I put this blog together to support my new research report on ‘Introducing Software Analytics, A Key Business Technology Solution’. If you want to know why it’s key then please read on…

We all know how mobile apps and websites are changing the way we interact with services and products. Yesterday evening after watching England fulfill their expectations of being dumped out of the World Cup in the first round (technically we can still get through but need a miracle), I decided to do my grocery shopping. So I got out my smartphone, opened up the browser and within 30 minutes had created an online order which will be delivered this Saturday. I now take this service for granted.  In fact, I can’t envisage a world in which I have to go to a supermarket and actually walk around with a trolley anymore and I wonder whether my 19 month old daughter will ever experience the ‘delight’ of walking around a busy supermarket.

The reality is that as customers, we expect to get the products and services that we want, in our immediate context and in our moment of need. At Forrester, we refer to this as the mobile mind shift. This means that guaranteeing availability and performance of commercial websites and mobile apps is a prerequisite in modern, digital businesses. We are also a fickle bunch. I know I will not give my time to a mobile app that does not have at least 4 gold stars and I won’t use a website unless it is intuitive to use, quick and works well on my smartphone. In fact, if a friend tells me about a new website based service, my first question is – What’s it like to use? This means that the reputation of mobile apps and websites is extremely important. Ultimately any service must meet the customer’s needs, be easy to use and enjoyable – the three facets of customer experience.

So if you are just focusing your service assurance efforts on only managing performance and availability then you are missing the insight needed in order safeguard the commercial success of mobile apps and websites. From a high level, your service assurance effort, at a minimum should focus on the following:

  • Linking customer activity to business metrics.  With commercial mobile apps and websites it’s important that you can show what the correlation is between customer activity, revenue and profit. This means focusing on the ability to be able to report metrics such as conversion rate –so the number of visitors/users of the mobile app or website who make desired actions –buy a product, sign up for a service etc.  

  • Enhancing your firm’s customer understanding. If you can understand your customer’s wants and desires then you can serve them the right products and services.Sounds simple, but this is also what your competition is trying to do and not all customers are the same – their interests may be different, their mood may be different etc. This means the more data that you can monitor and record when customers are using your mobile app or website then the greater the potential to understand your customer – if this data can be turned into information rapidly.

  • Displaying information in context. Historically it has been the technology management organization including I&O who have been responsible for technology assurance. But as firms transform into digital businesses, the reality is that all line-of-business teams must take responsibility. This means that any service assurance solutions should be able to display information to different audiences in the business and in context.

Now there are solutions in the market which can tackle bits of what I have mentioned above – so Google Analytics etc but the reality, in my opinion, is that they again only monitor/show part of the picture of what is required. Ideally you want solutions which are able to tie customer centric data to traditional application monitoring data in order to give you full visibility of experience and this where Software Analytics comes in. This is why I think that this emerging analytics area is important for I&O professionals (you see, I got there in the end).

As always, I welcome any comments or questions in regards to Software Analytics, monitoring and IT analytics in general.