Maximizing Digital Performance to Drive Growth and the Human Experience


With all of the talk these days about machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, one might forget that humans are still the most important piece of the future technology puzzle. They are, after all, the ones who engage with the technology and determine whether it adds value to their lives or instead slows them down.

Digital Performance

Performance, some might argue, has long been the gauge by which technology is judged.

That human experience is a powerful thing. Business leaders have long understood that no matter what type of industry, a poor customer experience is never good for business. And that’s proven to be no different in the digital age, where a slow online shopping site or a hard-to-navigate mobile app is all it takes to create a digital experience that’s subpar—for humans.

Companies embarking on digital transformation journeys have great opportunities in front of them and if they can get the digital and user experience right, it can lead to significant financial benefits. But if organizations don’t get it right, the risk is a potential impact on the growth of the company. According to Forrester Research, 30% of companies will see a decline in digital experience quality this year and, as a result, will lose a point in growth.

And while IDC projects that $2.1 trillion will be spent on digital transformation by 2021, it also found more that more than 70% of organizations that have embarked on digital transformation journeys are stuck along the way, struggling to shift from being digital players to digital transformers or even disruptors.

The good news is that new digital experience management tools being adopted as part of digital transformation journeys open the doors to measuring and monitoring capabilities across the entire experience—from the network and underlying technology to the device and user behavior—as a way of tracking and managing performance. And next-generation infrastructure is delivering the agility needed to maximize digital performance.

Performance matters

According to a recent Riverbed survey with 1,000 global business decision makers, 99% agree that optimizing digital performance is essential to optimizing business performance.

Performance, some might argue, has long been the gauge by which technology is judged. But in today’s digital environments, traditional performance metrics such as chip speeds and data transfer rates aren’t as important as the insight, analytics and data itself. A dashboard of real-time metrics—network speeds, app and digital services performance, unusual user behavior, issues with a recent OS upgrade or any other possible issue that could impact performance—is critical to maintaining a level of service that users have come to expect and demand.

The ability to monitor every aspect of the digital experience and measure performance along the way, to analyze real-time issues and proactively address an issue before it becomes something bigger, is really what will allow organizations to disrupt industries and transform legacy business models. Couple that with delivering inspiring digital services on a next-gen cloud networking and edge infrastructure, and that’s where the real opportunities for strong growth, new markets and competitive advantages will be found.

The opportunities to take the technologies and user and human experience to the next level are definitely there—for those with the vision. And while change certainly doesn’t come easy, especially when a business leader is being asked to rethink technology investments and strategies, consider that research firm McKinsey & Company found that early adopters and fast followers of digital business capabilities saw twice as much growth over three years as companies that played it safe. And according to the non-profit firm the Design Management Institute, stock prices for companies that invested in user experience outperformed their peers by 219% between 2004 and 2014.

Rethink possible

The shift to digital is revolutionary and, in reality, we’re just at the beginning. As technologies continue to evolve, things like machine learning and artificial intelligence become more interesting because they enhance the latest offerings even more. For example, one can probably imagine how the ability to identify network and end user issues and quickly implement fixes, combined with machine learning capabilities, might lead to something like self-healing networks in the future.  This is the direction of Riverbed’s own technology development the last several years, as we’ve focused our innovation on delivering the tools to manage and measure the digital experience, and next-gen infrastructure to put those insights to work for today’s modern enterprise.

Already, we’re seeing how digital performance investments are paying off across numerous industries—from shipping, energy and manufacturing, to retail, professional services and healthcare. Companies are rethinking possible, opening new offices or retail stores in days, instead of weeks or months. Revenue models are shifting as companies identify and respond to evolving customer demands with digital services that change how consumers bank or shop, employees collaborate in real time, and citizens interact with government agencies. And network security is being enhanced as greater visibility across vast, complex networks enables constant monitoring for irregularities.

Organizations like those have already recognized the value in maximizing digital performance, that are leading to positive experiences for customers, vendors and employees—humans. And, as we know, when the human experience is positive, that’s good for business.

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