A great experience is at the center of any successful business. Yet, in the digital realm, putting a strategy into motion and ensuring that customers, employees and partners are able to accomplish tasks quickly and seamlessly can prove challenging. Mehdi Daoudi, CEO and co-founder of Catchpoint, the Digital Experience Observability Leader offers his views on how organizations can ensure they are delivering flawless digital services.
Below is our recent interview with Mehdi Daoudi, CEO and co-founder at Catchpoint:
Q: Why is digital experience observability important and how do you define it?
A: Digital Experience Observability is a straightforward concept. It means that you have a comprehensive view of how your entire digital delivery chain operates. Yet it is extraordinarily difficult to pull off. Today’s IT environments are incredibly complex. There are multi-cloud frameworks, containers, APIs, VPNs, and many, many other factors where things can and do go wrong. In today’s complex digital environment, end to end observability into your IT frameworks is critical.
Q: How has the pandemic changed things?
A: It was like adding rocket fuel to what was already a digital fire. Suddenly, businesses had to overnight set up an entirely remote or hybrid workforce and all industries found themselves having to massively accelerate digital initiatives. The debate of where a company needs to pivot to be successful is over. Today, you either embrace digital, or you die as a business. Moreover, customer and employee expectations have become more demanding than ever. If a user can’t find a product or service on a website in a handful of clicks, they will move on. If an employee has poor connectivity from the café they are working in, they still expect to perform their work as efficiently as if they were in an office. Meeting these demands is essential, and companies must continually re-adapt. Solving visibility gaps in a complex digital landscape is one of the most important first steps on this critical path.
Q: What are some of the repercussions for organizations that lack deep visibility?
A: It’s easy to overlook just how intertwined today’s systems are and how they impact each other. A typical web transaction may involve dozens or even hundreds of APIs and hops that cover the globe. Overall, a thousand or more calls may be involved to perform a single function. All it takes is one underperforming component, somewhere in this vast universe of systems, to bring down the entire stack of cards. These slowdowns and interruptions undermine employees and customers, blemish brand and reputation, and negatively impact sales.
Q: How is the observability environment changing and evolving?
A: In the past, organizations typically relied on specific point tools, such as application performance monitoring (APM), logs and other tools. In today’s environment, this inside-out approach isn’t up to the task. It delivers a limited and disconnected view of digital experience across geographies and resources, which makes it difficult to understand what is really happening to end user experience.
Q: What’s required to develop a strategy and build a framework that’s equipped to handle today’s digital environment?
A: Business and IT leaders must think about things within the context of digital-native, or Industry 4.0, meaning the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s crucial to view systems as a whole–and understand exactly what’s happening at any point and at any moment within the IT framework. This must take place in real time. You can’t afford to wait until a pileup of 500 failed transactions takes place.
Q: What technology framework is required to gain a more comprehensive view and take detection to the next level?
A: Think of it in terms of sensors embedded in a freeway’s pavement. They instantly detect when traffic slows or comes to a complete halt. You can then view this information and take the appropriate action. Similarly, best-in-class end user observability frameworks disperse monitoring telemetry sources across the internet to gain an outside-in view of your customers’ and employees’ end-to-end digital experience. They analyze web and app performance at a granular level—down to the millisecond. Making it possible to understand exactly what’s going on for your users from their perspective.
Q: What types of abilities are possible with this type of digital experience observability?
A: Digital experience observability lets you gain visibility into disparate, distributed services—content delivery networks, DNS services, API, SaaS, and other third-party cloud-based services. Visibility resulting from telemetry where traditional agent based APM or systems monitoring has no reach. Combine this with passive observability at the point of use, such as browsers and devices, and actual user interactions are now possible to understand. All of this happens within a single pane of glass. It’s suddenly possible to not only understand the “what” of the situation but also the “why.” Allowing you to move beyond metrics and green, yellow and red signals to actionable data.
Q: What benefits result from building out a more robust observability framework?
A: The biggest benefit is that you ensure customers are receiving the best possible experience every minute of every day. Let’s face it, the choices and options online are remarkable, and if you don’t measure up, people navigate elsewhere and take their business with them. But there are other, often overlooked benefits to best practice digital experience observability. It can improve employee experience—and even help attract and retain talent. It also can help a business establish more enforceable service level agreements with service providers. When there are verifiable facts, finger pointing goes away.
Q: Overall, what else should business leaders be thinking about in regard to digital experience and observability?
A: Things are not going to get any simpler. The pace of digital innovation is continually accelerating and there’s growing pressure on organizations to stamp out latency and interruptions. Good is no longer good enough. Organizations must become more proactive and establish an end-to-end observability framework that provides an outside-in view. Legacy monitoring methods are woefully outdated. Today, a business must deliver the best possible experience to its customers and employees every minute of every day, and the only way to ensure you are doing this is to update your monitoring and observability posture.