Digital Transformation presents a daunting task. Howard Beader, Vice President of Product Marketing, Catchpoint, provides insight into tackling many of these challenges.
The success of any Digital Transformation initiative hinges on centering new and innovative technologies at the heart of business strategy. When organizations get it right, innovation and even disruption follow. Yet there’s an often-overlooked problem as organizations adopt more advanced and potentially lucrative business frameworks. As technology layers pile up, overall complexity likewise multiplies and, all too often, performance degrades.
Today, multi-cloud environments, containers, microservices, SaaS applications and a multitude of APIs introduce enormous numbers of connections – but also many possible failure points and security risks.
Simultaneously, as organizations adopt more complex cloud-based environments to support flexible work, traffic increases across networks. Ensuring that customers, employees and others receive the best and most secure experience possible amidst this mounting complexity is a daunting task.
Unfortunately, many organizations wind up with a limited view of their application and network performance as much of the network is out of their control. However, top-performing organizations recognize that end-user digital experience observability is essential for Digital Transformation initiatives. It helps businesses avoid underperformance, interruptions and even security problems as what were previously blind spots are illuminated.
Eye on performance
One way to understand the problem is to think about a pizza delivery. It’s possible for a restaurant to produce a gourmet pizza but if the delivery motorbike hits a pothole and the pizza flies off the rack, it will likely be ruined. Applying this to the digital world, it’s evident that an incredibly sophisticated set of applications and capabilities can fail due to even the smallest delivery failure.
The outcome: a user waiting an unacceptable period of time or worse, they won’t be able to complete a transaction. Multiply this across many customers depending on the same backbone provider or DNS resolution service that has failed and we can see how profit and business reputation hangs on the line.
As organizations modernize and add technology components, the situation grows ever more complex. What’s simple for the customer becomes ever more challenging for the provider. Peering into the stack and outward to various servers and systems – often scattered across the globe – can degenerate into a trip down a rabbit hole.
For example, a seemingly simple e-Commerce transaction might involve hundreds of hops and a couple dozen APIs. An employee working at home may have a misconfigured VPN that causes performance problems that extend out to their interaction with customers.
The answer lies in thoroughly understanding what’s taking place at any given moment. Is a problem rooted in an API failure at a content delivery network site in another state or is the culprit a local backbone provider?
Is it an employee’s home router or their VPN configuration that is undermining the productivity of a remote employee or posing a security risk? Without total visibility, an organization is left in the dark, having to resort to guesses about the problem and the solution.
Ultimately, all Digital Transformation initiatives lead to the same place: user experience. Customers, employees and business partners aren’t green, yellow and red lights on a dashboard or numbers on a spreadsheet, they are people trying to accomplish real-world things, usually at speed, whether it’s viewing content at a website, buying a product through an app, or trying to get their work done in a home office.
The goal in every case is to offer a flawless experience. Yet, in order to accomplish this to the best of an organization’s abilities, two critical conditions are necessary. The first is a commitment to consolidating systems in the cloud – everything from the ability to dial up and down bandwidth and use containers and microservices to deploying virtual desktops and VPNs for employees. This builds a foundation for Digital Transformation through highly agile, flexible and scalable systems.
The second factor is the ability to observe everything. When an organization has visibility into the full spectrum of events and interactions taking place, it’s possible to optimize performance. With end-end-user digital experience observability in place, visibility extends across all websites, clouds, containers, services, systems, software, APIs and devices. Making it possible to identify problems as they appear as opposed to 500 failures later.
With AI-based synthetic agents-telemetry sources that ping sites and services constantly – an organization can detect problems the instant they pop up and proactively solve them before they begin to affect people.
What’s more, teams can detect and identify a wide range of problems immediately – whether the cause is latency, bad configurations, coding issues or security problems. With premium synthetic monitoring, it’s possible to drill down and understand performance in milliseconds.
Using both passive and active observability techniques, an organization can suddenly evolve beyond reactive and into the realm of proactive. And, most importantly, customers, employees and others receive the best possible digital experience.
End-user observability matters
Adopting a more advanced observability framework requires practical and cultural changes within the business. Naturally, organizations must-have the right performance observability solutions in place to view everything in context and in real-time, but they also must ensure that teams understand business and IT as usual won’t lead to true Digital Transformation. There must be a single-minded focus on delivering outstanding performance all the time.
There are other clear benefits to this approach. With a robust observability framework in place, an organization can ensure that everyone in the business ecosystem is living up to service level agreements (SLAs) and contractual obligations. Finger pointing and the blame game fade away. It’s instantly possible to identify the exact source of any performance problem while establishing realistic metrics and KPIs that hold everyone accountable.
As organizations ratchet up Digital Transformation efforts and move more deeply into the cloud, understanding exactly what is taking place at every moment of every day is nothing less than critical. It isn’t enough to assemble the right technologies, it’s vital to ensure that they operate effectively and synergistically. Customers, employees and partners must receive a consistent and flawless experience. Only then can Digital Transformation initiatives deliver the best possible results.Click below to share this article