From Visibility to Insights

The ability to gather telemetry, analyze business flows, and generate actionable insights is going to be critical to any business that relies on the customer experience. That's increasingly every business.

Lori MacVittie

June 25, 2020

4 Min Read
From Visibility to Insights
(Source: Pixabay)

Once we achieve end-to-end visibility, what are we going to do with that super power? 

When we, as an industry, talking about the need for visibility, we tend to explain that need in vague terms of troubleshooting, capacity planning, and tracking service level agreements (SLA). That may have been the case when we first started trying to achieve the visibility necessary to understand, operate, and manage growing portfolios of packaged and developed, internal and external applications.

Today, the need for visibility goes beyond another dashboard. The growth of application portfolios is accelerating, in part, to a shift in consumer appetite from person-to-person to digital interactions. Convenience is certainly a factor, as is choice. After all, in the brick-and-mortar heyday, I could only choose a bank with a regional presence. Digitization means I can choose a bank anywhere.

But this shift has a real impact on business and its operations. Customer experience is replacing customer service. The measure of a "good experience" today is how long it took to open an account or buy a product, not how long you waited in a line.

Gone, too, are the days of monolithic applications representing an entire customer experience. Today, the individual tasks that make up an interaction are orchestrated from multiple applications.  Business flows across multiple applications, and the customer experience increasingly demands the ability to seamlessly move between them at will.

83% of consumers say the ability to move from one assisted channel to another, such as moving from web chat to a live conversation, is desirable. (Genesys

No single performance or availability metric is enough to measure the customer experience. To do that, we need measurements from every application that makes up a customer experience. For visibility today to serve the business, it needs to provide the means to measure the business flows that drive revenue and productivity.

More importantly, it needs to offer a way to act on issues that threaten the customer experience. The same digitization that expands the reach of a business can also be the singular reason for loss of business. According to PWC, “32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience.” (emphasis added)

One bad experience. One. There are no second chances with nearly a third of your customers. 

That means you need to go further than just visibility. Knowing there's a problem is half the battle, doing something about is what wins that battle.

That doing something is closing the loop with analytics and automation.

If we have the telemetry that gives us visibility into a business flow, we can analyze it. We can understand what constitutes a good customer experience and measure interactions against that. And when we inevitably detect a component of that flow that's misbehaving and threatening the customer experience, we should be able to do something about it.

The enablement of automation via APIs across the entire customer experience path - from the web server to the application services to the client - means the ability to automatically adjust the policies governing delivery and security based on insights gleaned from analytics.

If the quality of a customer experience is in jeopardy due to a misbehaving component, we should be able to automatically retarget the business flow to a copy of that component that isn't misbehaving. Whether that remediation is initiated by an operator or the system is up to the business, but we should be able to do it either way. 

This isn't just about avoiding negative consequences. That same PWC research noted that "companies with great experiences have a 16% price premium on products and services."

The ability to gather telemetry, analyze business flows, and generate actionable insights is going to be critical to any business that relies on the customer experience. That's increasingly every business.

About the Author(s)

Lori MacVittie

Principal Technical Evangelist, Office of the CTO at F5 Networks

Lori MacVittie is the principal technical evangelist for cloud computing, cloud and application security, and application delivery and is responsible for education and evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University. She also serves on the Board of Regents for the DevOps Institute and CloudNOW, and has been named one of the top influential women in DevOps.

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