Monitoring systems are 'sixth sense' for digital anomalies

With the holiday selling season on the horizon—and with the increasing use of digital business processes—many retailers need to implement monitoring technology that will provide the "sixth sense" that will identify a malfunction, website downtime or slow performance.

The key is to be able to gain information through Web load tests, scenario load tests and a vulnerability scan analysis, said Lusine Khachatryan, director of technology and operations at Monitis. It's important to run all three to not take chances on IT systems during the winter holiday season, she told FierceRetailIT.

"With more and more business processes being digitalized, the monitoring of these processes is not only logical, but also mission-critical. This is especially true for online retailers as they need to make sure their sites and applications are accessible to the end user, but also that their users have the best possible experience," Khachatryan said.

The main benefit is the "sixth sense" the technology provides for retail companies, Khachatryan said. IT professionals can use monitoring technology to identify potential weaknesses before they turn into major issues that affect end-user experience, and possibly hurt the retailer's revenue.

Among the types of stores that find monitoring technology helpful to keep their networks up and running are apparel, cosmetics, furniture, jewelry, books and music retailers. 

"Monitoring is about customer satisfaction, acting as the eyes on what IT professionals and executives can't see right away. Monitoring technology can also point to minor slow–downs that need to be fixed in order for the site to run smoothly."

It is difficult to determine the direct savings or ROI from monitoring because different companies use monitoring technology in different ways. "It is fair to say that if you are an online retailer who is not using appropriate monitoring technology to protect your business case, then you can easily face scenarios which may lead to revenue loss and poor end-user experience," Khachatryan said.

The effectiveness of monitoring technology depends on the importantce of the part being monitored and what role performance, availability, and other factors play into that context. "To put that in perspective, research suggests that downtime or site slowness could affect revenue," she said. For example, Google found that an extra 0.5 seconds in search page-generation dropped traffic by 20 percent, and Amazon found every 100 millisecond of latency cost them 1 percent in sales.

Monitoring technology records everything that happens and sends an alert to the IT staff  when something is out of the ordinary, allowing the IT department to initiate counter measures. "With new cloud-based monitoring technology, the system can alert administrators even if the entire network is down and off-line, which is not the case with old-fashioned monitoring as it depends on the network availability," Khachatryan said. Monitis' technology is cloud-based, with a rollout that takes minutes.

"Monitoring is about measuring the heartbeat of a company's IT, but if they can't measure it, they can't manage it. Therefore monitoring is the one factor that can give organizations the edge over their completion," she said.

"Monitoring helps companies ensure that everything runs smoothly, which means products are being supplied, bought, and eventually shipped. All of that hinges on processes and transactions which may be extremely intricate, but are the basis for business success. As a retailer, companies want to stay abreast with all of the critical processes and know right away when something goes wrong and needs their attention," Khachatryan said.

For more:
-See this Monitis press release

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Cyber Monday heaviest online sales day in U.S. history
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Retailers not spending enough on IT infrastructure
The strategy behind Target's digital transformation

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