Can you measure and monitor your user experience?

November 6, 2007

Can you measure and monitor your user experience?

Since the web has increasingly become the platform for interacting with customers, partners, and the like — the notion of managing the online experience has skyrocketed. The term “user experience” is confusing. I have traditionally thought about this in terms of how the user interacts with software.  But I am finding that the more interesting definition is around the idea of actually measuring and monitoring the performance of the web environment from the user or customer experience perspective.

I met with an emerging vendor called SYMPHONIQ that was founded in 2003 by Hon Wong, CEO. Wong is a veteran of the management space, having been one of the founders of NetIQ in 1995 and of EcoSystems (purchased by Compuware in 1994). Therefore, although SYMPHONIQ is a relative newcomer, it’s management team has lots of experience under its belt.

The company is just introducing its second product — TrueView Express. This product is intended to provide performance measurement and monitoring. The product measures browser response for any HTTP application. Therefore, the company says that it can track performance from the browser through to the database. The product monitors actually user transactions in real time, isolates performance problems, and includes service level reporting of transaction performance.

Because TrueView is instrumented with HTML it does not require the downloading of an agent. In addition, performance data is collected behind the firewall.

In a way, this product is a sort of trojan horse (I love trojan horses since they provide a quick value to customers) for the company’s higher end products. For example, its flagship product called TrueView provides end-to-end diagnostics.

Clearly, the company has some interesting IP and some traction in the market. It made a smart move by partnering with F5 Networks. F5 Networks provides a platform for Application Delivery Networking. This relationship should help the company gain traction with customers that might otherwise look towards the big players — CA (Wily), EMC (NLayers), Compuware, and HP — and a host of others.

The company seems to be making some progress in the market with two products under its belt and a couple of dozen customers such as Lockheed, Starbucks Coffee, and AMD. The reality, however, is that the company is in a space dominated by big companies so it will have to partner with some big players that will be attracted by its ability to correlate and aggregate actual transaction data. Its reliance on HTML and HTTP means that it provides a lighter footprint than some of its competitors. This is definitely a company to watch.

About Judith Hurwitz

Judith Hurwitz is an author, speaker and business technology consultant with decades of experience.

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