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Benefits of Real User Monitoring Using Plumbr

January 9, 2019 by Ivo Mägi Filed under: Plumbr

A product means different things to different people. A well documented outcome of trying to force products on an audience is a “milkshake mistake” which is explained by Clay Shirky.[1] It is very difficult to predict how users take advantage of products, making it difficult to build them.

Plumbr began as a tool that helped Java engineers find and fix memory leaks easily. Over time, this has evolved into a product that can help monitor how users interact with web application. Plumbr provides detailed feedback about the impact of different parts of the application by exposing them as performance metrics. Digital experiences are delineated as technical data, consolidated into essential information, and permute into knowledge and wisdom that can help an organization increase their maturity in handling production software.

Engineers continue to be the primary beneficiaries of using Plumbr. In the course of helping thousands of engineers, we’ve observed that Plumbr has impacted more than just software engineering disciplines. The benefits of sophisticated methods of managing applications in production, troubleshooting bottlenecks, and debugging failures extend to many practices within an organization both upstream and downstream from engineering.

Customer support teams are common beneficiaries from the side-effects of using Plumbr. When a user reports and issue, tier-1 support agents can immediately trace the cause of errors. The issue can then be reported to the engineering teams with Plumbr data to back the claim. No need for sifting through logs. No time wasted trying to reproduce flaky errors. Engineers can then use this data point which has context (user, date, time, internet speed, geography, service, application) and cause to begin resolution.

Data about the way users interact with web applications are useful to different teams in different ways. Analyzed in a top-down fashion, Management makes investment decisions based on traction, quality, and returns on investment. Product teams benefit from insights and impact analysis. This helps them validate design decisions and set priorities for the future based on impact. Engineering benefits from feedback on code in production, and its effect on end-users. BAs and other customer facing teams have the benefit of situational awareness when communicating outwards.

Product teams gain important insights into the success of different technology stacks employed. They can correlate design decisions made with the usage by customers. They also gain impact of failures and bottlenecks which they can use to orient their roadmap meaningfully. Engineering teams, which are the principal beneficiaries get information about how to improve the software they’ve built, gain causation information, and get insights into load times and access patterns. Business stakeholders can forecast ROI of upcoming efforts, and measure the returns on current investments. They can also use this data to improve the overall experience of the customer. Teams focused on usability can get some information about how errors and failures impact usage of the apps. This provides transparency into pain points for users. For teams that face customers, it eases communication. When making strategic decisions gains from transparency become apparent. For marketing teams, Plumbr data can help reveal insights into market acceptance metrics.

All in all, if you aim for maturity in your processes and operations, a full-fledged investment in real-user monitoring would really benefit everyone. Plumbr makes for a great choice because of its ability to cater to diverse needs.

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[1] Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators, Clay Shirky, Penguin Group, 2011, ISBN: 9780143119586