The growing importance of digital transformation means that digital channels have become critical mechanisms for many companies to interact with their customers.

The mission-critical aspect of engagement requires organizations in every industry to consider how digital performance can affect customer behavior. Confusing website navigation, long click paths, and slow or incomplete transactions can quickly drive customers to competitors. A single delay opens the door to customers abandoning a shopping cart to search for a competitor.

In this video, Dynatrace Senior Vice President & General Manager of Digital Experience, Marc Olesen, explains digital performance and the impact on customer experience.

Digital Experience and Application Performance

Michael Krigsman: I’m Michael Krigsman, and we’re talking with Marc Oleson, who is the General Manager for Digital Experience at Dynatrace. And we’re going to talk about performance, and customer experience, and digital experience. Marc Olesen, how are you, and thanks for taking a few minutes to speak with us today.

Marc Olesen: Good! Thanks, Michael. Thanks for having me.

Michael Krigsman: So Marc, when we talk about digital performance, what is it, and why is it important? Why should we care?

Marc Olesen: You know, the digital channel for organizations really used to be about accessing information. Performance was relevant, but not critical. Today, when you think that the digital channel is the business model for many organizations; it’s the only channel to revenue, to growth, to customer retention. Performance is absolutely critical to those underpinnings, and it’s driving a lot of competitive differentiation as well today. For instance, Comcast is integrating voice into their experience for customers and users. They’re also integrating multiple components: for instance, they’ve incorporated Rotten Tomatoes, which does movie reviews, into their movie guide, again driving better differentiation for them. But when you start to have more dependencies across these third parties, performance again becomes critical to ensuring a seamless user experience.

Michael Krigsman: Marc, when you talk about dependencies, can you be more specific? What are you referring to?

Marc Olesen: Yeah, well there’s a few, right? So one set of dependencies is the one I was just talking about, where there’s third fact on average, for Dynatrace customers, they have 27 third-party integrations in their websites or mobile apps. Those 27 components, they don’t have direct control over, so there’s complexity there in managing and monitoring that performance. The other complexity is just the architectural stack itself. We can have one customer that has 820 billion dependencies, different dependencies, in their architectural stack.

Michael Krigsman: So these dependencies aggregate together to create a series of, could we say, additive performance issues. Would that be correct?

Marc Olesen: They could represent performance challenges, absolutely.

Michael Krigsman: Now, what does this have to do with customer experience? So what’s the linkage there?

Marc Olesen: Yeah, so the link is, on the customer experience front, it’s all about optimizing that experience for the user in terms of the steps or click paths that they may be on in a website, in terms of the information that an organization wants a user to have access to and to be able to digest, right? That’s driving an intimate relationship with the user. However, again, performance and digital experience is the foundation of that. You can’t deliver a flawless customer experience without a flawless digital experience, and a flawless performance foundation.

Michael Krigsman: And you mentioned earlier that many organizations now have a business model that incorporates online channels, and so therefore, serving up the right customer experience becomes crucial to meeting their core business objectives.

Marc Olesen: Absolutely crucial, in fact a recent study I was just exposed to: over half of the users who had a poor experience did not go back and purchase from that particular vendor. Over half of the users! There’s a high degree of expectation around the performance of the user experience.

Michael Krigsman: So what happened? Did the site just slow and the users just jump to somewhere else? What’s the mechanism that causes that interruption of a possible revenue stream?

Marc Olesen: Yeah, well you know, the mechanism is performance, so it could be a breakdown in any of the dependencies or areas of the infrastructure that we talked about; but, what’s happening is, they can jump, because really there’s this level playing field now. Brands and options have been democratized, so it’s very easy for you to jump to almost an equally attractive solution or product.

Michael Krigsman: So it’s very easy to just go from your site, which is slow, to your competitor’s site, which is there.

Marc Olesen: Yeah, and again, it underscores and reinforces just what you’re saying, Michael, which is how critical and important the user experience. There’s a co-dependency there, they go hand-in-hand.

Michael Krigsman: So, you’ve explained, Marc, the complexity of sites with third-party integrations and all of these various dependencies. So given this environment, what recommendations do you have, or advice, for addressing this performance problem, and therefore, helping ensure a better user experience for the people that are your potential buyers?

Marc Olesen: Yeah. And you know, so ultimately, I would always start with what are the business objectives, what’s the business outcome, what’s the supporting user experience; again, the click paths or the information or content they want in the hands of the user. And then, the foundational performance needs to be, you know, assessed in different ways. And, what I would say is, specifically, [there are] three ways to triangulate around performance. So, the first is active monitoring, you want to be simulating what your users are going to be doing, helping you identify the problems before a user actually experiences it. You want to be, of course, looking at what your users are going to be doing when they’re going in the website; what issues they may be facing. You want to solicit feedback from them, qualitative feedback, on their performance or experience.

Also in pulling it all together: it’s the analytics of pulling all of it together; being able to correlate the active monitoring, the passive monitoring, the qualitative experience to ultimately drive your investment decisions around performance.

Michael Krigsman: So, [it’s] essentially being able to diagnose the underlying components of the site, and correlate that to where performance bottlenecks or issues may be happening.

Marc Olesen: Yes. With the actual users.

Michael Krigsman: Fantastic! Marc Olesen, General Manager of Digital Experience for Dynatrace, thanks alot. It was nice talking to you.

Marc Olesen: Thanks a lot, Michael.