Recently our CMO, Nik Koutsoukos, and VP Operations, Tony Ferelli, joined Heavy Network on a podcast discussing Digital Experience Monitoring, and how effective monitoring requires a focus on the user experience. Most monitoring tools monitor from the network or application perspective. Now that microservices and multi-cloud environments are commonly used, monitoring is more challenging. The better monitoring approach is being user-centric.

Chasing Ghosts

Because of the organic nature of the internet and the services being accessed, traditional monitoring tools can actually create or exacerbate rather than identify problems. While some of these issues impact performance, they may not impede the user experience. When organizations don’t prioritize the user experience for monitoring the network, there is a risk of incorrectly prioritizing alerts. Chasing down these “ghosts” reduces trust in the monitoring tool and creates alert fatigue. Catchpoint was born out of a need to address anomalies with a focus on the user while being able to support the internet at scale. 

Moving Forward With a User-Centric Approach

Ensure a great user experience by monitoring the end-user experience; monitoring outside-in, that is, from the end user to the service or application, an organization is assured that all critical steps are visible, monitored, and measured. An application- or network-based approach can make it difficult to identify the right data sets to monitor and test since you are starting from the perspective of the application or the network. You may be missing significant components of the experience and miss identifying risks and failures. A user-centric approach eliminates the guesswork while helping you better visualize a more complete experience.

The User Can Be Anywhere

Because of the reach of the internet, users come from anywhere and everywhere. Having visibility from all corners of the globe and monitoring closer to where the user is, provides a more complete view of the end-user experience. And while part of this measured experience is not under direct control, it can help with measuring SLA commitments from service providers and provide insights that can help for future capacity planning.

Data Transformation in 2020

While most trends take time to measure, the global pandemic has caused a fundamental shift in understanding the user experience. In some respect, one could say that employee experience has aligned more closely with customer experience. With many jobs moving remote, the “how we use the internet” has changed. This has forced many enterprises to rethink their current data transformation strategy and is impacting how NetOps teams are supporting the user experience and measuring success. These changes are helping a transition away from measuring network availability towards network reachability. 

The “I Didn’t Do It” Mentality

Extending monitoring from availability to reachability, you are making two fundamental business changes. First, you are expanding accountability. There is an acronym used when something fails called MTTI: Mean Time to Innocence. Because of the sheer number of tools being used and the complexity of the network, many NetOps teams have to rule out problems in order to isolate the issue. If the failure is outside of the NetOps team’s purview, such as a disruption within a service provider’s cloud environment, it can be challenging to discover. With a user-centric approach to monitoring, you have insight into the entire application delivery chain. If the disruption falls outside your direct control, you now have irrefutable data to drive improvements against your SLAs. 

The Business Value 

The next fundamental business change is reducing tool sprawl to assure consistent data across the IT organization. There are financial savings and a performance optimization improvement with this approach. By reducing the number of tools being used to monitor applications and networks you have cost savings in services and maintenance. But more importantly, you are working with a single set of data. If your entire organization works with the same data sets, you can quickly analyze performance anomalies, isolate the problem, and resolve the issue.

Listen to Nik, Tony, and the Packet Pushers Podcast host, Greg Ferro, expand on these topics and talk about Catchpoint’s approach to digital experience monitoring which integrates synthetic testing, real-user monitoring, and network telemetry. The podcast is available here.