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Emerging Trend Analysis: What is Digital Performance Management?

Organizations serious about gaining—and maintaining—competitive advantage must optimize their digital customer experience. This introduction to DPM explains how this emerging approach can provide serious business value.
October 13, 2016

In partnership withDynatrace

Let a key statistic tell the story: digital business accounts for nearly one-quarter of the world’s economy today, according to Accenture. And that share is expected to keep growing. Most businesses now understand that the success of their digital endeavors—from personalized customer interactions to new services enabled by the Internet of Things—starts with the success of the digital experience they deliver to their customers.

Executive Brief: Closing the Customer-Experience Gap with Digital-Performance Management

  • Download the full report.

    Produced by MIT Technology Review Custom in partnership with Dynatrace

On the surface, digital transactions are designed to look simple: one click and your ride is on its way. This is the perceived customer experience. That click, touch, or swipe, however, kicks off a dynamic ecosystem of thousands, if not millions, of technology interdependencies that span servers and systems across geographies. Think of this as the delivered customer experience.

In actuality, the true “customer experience” isn’t one or the other, but both together.  

The problem is that most businesses aren’t capable of merging these views. “They’re reacting either to customer feedback or to IT health systems information,” says Ryan Bateman, director of digital performance and marketing at Dynatrace. “Very few can integrate the two to understand the entire impact on customers.”

Traditionally, perceived and delivered experiences are monitored and measured by completely separate camps—development, operations, and business—using completely separate tools. On the business side, data includes the “voice of the customer” (that is, customer expectations, preferences, and other feedback), social sentiment, Web analytics, mobile analytics, and behavioral analytics data. Top concerns revolve around customer conversion, cart abandonment, page visits, online revenue trends, and related areas.

Meanwhile, IT (operations and developers or DevOps) concentrates on system health, mean time to repair, load time, latency, and related issues. The top concerns for this group include system and application performance, scalability, quality of service, efficiency, and other system health metrics.

Consequently, no one sees the whole picture.

Q & A: What is Digital-Performance Management?

Read the full interview transcript.

Dissecting Digital-Performance Management

To get a full view of the customer experience, businesses need to develop new capabilities and processes focused on digital-performance management (DPM). This emerging approach, which evolved to address gaps in the customer-experience and application-performance management (APM) industries, better links IT and the business by integrating the perceived and delivered customer experiences. Rather than having players use their own separate data, DPM enables everyone—whether in social media, marketing, customer analytics, IT operations, or development—to work from the same data set captured during the customer visit. Depending on what they consider most important, the business and IT can each explore the data from different angles as well as different levels of abstraction and drill-downs.

Because DPM integrates IT system performance with digital business performance, all stakeholders can begin speaking the same language—and working toward the same goals. They can begin collaborating on customer-experience optimization, making better decisions, and responding in real time to issues. “The customer experience is the intersection point that all these audiences have in common,” says Bateman.

DPM processes and technologies help businesses to:

  • Gain real-time insight into digital customer experiences with integrated IT and business data.
  • Provide genuinely personalized customer service.
  • Establish trust while building strong, healthy brands.
  • Save time that can be directed toward innovation.
  • Make better-informed business decisions.

Because DPM is an emerging capability, businesses will certainly face some challenges as they implement it. First, they need to understand that DPM is a practice, not a software solution or a tool. “Similar to the way DevOps and Agile revolutions have taken hold, DPM requires both process and cultural change across different groups that historically worked in silos,” Bateman says. A successful DPM initiative, then, requires high-level support from the organization’s C-suite—whether that comes from the chief digital officer, chief customer officer, chief marketing officer, or chief information officer—as well as solid change-management processes.

The bottom line: Businesses can no longer afford to maintain a fractured view of the digital customer experience. “More and more, the customer experience is becoming the yardstick for measuring business success,” Bateman says. “As you see an increase in the quality of the customer experience, there’s a direct correlation with revenue, lower cost of customer support, and higher efficiency in IT.”

Put another way: Smart companies now understand that today, digital performance and business performance are one and the same.

To learn more about DPM, see our exclusive resource package, including our downloadable executive brief, “Closing the Customer-Experience Gap with Digital-Performance Management,” and the accompanying video and infographic. Or visit

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