Digital transformation is reshaping how businesses sell and customers buy via applications. Businesses are building unique, interactive customer experiences through their tiered applications that are tailored for customers based on behavior. This allows for consumption from any device at anytime and anywhere. Ubiquitous computing and consumption for all is the aim for businesses. Digital transformation is all about reducing the barrier to consume services, aka frictionless consumption. With this context, the web and mobile experience are at the fore of the movement to change the digital landscape. And at the center of this digital storm is application and application performance management (APM).
Application performance management is a primary responsibility of IT professionals regardless of specialty or certification path. Ask ten engineers and you’ll likely get ten different definitions of APM. APM is a function of both the underlying, connected infrastructure services and the application code. As stated by SolarWinds CTO, Joe Kim, the end goal remains keeping the application healthy and running smoothly. This goal is constant whether your IT department is strictly on-premises, completely off-premises, or a mix of the two: a hybrid IT environment.
Cloud and mobile applications represent availability, agility, and scalability that meets enduser consumption. User experience needs baselines and trend data to establish application performance and behavior. This forms the basis for the expected Quality of Service (QoS) and places bounds on the service level agreement between the business and the user. IT professionals are the backers of the checks that their business writes to customers with respect to user experience. Applying real user monitoring (RUM) is key to optimizing and positively influence the user experience and is a tenet of APM.
RUM involves recording all user interaction with a website or client interacting with an application server or cloud-based application. RUM’s benefit is to quickly determine if users are being served efficiently (minimal latency between interactions) and effectively (minimal errors during interactions). Software as a Service and web service providers use real user monitoring data to manage QoS to their customers at their respective end-points — i.e., the browsers running on their laptops, tablets, or mobile devices.
How Does RUM Work?
Real user monitoring collects web traffic by injecting code into a webpage or native code within applications to ascertain performance and health feedback from the browser or client end-point. RUM data is key to troubleshooting website errors or slowdowns. Note that this is different than synthetic monitoring with automated web browsers, which relies on actual inbound and outbound web traffic to record measurements.
Unlock The Potential Of RUM
RUM requires discipline and rigor, as well as a proper toolset that allows one to aggregate the data and quickly surface the single point of truth from the business to the enduser. Leveraging skills like SolarWinds® DART-SOAR framework as the foundation for monitoring as a discipline, IT professionals can meet the SLA for enduser experience from their applications to endpoints.
Furthermore, IT professionals can combine real user monitoring with data and insights from application tracing, operational services, database systems, and networks to get a holistic view of their application, since the application stack usually extends beyond the front-end website and web services. This allows IT professionals to quickly eliminate false positives during troubleshooting fire drills.
Finally, by having baseline and trend RUM data, IT professionals can establish protocol to remediate incidents up and down the application stack such as longer response times or web services that are experiencing trouble.
In closing, real user monitoring is an integral part of delivering stellar user experience via application performance management. IT professionals will do well to unlock its potential to the fullest as they fulfill their SLA to endusers.