Tag Archives: monitoring

5 things your business needs to do now to win the game of CX

#include <std_disclaimer.h>

I love the now and the place we are going. It’s so exciting for businesses and customers!

Trying to understand how business is changing technology and technology is changing business is so much fun. One of the themes I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is that IT and business have changed each other so much they are now one.

Call it the digital transformation that’s the driving force, ok, but that transformation is at least in part driven by our own over-indulged interactions with our digital devices and need for the constant pulse of engagement. I think everyone in my household could use a little 12-step digital addiction counseling including me :)

What a wonderful opportunity for brands to take advantage of human nature and pervasive connectedness!

Capitalizing on this opportunity for customer engagement will rely, at least in part, on how well your organization understands your conceptual value chain and can generate the three fuels that feed success.

The conceptual value chain looks something like this:

Business outcomes from
User behaviors because of
UX = Available + Feelsfast + Usable + Enjoyable (delivered by)
Applications depending on
Services running on
Servers residing in
Datacenters

That value chain runs on these fuels:

Customer experience planning and design is customer experience management largely as defined by Forrester. And they do a very good job of publishing guidance on the processes and roles required to do this well. The concept of the truly empowered “product owner” from Agile model is a much leaner interpretation for small teams. It really comes down to who owns the customer experience and the business outcomes generated.

Customer acquisition is primarily a sales and marketing function, and frankly there should be very little light shining between the cracks. Today, marketing is sales at scale. Brand message and core value proposition should be consistent in an omni-channel world. And it is the larger customer experience design – the what we have and why people care about it – that defines the product and experience. Sales and marketing almost becomes the way we project the emotional and business impact of the planned customer experience with it’s delightful fulfillment.

Fulfillment of the user experience has a hard and soft component. The hard component is the service delivery of the application. Is it available and does it feel fast? It’s the applications running on services that use servers in different data centers hierarchy. The soft component is the result of customer experience design and driven by usability factors like utility, ease and enjoyment.

Here are 5 things your organization can do right now to create the fuel you need to win big:

1 Tie the value chain together so everyone can understand and own business outcomes.
This means the what and the why needs to be very clearly stated. What is the desired business result? What user behaviors will get us to that business result? What user experience must be delivered to drive that user behavior? and so on. This means monitoring and metrics, metrics, metrics.

2 Get serious about UX
User experience is contact patch with the customer. It’s the blender that mixes the “just right experience” by carefully combining innovative CX planning and operational service delivery. The importance of UX needs executive voice as well as support at every level of the organization. Saying get serious about UX is almost like saying get serious about winning.

3 Be a team!
Stop having the business make requirements and IT produce deliverables. We – the business and IT people – need to use information and technology to collaborate and break through traditional business perimeters. To win big you have to win as a team!

4 Go faster.
Run projects with an Agile format and adopt a DevOps approach to your test and deploy methodology. Use the cloud to dev, build, test and deploy. It takes a lot less time that ordering, racking, and configuring hardware. These are big cultural changes so pick a project to start with and show the rest of your teams how successful and fun for the team the new ways can be.

5 Leverage analytics and big data.
We all talk about data-driven decisions, but a team of analysts spending a week gathering data in Excel from systems spread all over the company for last weeks data doesn’t cut it anymore. Monitoring both the service delivery systems and customer acquisition systems at every step of the value chain with real-time granular data is needed. There are so many areas where this can impact success. Analytics are the thread of data that ties the value chain together and shows you the business the moving parts as well as the whole. Analytics and anomaly detection are an important power tool so mere humans can get help knowing what might be changing and important to pay attention to in the sea of big data. Software analytics are the silent voice of the customer pointing to product usage and frustration.

Let’s stop building software and start building amazing user experiences that people can’t wait to share!

We are in the great monitoring renaissance

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Someone told me just yesterday that my head was in the clouds. That I was too much of a dreamer about monitoring, but I really disagree. We are in the great business and application monitoring renaissance!

Today, monitoring systems both open source and from leading vendors are simpler to implement and distill better intelligence about application performance than ever before and better capabilities are coming.

There are a pile of vendors that do all or most of the 5 APM dimensions described by Gartner. The future though is different. It’s something more, something with it’s own intuition to help us normal humans manage things well. And it will be more than a system that helps you become aware and address technical performance issues like today’s APM. It will be a system that helps you manage Customer Experience across all channels.

Someday we may have the internet of things (IoT) because everything will be a sensor, but we already have a lot of sensor data for managing business, applications, networks and platforms.

Many organizations already have sensors that collect performance and availability data from:
– synthetic end-user monitoring
– real user monitoring
– algorithm performance
– transaction tracing
– platform monitoring
– network performance monitoring
– database performance
– visitor analytics
– business performance statistics
– events like product releases

The bigger issue is that much of the above sensor data are still looked at in a non-integrated way.

What organizations need are business analytics and performance systems that give us the traditional shareable KPI dashboards with a layer underneath. That statistically powered, machine learning layer that includes analyzing the streams of “big data” coming from all those sensors in real-time, identifying anomalous behavior and correlating other anomalous events all the way from the technical stack, through to the user experience layer, and ending up with business results.

I was told that this is too complex. That it will never be mainstream.

Yes, performing streaming analysis of data in real-time and correlating that across hundreds or thousands of metrics is complex, and so is a fingerprint sensor on a smartphone. It’s ok if something is complex inside as long as the user interaction is not complex. Well designed products take very complex things and make them simple for users to leverage.

This isn’t anything as futuristic as AI. In fact, to me this seems like the maturation of business intelligence systems applied to customer experience. In the beginning there was the data. The data is big and raw and complex and hard to look at. Over the years we turned that data into information. Delivering reports and dashboards that make it easy to understand and ask questions of the data or build dashboards to show KPIs over time. The fulfillment of BI promise is that software systems can help us turn data into information and into knowledge.

That’s really what we are striving for. That our operational systems are smart enough to self-identify anomalous behavior anywhere is the business / technology stack. Machine detected anomalies effectively create a warrant which needs to be triaged before jumping in to action. But isn’t that what we really want from our business monitoring systems.

Tell me when something unusual is happening and provide all the related things that could be causing it.

Just my 2-cents. It doesn’t seem like rocket science to me.

Ken

Site24x7 Launches First Free Cloud Service to Ensure Your On-Premise Monitoring Products Are Working Effectively

Software Agents Report on Monitoring Software Health, CPU Use, Memory Use and More

  • Monitor existing on-premise monitoring products from the cloud – for free
  • Start/stop monitoring processes from your mobile device
  • Receive alerts if an on-premise monitoring solution goes down
  • Learn more about this free Site24x7 service at http://ow.ly/sDrvg

Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service from ManageEngine, today announced the launch of the first free, cloud-based service to monitor traditional on-premise network, system and application monitoring products. Available immediately, this new service enables IT groups to monitor the monitors themselves to make sure the software that companies rely on is working effectively – which is critical for the continuity of operations.

Think about it: On-premise monitoring software that fails is not in a position to report on its own failure. By monitoring the health of on-premises services from the cloud, Site24x7 can ensure that the enterprise does not lose the software eyes and ears it depends on for data center uptime, infrastructure reliability and performance.

“Many traditional IT management solutions can monitor your local – and cloud-based assets,” said Gibu Mathew, director of product management, Site24x7. “They’re critical to uptime, and we rely on them all the time. But how can we monitor the uptime and integrity of the monitoring products themselves? That’s the job we’ve built our new Site24x7 monitoring service to perform.”

Moving Beyond Homegrown Scripts

Many organizations try to monitor their monitoring software using homegrown scripts. At regular intervals, these scripts check to see that the management software is running. If it is not, they may try to alert an administrator. But such scripts typically provide very limited functionality and can be difficult to maintain, particularly in a complex environment with multiple management tools. Can the scripts reach an administrator who is traveling? Can they reach an alternative administrator if the primary administrator is on vacation? The engineers at Site24x7 wanted to find a more flexible and elegant way to overcome this vulnerability.

“Our software agents reside on the servers running a customer’s IT management solution,” said Mathew. “The agent monitors, in real time, the uptime of the monitoring system – using port checks, system uptime checks, process uptime checks and more. If a failure is detected in the monitoring software, the software agent reports up to Site24x7 in the cloud, which can immediately alert any individuals that the server owner specifies – via SMS, email, mobile push notifications for iPhone/Android and even voice calls! Operating in a SaaS capacity helps here, for once an administrator receives an alert, he can interact with Site24x7 in the cloud and take corrective actions via his mobile phone.”

A Self-Configuring Solution Covering Multiple On-Premise Products

The free Site24x7 monitoring service works with many of the most popular on-premise monitoring products:

  • ManageEngine
  • HP
  • Kaseya
  • Nagios
  • SolarWinds
  • Ipswitch

Clients taking advantage of this service must download and install a lightweight monitoring agent on the servers running their on-premise monitoring software. This agent automatically detects the monitoring product in use and begins monitoring its health. It passes status information to Site24x7 in the cloud using secure, firewall-friendly communications protocols. IT managers can view system status, percentage of CPU and memory use, thread and handle counts and more – for all their monitored servers – through a single Site24x7 console.

“As a SaaS offering, Site24x7 has long provided anytime/anywhere monitoring,” added Mathew. “It can alert you immediately about any issues with your websites, servers or applications. With this free service expansion, we can help ensure the effectiveness of your traditional monitoring tools and help safeguard your existing investments. If your traditional monitoring tools ever go down, Site24x7 will make sure you know about it.”

Pricing and Availability

This service is free of charge.