The Digital Experience Trap: Are Companies Going Pro With Amateur Tools?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between world-class athletes and world-class IT systems. At first glance, it seems like there’d be little to compare, but there’s an interesting relationship between preparation and performance both these worlds share. During the Olympics, we see people cover 100 metres in under 10 seconds, cut through a pool in a minute, and stick landings with precision. But those seemingly effortless performances take complex physical and mental training. 

It’s hard work to make something look easy.

And it only gets harder. Each time these athletes level up, they face greater competition and higher audience expectations, forcing them to level up their training strategies at the same time. What cut it at the national level won’t be enough for internationals. Similarly, what was impressive two decades ago may be seen as table stakes today. Case in point: Breaking the “10-second barrier” was once considered a rare achievement for world-class sprinters; today it’s become an expectation. 

Just like Olympians, a similar tension exists for digital businesses trying to deliver leading digital experiences. A decade ago, an active social media presence and a well-designed website was considered impressive. Today, customers expect pages that load in under 3 seconds, intelligent recommendation engines, and one-click checkouts — and that’s just the minimum. 

As consumers become exposed to more digital experiences, the standard gets higher. In the world of digital experience, one company’s competitive advantage quickly becomes table stakes for all their competitors in the eyes of consumers. To offer these agile and seamless digital experiences, companies need complex IT environments employing technologies like cloud computing and containerization. 

Again, it’s hard to work to make something look easy. 

Digital Experience Expectations Grow Exponentially

But this is where the similarities between Olympians and digital businesses start to diverge. For a pro athlete, changing expectations and training requirements happen gradually and linearly. No human sprinter will be expected to cover 100 metres in two seconds. 

But for digital businesses, the rate of change is exponential.

These digital businesses have jumped from managing hundreds of dollars per second to hundreds of thousands of dollars of transactions per second and that number is only growing. A one- to five-second delay increases the probability of page bounce by 90 percent. Get closer to 10 seconds and that number goes up to 123 percent. A few minutes of degraded performance or down time can lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Olympic-Level Digital Experiences Call For Professional Tools

What prevents this kind of degraded performance? Digital experience monitoring tools. Most companies have them, but they’re built for a bygone era where applications lived in data centre. These tools were built for a time when a four-hour website outage was an isolated incident. They are no longer fit for a world where an outage of even a few minutes poses an existential threat. 

Today’s digital businesses have voluminous amounts of data pouring in from sophisticated cloud environments, so they need tools specifically designed for these environments that can:

  • Analyze all the data in real time – not just samplings of a few seconds of data
  • Alert administrators of potential performance issues 
  • Use machine learning to automatically remediate issues

The results can have an outsized business impact. Consider these examples of companies that used Splunk’s digital experience monitoring solutions to level up their game:

  • A multinational retail company with over $600 billion CAD in revenue raised its revenue by 1% thanks to a 100-millisecond improvement
  • A multinational telecommunications company with over $64 billion CAD in revenue increased sales by 8% thanks to a 31% LCP increase (a measurement of perceived load speed)

Operating a world-class digital business without the right monitoring tools would be similar to a pro athlete relying on their friends and family to monitor their performance, plan their diet, or design their training program. This may have worked in the early days of their career, but it certainly won’t help them upgrade their natural abilities to compete on bigger stages.

So what do organizations need to do to ensure their digital experiences can keep up?

  • Shift to the cloud: Today, most businesses don’t have time to wait to set up new servers in a data centre. They need instant availability to meet business needs. By 2024, over 45 percent of IT spending will shift from traditional solutions to the cloud. 
  • Shift to containerization: To achieve portability, efficiency, and scalability, businesses need to embrace containerization. Over 75 percent of global organizations will run containerized applications in production by 2022. 
  • Develop and strengthen a DevOps culture: Previously, digital experience monitoring tools were considered an afterthought to development. Today, these tools must be an integrated feature. This relies on a strong DevOps culture.

Above all, organizations must re-evaluate their tools if they want to compete. Digital experience no longer occurs in traditional, well-defined environments. Moving forward, companies will need tools designed for cloud environments where resources are spun up and spun down in a decentralized way. 

Consumer expectations won’t decrease any time soon. They’re only getting bigger. Without the right tools to maintain them, expensive digital transformation projects will lead to expensive but poor digital experiences.

Think of your cool digital transformation projects like the gold medal athlete on the cereal box. It’s the fun, glamorous part of being an A-player. But to get on the box – and stay there – that athlete needs a constantly evolving nutrition plan, training regimen and sleep schedule. 

Your equivalent is your digital experience tools, and they’re essential to winning.

Learn more about the power of cloud-based digital monitoring tools in our whitepaper, "Making Sense of Digital Experience Monitoring Solutions."

Dino Marasco

Posted by


Show All Tags
Show Less Tags