Digital experience monitoring (DEM) is an IT management technology that measures performance and helps IT and IT operations teams resolve issues by monitoring the health of all systems between end users and applications.
DEM solutions give IT administrators a dashboard on which to view performance data and metrics regarding the health and efficiency of their environments. DEM tools are effective for monitoring web applications, APIs, and mobile apps, and they help organizations improve digital experience management for the user journey and customer journey.
Why Is Digital Experience Monitoring Important?
Digital experience monitoring provides deep insight into end user experience, proactively monitoring performance and pinpointing issues in the local network, on an end user’s device, with your ISP, or in your data center or SaaS applications (Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, etc.). Some of the functions of DEM tools include:
Active and passive monitoring, benchmarking, and measuring digital experiences for every end user in your organization
Monitoring SaaS and cloud and private applications using HTTP, ICMP, or UDP protocols and running on end user devices
Collecting real-time device health information (CPU percentage, memory usage, Network IO, Disk IO, Wi-Fi signal strength, etc.) for end user devices
Hop-by-hop network path visualization from the endpoint to the application
Remote troubleshooting to isolate and resolve end user IT issues
Digital Experience Monitoring vs. Network Monitoring
Network performance monitoring tools have been around as long as networks themselves. They were sufficient when you owned and controlled everything from the endpoints to the network to the applications running on your own on-premises hardware in your data center.
In those days, tools that relied on SNMP, NetFlow, network-based PCAPs, or DSCP markings were enough to get predictable network performance and troubleshoot any performance issues. But these domain-centric monitoring tools don’t provide visibility into all the issues that can impact end user experience, particularly as today’s hybrid workforces move on and off the network, and as ever more apps and services move to the cloud.
As a result, most issues are discovered through users’ helpdesk reports—far from the optimal scenario where they’re detected and remediated before users notice a problem in the first place.
In 2021, DeepCoding reported that increased remote working had pushed helpdesk ticket volumes up 35% and ticket resolution time up 30%—from 7.37 to 9.54 minutes.
Types of Digital Experience Monitoring Tools
Various DEM tools play distinct roles in improving observability for IT, including:
Application performance monitoring (APM), which detects and analyzes performance issues in software applications
Real user monitoring (RUM), which collects data on user interactions with a website or cloud application
Synthetic monitoring (a.k.a. synthetic transaction monitoring [STM]), which uses simulated user traffic to test the experience on a website, app, etc.
DevOps monitoring, which includes health checks and performance tracking throughout the DevOps life cycle to support better software development
All of these allow IT teams to run diagnostics, perform root cause analysis, and fix performance issues on the backend to reduce remediation and response times and improve business outcomes.
Benefits of Digital Experience Monitoring
Digital experience monitoring have a lot to offer any organization, regardless of size or industry. Let’s examine some of the key business benefits:
Increased agility and collaboration: DEM offers increased visibility to help desktop, security, network, and helpdesk operations teams provide improved user experiences alongside more efficient triage and resolution, in line with today’s digital transformation initiatives.
Improved productivity: To empower users to stay productive, it’s key to see and understand both user behavior and the user journey. Deploying the right experience monitoring tools in tandem with an effective DEM strategy will help you reduce downtime and outages.
Reduced complexity and cost: Giving IT professionals a single pane of glass to look through for digital experiences helps you reduce reliance on costly, complex point monitoring solutions that only serve to create confusion.
Operational simplicity: IT operations are simplified when visibility is increased across the entire ecosystem. With the help of effective DEM technology, issues can be resolved much more quickly and your ITOps team is free to focus on more productive tasks.
Increased customer satisfaction: DEM solutions aren’t only effective for monitoring your network and end users—they can be deployed to ensure quality customer experiences as well. Understanding how your customers are seeing your website gives you an upper hand against your competition.
By 2026, at least 60% of I&O leaders will use DEM to measure application, services and endpoint performance from the user’s viewpoint, up from less than 20% in 2021.
Gartner, Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring
Challenges of Digital Experience Monitoring
Many popular digital experience monitoring solutions come in the form of siloed point products, which means they tend to:
Leave blind spots caused by disparate reporting, lack of integration, and more
Force your team to manually correlate across multiple point solutions
Require tedious maintenance due to having multiple agents
Cause alert fatigue and no offer actionable insights
Lack cloud nativity and functionality
To fill this gap, a number of vendors now offer “unified” DEM solutions purportedly built for the cloud. Many of these solutions are simply collections of virtualized point products, however, and although they don’t give you new hardware to manage, they nonetheless add complexity and costs in the form of multiple subscriptions, integration management, and so on.
Many DEM providers’ products weren’t built for the cloud, and as such only suit legacy on-premises use cases. To begin improving user experiences for your modern workforce today—and to do it efficiently, affordably, and without requiring changes to your existing environment—you need a proven, fully integrated cloud native platform.
The Zscaler Digital Experience Monitoring Solution
Zscaler Digital Experience™ (ZDX™) is a cloud-delivered digital experience monitoring service, part of the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange™. ZDX measures end user experience for every user, on any device, without the need to deploy multiple point products. With its unified view end user device, network path, and application issues, you can quickly identify and remediate problems and get back to enabling your digital business.
With ZDX, you can:
Get unrivaled visibility into end user experience: Get end-to-end visibility from users’ devices, over multiple networks, to their apps and services—even those not in your control.
Detect problems before users are impacted: Expose network latency, user device issues, or application performance problems along with their root causes.
Consolidate your digital experience monitoring: See it all in a single pane of glass that gathers and correlates performance metrics from user devices, networks, and apps.
Ensure apps and networks are healthy: Monitor data center, cloud, and SaaS for availability and performance to ensure that your users experience uninterrupted service.
In conjunction with Zscaler Client Connector, ZDX leverages the Zero Trust Exchange—the world’s largest inline security platform built for the cloud—to optimize monitoring. ZDX can be set up in a few hours, with no need to deploy additional hardware.
Ready to join the global leaders turning application, network, and endpoint metrics into insights for better user experiences? Book a demo of Zscaler Digital Experience today.
What’s the Difference Between Digital Experience Monitoring and Digital Experience Management?
Monitoring and management of digital experience are related but distinct. Digital experience monitoring refers to real-time monitoring and analysis of the performance, availability, and usability of apps and services. Digital experience management, meanwhile, involves taking direct action to improve digital experience, driven by the insights gathered from the monitoring.
What’s the Difference Between a Service Desk and a Digital Experience Monitoring Team?
Service desk and a digital experience monitoring teams may be separate IT teams in an organization. A service desk team handles users’ IT support tickets, whereas a digital experience monitoring team focuses on proactively monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing the users’ experience with apps and services.
How Does Digital Experience Monitoring Relate to UX?
Digital experience monitoring is key to understanding and enhancing the user experience (UX). By providing insight into how users engage with apps and services, it can help pinpoint issues, bottlenecks, and opportunities for optimization in the user journey. Continuously monitoring system performance and usability helps organizations keep on top of user experience issues and empower users to stay satisfied, engaged, and productive.