March 21, 2023

What is Digital Experience Monitoring?

Many enterprises need help managing the growing complexity of software and increasing user expectations. Unfortunately, tracking errors and measuring the user experience has only added to that complexity. These challenges are particularly acute for enterprises already going through or struggling to adapt to a digital transformation.

This article examines how Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) offers a simple framework for managing complexity and how you can start incorporating it into your enterprise with BugSnag.

What is Digital Experience Monitoring?

Applications have become increasingly complex over time. Rather than a single team building and maintaining a monolith, today’s applications consist of a dizzying array of microservices, each managed by separate groups. Regrettably, breakdowns between these microservices and different teams can quickly degrade the customer experience.

Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) involves monitoring an entire application – including its microservices and other dependencies – to ensure it’s running smoothly for all users. If errors or exceptions arise, DEM solutions identify the root cause and efficiently route the problems to the correct team for prompt remediation.

What’s the Difference Between APM, RUM & DEM?

Many organizations leverage Application Performance Monitoring (APM) to measure application stability and surface any errors or exceptions. For example, APM solutions track metrics like memory and CPU usage, application error rates, and downtime. Using this information, engineers can quickly identify and fix problems with the application.

While APM solutions focus on technical performance, Real User Monitoring (RUM) focuses on the user experience. These solutions track real-user sessions to measure everything from error rates impacting users to how quickly they accomplish critical workflows. These data points can surface errors and help inform product development more broadly.

Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) combines these concepts to create a broad approach. DEM measures real users and covers different devices, applications, networks, and other resources relating to user experience. For example, in addition to APM and RUM, these solutions might track third-party API performance, CDN performance, or M2M endpoints.

Benefits of Digital Experience Monitoring

  • Better Visibility – Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) solutions provide a wealth of data you can use to make data-driven decisions. For example, product managers can decide when to build new features versus spending time fixing bugs, and stakeholders can make needs-based procurement decisions to optimize the budget.
  • Happier Team – DEM solutions help surface problems quickly before they become more challenging. As a result, engineers have fewer and less complex technical bugs and more time to spend building features. And happier team members often translate to better productivity and less turnover.
  • More Innovation – DEM solutions provide critical insights into the user experience, enabling product teams to avoid guesswork and deliver features that improve retention and customer success. At the same time, fewer bugs mean engineers can focus on building features, helping accelerate development velocity.

Developing an Effective DEM Strategy

Digital Experience Management (DEM) isn’t a set-and-forget solution. Without a realistic and actionable plan, DEM-generated data will do little more than collect dust on a server somewhere. Therefore, developing a strategy to collect and use the data to make tangible improvements to internal processes and the user experience is essential.

There are several steps to the process:

  1. Set Goals – Set goals for your application or user experience and determine the metrics you need to measure them. For instance, you may want to achieve a 98% error-free session rate and calculate the number of error-free sessions as a percentage of the total.
  1. Create Processes – Make sure everyone is on the same page concerning internal processes like bug fixes. For example, determine who is responsible for fixing what parts of the application or types of bugs or exceptions that arise.
  1. Integrate Solutions – Identify DEM solutions that work with your existing tech stack to streamline integrations. For instance, DEM solutions should work with your current CI/CD processes and easily integrate into your application with SDKs and APIs.
  1. Measure & Follow-Up – Monitor progress toward achieving your earlier KPIs and follow up on any problems. At a high level, meet to assess long-term trends and ensure you’re getting the most value out of the data collected from DEM solutions.

Getting Started with BugSnag

Real User Monitoring (RUM) is essential to the Digital Experience Management (DEM) ecosystem. Collecting data from real user sessions lets you quickly prioritize bugs based on their actual impact and ensure optimal user experiences. At the same time, product teams can look at actual usage to make more informed design decisions.

BugSnag makes it easy to implement real user monitoring with libraries for over 50 platforms and integrations with the most popular development tools. After adding a few lines of code, you can instantly start collecting error data from real user sessions and route those errors to your existing team communication or bug-tracking apps.

BugSnag’s Stability Scores make it easy to decide between developing new features or fixing bugs. Source: BugSnag

The platform automatically prioritizes bugs based on their impact on actual users. In addition, you can define VIP user segments to prioritize bugs based on SLAs or other factors. Then, you can route these bugs to the correct team using bookmarks. As a result, engineers have less notification fatigue and can quickly resolve relevant issues.

Meanwhile, product managers can access a high-level overview of errors impacting each feature or release. For example, you can set a minimum Stability Score and instantly see whether your team should be working on new features or fixing bugs. And you can track these trends over time to ensure the product is constantly improving.

The Bottom Line

Software is becoming more complex, and customer expectations are rising, creating new challenges for enterprises. Fortunately, Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) provides a helpful framework and toolset for monitoring an entire application to ensure it runs smoothly for all users and then quickly resolves any problems.

BugSnag offers an easy-to-use real-user monitoring component to a DEM approach. With easy integrations and actionable dashboards, engineering and product management teams can promptly access the information they need to make “go”/”no-go” decisions and quickly prioritize, diagnose, and fix issues impacting real users.

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