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Jason Bloomberg

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Digital Performance Management Drives Business Value at Lowe’s and Office Depot

As Digital Performance Management (DPM) emerges as an established product category, people often ask how DPM relates to the older Application Performance Management (APM) market. The answer: DPM provides business performance information – information essential for running any digital business.

In other words, DPM provides the glue between business and IT priorities that technology executives in particular have been seeking for decades. Business/IT alignment has become a clichéd buzzword, as it’s always been just out of reach. Digital transformation, however, changes everything – and DPM is at the center of this alignment.

However, don’t take our word for it, as the proof lies in real-world success stories. Here are two important ones.

Lowe’s: Data-Driven Omnichannel Customer Experience

Home improvement and appliance retailer Lowe’s is focusing on delivering an excellent omnichannel customer experience. The business goals of these omnichannel efforts are to increase revenue and business agility.

The key to achieving these goals: better analytics – not just for technical visibility, but for business visibility as well. To this end, Lowe’s has implemented predictive analytics for business forecasting and hypothesis testing, as well as real user monitoring (RUM) across locations, devices, and campaigns, measuring conversions and achieving higher quality overall.

At the center of Lowe’s transformation: data about real customers in real-time. “Our data changes every day,” according to Stephen Carvelli, VP of IT Digital at Lowe’s. “That makes data science the key.”

Lowe’s leverages Digital Performance Management (DPM) from SOASTA, now part of Akamai, to provide a single source of truth that enables the retailer to correlate insights across business groups as well as the DevOps effort.

Lowe’s DPM strategy includes aligning IT with business objectives via user engagement metrics, performance data, and continuous testing and measurement – all leveraging the SOASTA DPM platform. SOASTA also enables the retailer to perform real-time forensic analytics, not just on Lowe’s own systems and applications, but on third-party resources as well.

For Lowe’s, actual customer interactions drive its decisions via its real-time visibility into marketing promotions and campaigns. An important benefit of Lowe’s efforts is how they are fostering a performance culture, where performance can never become an afterthought. In other words, Lowe’s treats every day as Black Friday – the most important day on any retailer’s calendar.

Office Depot

Big box office supply retailer Office Depot is focusing its digital transformation on aligning its ecommerce, marketing, and IT operations efforts. To this end, it is optimizing its marketing campaigns and corresponding landing pages to increase web and mobile conversion. Real-time campaign and ad performance tracking capabilities are central to this effort.

How Office Depot handles testing is also undergoing a transformation. Its QA effort is evolving from basic software testing to performance management as part of its DPM implementation. It is also implementing RUM-based testing, both before and during production.

One important result of this laser focus on real-time behavior and RUM is the sheer quantity of data it generates. “We have a ton of data,” says Carl Brisco the SVP e-Commerce at Office Depot.  “We don’t know what’s it’s telling us.”

To deal with this flood of information, Office Depot is leveraging data science to track campaign progress in real-time, based on the real user data they obtain from the SOASTA RUM tool.

Using SOASTA, the retailer is able to compare real-time campaign performance against historic performance bands, as the graphic below illustrates. The SOASTA tool automatically alerts Office Depot if campaign performance dips below historic patterns, thus triggering additional marketing offers automatically.

Comparing Real-Time Campaign Performance Against Historic Patterns in SOASTA (Source: SOASTA)

In addition, Office Depot’s use of SOASTA DPM goes beyond testing and real-time campaign monitoring to measurement of the entire customer journey. The company gathers sufficient information to understand the impact of the entire customer lifecycle to its revenue.

Via data-driven performance optimization, Office Depot is able to gain a better understanding of how performance impacts revenue, especially when it analyzes the components of web performance, including the impact of third-party elements.

As a result, DPM helps the retailer align its business and IT priorities – with better customer satisfaction and increased revenue as the result.

The Intellyx Take

Brick-and-mortar retailers with ecommerce initiatives are frequently in the digital transformation spotlight, as this article would suggest – but in reality, digital transformation is impacting virtually every industry.

Any enterprise with a consumer focus – in other words, any brand – is undergoing dramatic transformation, from healthcare to banking to insurance. Even B2B and supply chain-centric organizations are each struggling with their own end-to-end changes.

Regardless of what industry or line of business you are in, however, you have customers – and even in the public sector, you have an end-user constituency. The digital rubber hits the road at the end-user interaction, whether it be via web, mobile, in person, or other, more exotic touchpoints.

Yet without Digital Performance Management, you will have no way of knowing if your user experience meets the needs of your customers. The success of your business is at stake.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Akamai is an Intellyx client. At the time of writing, none of the other organizations mentioned in this paper are Intellyx clients. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.