Professional athletes spend hours looking at game films. Their coaches critique their performance, praising ‘this move’ and suggesting how to do ‘that move’ better. All of this is done to gain a couple of milliseconds’ worth of advantage. Employers spend time reviewing their employees’ performance, letting them know how they can better serve the customers or how they can contribute more to the business. This is done to encourage more business to build up the bottom line. Parents check homework, attend school functions and track report cards to ensure their children’s academic needs are being met. This they do to ensure the best future possible for their children and to catch any signs of problems early to correct them early and easily.
Business owners also need to monitor the performance of their business. Are they meeting their sales goals? Are there problems with cash flow? Are the customers happy? Are there underserved segments of the public that can be tapped? This is a necessary function because, in business, problems need to be identified and addressed early to avoid impacting their customers and sending them to the competition. It’s also a key indicator of where the public interest is drifting to and where improvements will provide the biggest ROI.
There is currently no place where this is truer than in a company’s website. Performance Monitoring is a key process that every business should be performing on a regular basis. Pinpointing areas in the website where response times are slow, and determining why they’re slow, is critical to ensure user engagement and satisfaction with the site. Gauging the sheer numbers of users that a website can handle is vital to ensure that there is enough processing power available to serve everyone who drops in to check your site out. This information is also crucial to the business for deciding when to increase or decrease the numbers of servers and load balancers as well as for tracking storage needs. This helps the business owner walk the tightrope of spending on capacity without overspending to the point of impacting profits.
Performance monitoring can be approached in three different ways. Real User Monitoring provides ‘on the fly’ information about the users’ current experience on the website. This is perfect for monitoring the performance of production websites that are accepting traffic. Application monitoring is an excellent tool for digging deep into the processes running on the website to find bottlenecks and rooting out the coding issues that are slowing up exchanges. Synthetic Monitoring is the go-to tool to use in both development and production websites to exercise the application, perform specific scenarios to troubleshoot slow spots and to emulate traffic surges and spikes to ensure that the application is robust enough to be shown to real-world users.
Your online business presence is becoming increasingly vital in your business plan. Millenials are having their own children and the purchasing public is insisting more and more that they are enabled to find and purchase whatever they need online. As time goes by, those excess milliseconds that are lurking in your website will be multiplied by the thousands of users simultaneously visiting your site. All of this delay will affect your traffic, your brand name and ultimately the success or failure of your online business. You don’t want your website to fall into the trap described by the late Yogi Berra, who said of a restaurant “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.”