Deliver Flawless UX, or Watch Your App Crash and Business Burn

Delivering a flawless user experience across all your applications is pivotal to the success and, possibly, the survival of your business.

Tony Beeston
Tony Beeston, September 28, 2017 10:45 am
Blog > AWA | User Experience | SAP > Deliver Flawless UX, or Watch Your App Crash and Business Burn

Needless to say, in today’s application economy the needs, demands and expectations of users have changed. Once upon a time, if you had slow, sluggish software with a poor user experience (UX), maybe your customers would have given you a free pass. Admittedly, that forgiveness may have been granted simply as there was no alternative available, or because the cost of changing service was too high. But those days are well and truly gone: in the digital era, every business is now a technology company. Competition is fierce and there’s no room for complacency or inefficiency. When push comes to shove, poor application performance could cost you users and, worse still, business.

It’s All About the App

These days, users don’t just expect flawless performance and constant availability from all their software – they demand it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a throw-away game downloaded off a mobile app store or mission-critical business programs, the same expectations are applied. Customers are becoming more savvy, more demanding and less patient. If an application’s interface is cluttered, slow, causes a user to think, or become confused, the chances are it’ll be swiftly deleted from the device. If the application works well, but is down constantly for maintenance, crashes, or becomes unavailable for lengthy periods, the likelihood is it’ll be forgotten and consigned to the great program graveyard.

From a business perspective, this is bad. Really bad. Our software has become a reflection of our organizations and how they are perceived. A recent study found 74% of respondents believe poor application performance can keep a company from being considered a ‘market-leader’ by its users. As the shift toward digital mediums becomes more pronounced, maybe this is to be expected. Or perhaps this is simply due to the fact poor performance is most likely to impact the end user. Either way, if our programs slow down, crash or are unavailable, it hinders the business as a whole. Don’t believe me?

In a B2C world, it’s easy to measure the impact of failing software, as the program is primarily a revenue generating tool. Research indicates that mere seconds of unavailability or a slow-loading webstore for consumer-facing applications could result in the loss of significant revenue against pipeline. The average user is only prepared to wait 4-6 seconds for a page to load. If your site can’t achieve the load-speed required to convert prospective sales, well, your customers will simply close your website and move on to the next.

It’s not just speed which can cause users to abandon ship either; it’s functionality and general performance. If processes are cumbersome or unintuitive, or prevent the operator from working as fast as they need to, this causes dissatisfaction. In business-to-business products, it creates more than that. It introduces ripples of inefficiency. While the impact of badly performing platforms isn’t as easy to measure on a monetary basis at a B2B level, studies suggest the cost could be equally as, well, costly.

B2B products are a different kind of beast, as many major enterprise-scale programs – such as SAP – don’t have feasible alternatives, yet application performance is equally as important. Just because replacing these products isn’t realistic, it doesn’t make them bulletproof. When these applications have performance issues, they obviously cost businesses time. But it’s more than that. Whenever a major system, like SAP, slows down, it forces the operator to abandon the task they were performing, and begin working on something else.

The rub is, the abandoned task is likely to be a business-critical process and still needs completing. Now, the user is faced with a reduced timeframe in which to complete this job, and will probably have to rush to finish it and rushing is likely to introduce errors to the process.

Automating Application Performance Management

It’s all very well for me to sit here and say, ‘you must deliver software which performs flawlessly’, but the truth is, traditionally, delivering that experience hasn’t been easy. Firstly, the obvious: if it is not measured, then it cannot be managed. If you don’t have some sort of performance measurement in place, you’re relying upon issues being flagged by your users.

This is problematic for two reasons.

  • What one user considers ‘poor’ performance may be perfectly acceptable to another. Relying on users to report issues doesn’t provide any sort of consistency.
  • If your users are reporting performance issues, the problem has progressed too far, as it is already impacting your business.

Even if you do measure performance, you’re met with the headache of defining exactly what is ‘bad UX’, and what in your tech stack is causing the issue. You’ll rely on multiple experts across your business to diagnose the root cause, identify it and devise a solution to fix it. For today’s ‘always on’ culture, this is far too slow and is no longer a viable option.

The modern solution is undoubtedly a dedicated application performance monitoring (APM) platform. Introducing an APM enables you to detect flaws in your UX and performance up to 80% earlier in the software development lifecycle, without ever impacting on your end user. On the rare instances your application does slow down, an APM can enable you to cut the mean-time-to-repair in half. Not only will this save you time, but it’ll help with user retention.

When you introduce automation to your APM, maintaining that sought after first-class experience becomes even more simple. You can add multiple levels of remediation to workflows, further reducing the level of manual input required. Automating can also provision and de-provision extra levels of infrastructure when needed, ensuring your service never slows down.

With so many options available to users, delivering sub-par software simply isn’t an option if you want your business to survive. In the past, the notion of ripping and replacing a program may have been a deterrent to customers, but that isn’t a luxury afforded any more. You must strive to provide a flawless experience, constantly. Automating your APM system enables you to do just that. Deliver that first-class application experience, and not only will your business survive, it may just thrive. 

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Tony Beeston

Tony Beeston

Tony Beeston is Product Marketing Manager at Automic Software, and has over 30 years’ industry experience. For the last 15 of these he has been delivering solutions for running end-to-end business processes across ERP systems to companies worldwide.