How Omni-Channel is Your E-Commerce Application Monitoring?

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E-Commerce companies are becoming increasingly complex to fit today's highly distributed environments. Are you monitoring all your channels? Read More

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Like it or not, an ever-expanding holiday season is here, and the words moratorium and code freeze are being heard around the halls of many retailers who are gearing up for their Super Bowl of shopping. Just this time last year I was responsible for middleware performance of a leading online and mobile payment provider, and I remember the excitement, and stress, of heading into this time of year. With mobile (mCommerce) and ecommerce shopping trends skyrocketing, expectations and demand for the business and technology we worked so hard to build were extremely high.

This year alone eMarketer predicts Business to Consumer (B2C) e-commerce sales will increase over 20%, to upwards of $1.5 Trillion Dollars, and by 2017, that number jump to $2.3 Trillion. Mobile trends are predicted to show an equally impressive growth; mCommerce in the US alone is estimated to grow $52 to $86.8 Billion from 2014 to 2016 (eMarketer). Moreover, with the growth comes the challenge, as IT organizations are pushed to understand, manage, and support heterogeneous customer access points and technology stacks in parallel.

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With the competitive nature of e-commerce, managing and optimizing end-user experience has never been more important. Studies co-authored by Bing and Google –– prove a direct correlation between page speed and revenue, determining that even a 500 ms delay can have a significant impact over most any Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

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AppDynamics is deeply involved in helping online, and offline, retailers guarantee service delivery during these critical times. While mobile is certainly the wave of the future, improving end-user experience does not start or stop, at the browser and mobile device. The brick and mortar point of sale (POS) remains an essential element to many retailers omni-channel strategy.

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Whether it is a custom solution or built on top of a 3rd party platform like Retalix, AppDynamics provides complete monitoring visibility, fault isolation, and diagnostics end-to-end across the entire POS system. Below is an example of a Retalix environment where AppDynamics is providing real-time, end-to-end application performance monitoring coverage, including: in-store registers, self-checkout, systems, price scanners, backend services, integrations with external systems, and backend databases.

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Using AppDynamics, we’ve enabled IT to monitor, map, and score 100% of the Retalix Point of Sale (POS) transactions in real-time as well, as well as getting out of the box visibility into the exact business functions being executed. If and when there is a problem, the operations team is equipped to take immediate action by:

  • Receiving a notification identifying what performance degradation is occurring, and which stores and business services are impacted; e.g., a response-time problem at critical severity affects all mid-west stores.
  • Identifying the business function impact: understanding the problem affects the item scan feature in the self-checkout aisles
  • Isolating precisely what components are degraded, by visualizing the end-to-end application topology; knowing the failure lies within the store or regional servers, a network link, shared backend services or databases.
  • Quickly diagnosing the issue down to a source line of code or SQL query.
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    Consumer trends are driving the business rapidly to expand commerce over multiple channels, and as highlighted above our goal is always to enable IT to follow suit with an equally comprehensive monitoring plan. Failure to do so, despite best intentions, leads to what we call the Frank-Monitor problem; a series of loosely or de-coupled point solutions that fail to integrate into an effective end-to-end capability.

    So when you are considering how best to define, initiate, or develop, your monitoring strategy, make sure to ask yourself just how omni are you, actually?

    Because despite the best efforts to stitch together disparate solutions into a cohesive understanding of system performance, it almost always ends up a science project!

    Want to give AppDynamics a try for your e-commerce platform? Download a FREE trial today!

    Steve Sturtevant

    Steve Sturtevant

    Steve Sturtevant is a software and performance engineer with close to 15-years of experience in the industry. He has held product manager roles in the APM space, and led performance engineering for PayPal's middleware platforms. Currently Steve works on the Sales Engineering team at AppDynamics.