“Slow” is a subjective term. The person driving the 1973 Buick doing 55MPH in a 70MPH zone in the fast lane is SLOW to me. To the driver, he may feel like he’s driving in the Indy 500. The person with an overflowing cart of groceries using the self check-out lane at the grocery store may think this is the fastest way out. To you, in the line behind her with one item in your hand and the exact change to pay for it, molasses in January may be faster! We live in an instant gratification era. This means that for IT organizations, speed and end user perception can be very painful topics that are often regular points of discussion.
But don’t hang your head in despair – there is hope. A multi-prong approach to user experience management can provide the visibility you need to proactively identify application performance issues and remedy them before the phone rings.
- Start by monitoring the real experience end users have when interacting with your critical applications. You should look for a solution that passively monitors traffic in real-time to measure the performance of web-based applications. The ideal solution provides out-of-the box reports that indicate how the performance impacts the end user experience and service levels.
- Second, when you identify an application performance problem impacting real users, you need to be able to see what the user was doing during their session when they experienced the problem. The ideal solution allows you to view transactions from the end user’s perspective. This allows you to see each screen (as viewed by the end user) right up until they experienced the problem.
- Finally, it’s not enough to sit back and watch for problems, to really stay one step ahead, you need to regularly exercise the application by proactively running synthetic transactions across the application. This approach notifies you of a performance problem, even when users are not interacting with the application and gives you the opportunity to address the issue before the business is impacted. It also makes you look like a hero, and everyone secretly wants to be a hero, once in a while!
The thing about customers these days is if they have money and are ready to spend it but experience a problem with your application, they are more than happy to take their money and their business somewhere else. For employees using internal applications, they may not have the choice to use another application, but they can make your life painful by calling the help desk and complaining to management about the “slow” application. By passively monitoring real user transactions, viewing real user sessions, and actively exercising key transactions with synthetics, you may just find that calls to the help desk are compliments on how FAST the applications are running rather than complaints. We can all wish, right?