By now businesses will have found they are judged by how well their apps or digital interfaces perform. Make this a C-suite priority. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Over the past five years, as apps and digital services have become the front door for organizations in almost every industry, experience has become mission-critical at an enterprise-wide level, core to attracting and retaining customers, growing revenues and building brands.

As a result, experience has become a major strategic priority for C-level leaders within organizations.

In recent research conducted by Cisco, 75 per cent of senior global business leaders reported digital experience has become a significantly more critical issue for C-level executives in their organization over the last three years. Interestingly, the research shows application performance and its impact on the business is being reported to C-level executives in a number of different ways across organizations.

The most common channel for reporting is in digital experience meetings, and this is closely followed by remote reporting, through dashboards and digital displays. Remarkably, within half of organizations, the app’s performance is now being reported on and discussed at board of directors meetings.

Reporting on app performance

While technologists will undoubtedly be glad senior leaders are recognizing the importance of application performance, and also the value IT teams are bringing in delivering seamless digital experience, this shift is also placing additional pressure on them. In fact, almost all business leaders expect demand from C-level executives for visibility and reporting into digital experience to increase over the next two years.

We speak to CIOs from across pretty much every industry who recognize the need for IT to be more aligned with business strategy and objectives, and to create a common language between IT and business stakeholders. The problem is for many of them, however, that this is easier said than done.

This is primarily because monitoring and optimizing experience is becoming increasingly complex for IT teams. With rapid adoption of cloud native technologies, technologists are finding themselves bombarded by overwhelming volumes of application data from across an increasingly sprawling application landscape.

Most organizations are still deploying separate, siloed tools to monitor different environments and this means IT teams don’t have a clear line of sight for applications where components are running across cloud native and on-premises technologies. Without a single source of truth for app data, technologists are unable to cut through data noise and are constantly stuck firefighting.

Not only is this lack of visibility and insight making it incredibly difficult for IT teams to identify and resolve performance issues before they impact end user experience, it also makes it almost impossible for them to bring performance data together and convert it into meaningful and actionable insights when reporting on experience to senior leadership teams.

Many technologists don’t have business context to their application data and therefore can’t see how digital experience (whether good or bad) is affecting key business metrics — the very thing that C-level executives are demanding to know.

Observability is key to optimizing experience

In response to this challenge, IT teams need expanded visibility into cloud native environments to locate and highlight availability, performance and security issues across application entities (including business transactions, services, workload, pods and containers). Entity level correlation enables IT teams to quickly isolate issues and apply fixes, improving metrics such as ‘mean time to detect’ (MTTD) and ‘mean time to remediation’ (MTTR).

Alongside this, IT teams also need to add business context to their application data, to rapidly locate, assess and prioritize threats and address issues based on potential impact to end user experience and, ultimately, to business KPIs.

This is why implementing a full-stack observability solution is now crucial for organizations across all sectors. Observability provides unified visibility across both cloud native and on-premises environments, allowing IT teams to access real-time insights into IT availability and performance up and down the IT stack, from customer-facing applications right through to core infrastructure, across their hybrid environments.

Crucially, observability enables technologists to correlate IT performance data with real-time business metrics so they can quickly pinpoint and prioritize the issues which have the potential to do serious damage to experience. They’re able to measure and report on the impact app performance and digital experience is having on the business.

Something C-level executives will increasingly demand throughout 2024 and beyond.