eCommerceNews Australia - Technology news for digital commerce decision-makers
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Human element key to world-class digital customer experience
Tue, 26th Apr 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Three years into a global pandemic and the shift to all things digital shows no signs of abating.

If Australia Post data is any indication, consumption of goods and services through online, mobile and other electronic touchpoints will remain strong throughout the year. The February 2022 eCommerce data already showed a 16.6 per cent year-on-year growth.

A leading economic bellwether sector, retail has served as a prime example of a good digital customer experience. But standing in the way of ‘greatness' is stiff competition, supply chain issues and a global talent crunch. The hospitality, travel, healthcare and even government sectors are similar.

The pressure on developers, engineers and IT to accelerate development and deployment cycles to deliver world-class digital customer experiences is greater than ever, and it's taking a toll.

The 2022 Burnout Index by mental wellbeing platform Yerbo found that 2 in 5 IT professionals were at high risk of burnout due to working long hours, balancing greater workloads and other demands. Yerbo surveyed more than 32,600 tech workers from 33 countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

The New Relic 2021 Observability Forecast revealed that 87 per cent of survey respondents from Australia and New Zealand were using between 2 to 10 different tools to monitor system health, with this tool sprawl leading to shipping delays, slow response times, outages and poor user experiences.

Additionally, it is causing increased frustration among tech teams who have spent time firefighting instead of working on high priority projects that positively impact their business' bottom line.

How can organisations reduce unnecessary stress on tech teams and retain top talent while achieving business goals?

Observability by design

Engineers and developers using a patchwork of proprietary and open source monitoring tools are working in a counterproductive manner. This process requires long periods to stitch together siloed data to address a problem, causing blind spots to appear when an entire estate isn't instrumented.

The solution? Observability by design - an approach that ensures observability is included in every single part of the tech stack, without compromise.

Observability helps IT teams understand the health, performance, and status of complex software systems, including when and why errors occur and how to prevent them. It helps developers move at speed with confidence while mitigating risks and delivering greater business value.

At one leading telco, integrating all customer journey touchpoints - from external, third-party service providers to legacy contractors – via observability by design proved to be a game-changer. On its biggest day - a new smartphone launch - hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute hit the digital till.

By adopting observability by design, the company gained greater visibility across its entire operating environment and reduced critical production errors by over 50 per cent.

Partner with purpose

No business is an island, and partners are crucial to the success and longevity of any organisation. IT leaders must find an observability partner with which they can rapidly scale without extra charges or hidden costs.

By decoupling observability costs from business growth, no matter how much demand peaks, technology teams can continue to focus on creating consistent and positive customer experiences and achieving greater uptime - all while keeping costs under control.

The right partner can also help to minimise shelfware by offering a consumption-based pricing model (akin to the payment model used by utility providers) not only to support the adoption of full-stack observability, but also to create a greater level of affordability for customers while reducing overheads.

This model also removes the need for customer engagement teams to negotiate complicated deal structures. Tech teams are empowered to deploy 1 or 1,000 apps at once with very little cost increments being created when scalability is required.

Observability in the c-suite

The most important metrics to measure a strong digital customer experience in technical terms include page load times, page error rates, conversion rates, page visits and time on the site.

To the C-suite, these numbers must be clearly demonstrated in terms that the wider business can understand. IT leaders must ensure their observability partners offer dashboards that can be easily customised.

While the metrics included in these dashboards can vary depending on customer growth goals and what vertical they operate in. It could include information such as Net Promoter Score, revenue growth, sales volumes, cart abandonment rates and customer satisfaction scores.

All these data points can be inferred from the observability platform, which pulls data from multiple customer touchpoints.

Dashboards with the right data displayed with a C-suite lens can showcase the impact of observability on the broader business, especially on operational efficiency, economic benefit due to improved employee productivity, faster time-to-market and service delivery, and savings on IT spend and related costs.

The best digital customer experience can be achieved by consolidating disparate systems, tools and information sources into a single platform that works off observability by design. It creates a single source of truth that empowers teams to diagnose and resolve issues quickly and, importantly, before customers are affected.

By being predictive instead of reactive, controlling tool sprawl, creating partnerships with vendors who can scale with the business and demonstrating the value of tech investments to the wider organisation, tech teams will be able to achieve fewer faults, create happier developers, and build stronger customer experiences.