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Navigating 7 digital experience monitoring challenges

Evaluating both customer and employee digital experience is increasingly valuable in the enterprise. Leaders will need to plan for the challenges that come with this new technology.

The increasing importance of tracking and evaluating both customer and employee experience can't be overstated in the enterprise. If companies want to reap the many benefits of digital experience monitoring as it comes into the fold, they'll need to navigate the common pitfalls and challenges.

Digital experience monitoring (DEM) can help CIOs ensure their technology investments pay off for employees and customers. At a high level, teams need to think about ways of linking the performance of infrastructures and the apps that run on them with measurable business results.

Both the customer experience (CX) and employee experience aspects sit in the middle of business and infrastructure metrics. On the business side, CIOs need to find ways to justify budgets and align metrics with business workflows. On the technical side, teams need to find ways of extracting useful information from apps that touch many back-end systems. And, in the middle, teams face challenges in defining what a good experience looks like and how to measure it in practice.

1. Allocating budget

DEM is a relatively new idea, and business teams sometimes struggle with quantifying how it can save money or drive sales. Bob Taylor, chief digital officer at From, a digital transformation consultancy, said he often sees companies struggle with developing the desire to allocate budget and resources to DEM projects.

Bob TaylorBob Taylor

He sees factors like the move to the cloud and increased work from home driven by COVID-19 making it harder to understand what's affecting employee experience. Gartner forecasted that, in the future, 70% of digital business initiatives will require infrastructure and operations teams to report on the business metrics of digital experience, up from 15% today.

CIOs need to be creative in translating the value of improved digital experience through digital experience monitoring to their bottom line. Taylor advocated starting with the business impact, which drives more buy-in. Good storytelling can also help teams recognize the moments that matter and identify metrics that can improve them.

Doina HarrisDoina Harris

2. Building actionable workflows

Another challenge lies in developing actionable workflows that create value from DEM data, said Doina Harris, chief product officer at Simon Data, an enterprise customer data platform. She recommended identifying opportunities to build proactive triggers into CX or CRM systems that create things like tickets, tasks or cases.

For example, Nuts.com, an online grocer, creates tickets in Zendesk when customers rate their purchase experience a 1 or 2 -- on a 5-point scale -- and have their support agents work through a backlog of these tickets when inbound ticket volume is low. These tickets have information on what customers purchased, their exact feedback from the survey and other historical elements, such as additional past purchases, recent browsing behavior and recent marketing messages they've received.

Wyndham Destinations, a timeshare company, exposes its customer profile to Salesforce Service Cloud via Simon Data's Audience API. This provides Wyndham agents with customer context regarding renewal and any recent timeshare searches that failed based on lack of availability with associated resort recommendations. This information enables agents to proactively engage in renewal conversations with members and provide resort recommendations to members who are unable to go to the resort they intended to on their vacation dates.

Ivan KotIvan Kot

3. Managing employee experience

Ivan Kot, solution consultant at Itransition, a software development consultancy, said popular CRM systems are starting to provide DEM modules to get companies started for CX. But the same process for employee experience is relatively new.

He recommended companies define specialists in the appropriate department who will be responsible for an internal DEM rollout, such as HR managers, project managers or team leads, before buying a specific digital experience monitoring offering. These managers can also identify metrics that provide value to their teams. He expects many enterprises will develop their own unique mix of DEM metrics that get built into employee portals, HR systems and productivity tools.

Brett ThomasBrett Thomas

4. Separating signal from noise

The value of DEM lies in connecting the dots between metrics and good CX. But there can be many metrics to consider.

Brett Thomas, back-end engineering director at OneSignal, a push notification service, said: "As with any monitoring system, the big challenge is separating the signal from the noise." It's easy to just throw instrumentation on everything and then drown in useless alerts that don't help track down anything. DEM implementation should include a process for removing useless alerts and recognizing when customer problems would've been made more visible with different types of data.

Brian BernsBrian Berns

5. Monitoring conflicts

Teams also need to navigate the office politics surrounding the management of different monitoring products. DEM can sit in the middle of business metrics, infrastructure and application monitoring managed by different teams.

"Many executives may see DEM as conflicting with existing monitoring tools," said Brian Berns, CEO of Knoa Software, a digital experience monitoring solutions provider. It's important to communicate how DEM products can add user data to the existing view of monitoring from tools such as application performance monitoring platforms.

Jay MenonJay Menon

6. Allocating responsibility

There are many factors that can break CX: an overloaded network, inadequate cloud provisioning, a broken third-party service or an application defect. Fixing these problems often relies on identifying the best internal resources and a smooth handoff between them, said Jay Menon, associate product manager at OpsRamp, an IT operations management platform.

A centralized task board can help align efforts across different teams. It's also valuable to have subject matter experts in various technology domains ensure the DEM tools can keep up with the pace of evolution across domains like new OSes, networks and infrastructure.

Charles EdgeCharles Edge

7. Prioritizing privacy and compliance

Charles Edge, CTO of Bootstrappers.mn, a startup accelerator in Minnesota, said the biggest challenges his team has encountered implementing DEM have been around privacy and compliance. This is a concern since digital experience monitoring can involve finding new ways to mix and match monitoring and consumer data across platforms managed by different vendors.

He found that some vendors have less stringent policies than he believes are necessary. As a result, his team needs to vet data processing agreements (DPAs) to verify that no personally identifiable data is made available through the platform. It's also useful to think about controlling the flow of even anonymized data, which can sometimes be reconstituted in ways that create privacy problems. He believes it is important to go through each privacy policy and shore up DPAs in all places where data will be stored and aggregated.

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