SIVARAMA-
KRISHNAN

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POTTER
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ROBINSON
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WARUSA
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WSO2 Inc

MEINER
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CHOU
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HARRISON
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KIM
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KANE
Dyn

SICULAR
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TURNER
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ADAMIAK
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KHAN
Solgenia

BONIFAZI
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SUSSMAN
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RMS

LYNN
CodeFutures

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Windstream

RAMA
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Virtusa

BOSTOCK
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GRILLI
Adobe

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Rancher Labs

CRISWELL
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COTY
Alert Logic

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SINGH
IBM

HAZARD
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SUBRA
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Emcien

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CTS

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GERSMA

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SLOPER
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EMC

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PRABHU
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LYNN
CodeFutures

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MOSHENKO
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BERMING-
HAM

SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

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Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRY-
MPLE

EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

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PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

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LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
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PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

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Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

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COWIE
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Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
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BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
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PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

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Cloudian

CALDERON
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AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
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Autodesk

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NIMBOXX

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IBM

GORDON
1Plug

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Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

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SHIBATA
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NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
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How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


Who Should Attend?
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Digital Transformation Blogs
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next-gen applications and how to address the challenges of building applications that harness all data t...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app security and encryption-related solutions. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from th...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.