Looking for a needle in a needle stack

|November 3, 2016 0
The app economy and the accompanying deluge of data have given a new dimension to the word 'digital business'. Would it help to drill down into invisible pits that apps are shoveling in a frenetic way? Would it be easy to crawl inside insights?

Pratima H

MUMBAI, INDIA: When 74 per cent senior level business and IT executives report improvement in customer experience, 76 per cent applaud improvement in digital reach, 33 per cent indicate increase in speed to market and 37 per cent point at increase in new business revenue when calibrating tangible benefits of digital transformation; it makes one sit up and get curious.

In a recent survey, CA Technologies tried to give a palpable texture to the significant impact digital transformation is having on enterprises worldwide and the global study ‘Keeping Score: Why Digital Transformation Matters’ observed that deepening adoption of practices such as agile, DevOps, API management and identity-centric security can boost business impact by up to 52 per cent.


Who is on the wagon? Almost everyone – telecoms (59 per cent), banking & financial services (57 per cent), public sector (56 per cent), retail (54 per cent) and healthcare (53 per cent) with the public sector surprising in the hard-to-miss emphasis that governments have been placing on leveraging the app economy and digital transformation to provide more jobs, increase tax revenue and provide better services to their citizens.

Now what could be converting digital strategies into actual numbers? Or shall we ask it the other way – how easy is it to arrive at these progress flags? When everyone is chanting the digital anthem and rummaging these new corners for a better grip on customers, does data and the presence of a new, almost-endless smorgasbord of touch-points really help?

We let Chris Kline, VP, APM Product Management, CA Technologies sort these doubts out in this interesting interview about where analytics intersects with apps, and whether it helps?

Apps and dissection – sounds really daunting given the proliferation of apps that most industries are jumping into. What can make it feasible and worth the effort?

We all know how customers of this age are getting accustomed to multiple channels of engagement and are increasingly hopping between touch points under the assumption that they will see the same data and options across all platforms. They need a seamless user experience from across every channel they engage with and that can be done through intuitive visualizations into the digital user experience and thus, giving decision makers real-time actionable insight into buying trends, retention rates, and performance. This can enable them in a huge way to identify adjustments to apps that can help them retain and attract new customers.

Can more ‘what’ be easily translated into more ‘why’ with all this data uncovered?

Yes, error analysis and tools help with many such aspects. Every swipe and every touch-point is captured with a path in what we are offering for this problem. We don’t focus on standard paths but actual paths. We think in terms of the user and get to the root of what really built up the issue or app-gap.

Where does outside-in view help besides the inside-out one?

Think of number of users affected in a given situation and then translate it in terms of financial implications and business impact and you would get a sense of the scope that an app’s performance can lead to. Blending both the views is very important here. Business owner or tech views, they both need to figure out what happened with transaction rates and the errors underneath. When an app experience fails, it can be due to design, code or infrastructure issues. Design again, is not about how pretty an app is but about the convergence of interactions with the app. So one has to take in every dimension.

So how does that work in what you are bringing to the table?

CA App Experience Analytics watches the user’s journey from the outside in to understand if they’re having a good experience or not. It is a SaaS solution that enables organizations to deliver a premium customer experience across the increasing number of digital channels used by today’s consumers. For application owners responsible for digital initiatives, it delivers application performance, crash analytics and usage analytics for Web, mobile, and wearable apps.

We provide the context to help the business make better decisions to strengthen the experience and thus the brand. Our secret sauce is that we then connect this outside-in view (across both web and mobile) to the inside-out view that our domain-expert tools (such as APM provide). Thus we can peek behind the curtain to answer the ‘why’ question when that journey isn’t meeting expectations.

chris-kline CA

Chris Kline

How exactly does the tool handle the ‘why’ part and how real-time it potentially is?

It is built on an open, flexible, web scale analytics platform that uniquely combines user behavior with operational performance, this solution helps organizations speed triage of application performance via a single easy-to-use console. The solution’s heat maps, app flows and crash analytics provide an easy way to quickly understand if poor user experience is the result of application design, code or an infrastructure element.

Additionally, key usage analytics provided also help organizations gain deeper insight into user behavior so they can better understand the buyer’s journey across the wide range of digital devices used by consumers.

Give the depth the tool seems to deliver, how well does this align with user privacy, app-store policies and controls?

The product is developed out of the box to prevent collection of Personally Identifiable Information. Additionally, we have been tested and approved for integration into public facing App Store published applications.

What are some of the interesting metrics that can be delivered or customised on this tool? Any particular observations so far in terms of native apps vs. third-party or hybrid apps?

AXA’s out of the box ‘usage’ focused metrics like screen touch heat maps and video session playback are a couple of metrics that have been very interesting/unique for our customers. Individual customers are able to leverage the flexibility of AXA in order to collect any additional custom metric that is interesting to them. We are seeing a mix of native, 3rd party, and hybrid apps. Depending on the specific use case each model has its advantages. 3rd party apps are either Native or Hybrid and both of these models need their own focus with feature equivalent monitoring.

Can insights gathered at the right time also align with app monetization?

The development and customization templates can be applied in a versatile manner. We store data at an instance level so that can help a lot with ad-hoc queries.

There is no Ops vs. Dev conflict in this realm?

Pre-production environments and early-on research feedback can actually be very useful. We also provide blueprints and templates that can help with every requirement. We keep data in an open scheme format unlike our rivals’ proprietary formats. We are here for everyone – for the business guy who wants to turn red lights into green ones, for the application owner, the VPs, and the developers as well.

What can enterprises remember when they think of conquering the digital wave successfully?

Beware of the spinning wheel of bad reviews. If your app experience is not digital it can affect you in an enormous way. People dislike waiting – in an elevator, at a traffic signal, with an app loading – so try your best to not let the experience be ruined because of the short attention spans your users have. Our research has unveiled that building DevOps practices into the culture of the organization can really boost performance on the BIS by 35 per cent. It also helps if one can apply a more managed, life-cycle approach to APIs (it has been seen to increase business impact scores by 52 per cent).


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