Alphabet soup – a look at DEM technologies

There are lots of acronyms in the world of Digital Experience Monitoring. We’ve got DEM-Digital Experience Monitoring. RUM-Real user monitoring. STM-Synthetic transaction monitoring. EM- Endpoint monitoring. CS-Crowdsourcing.
What do you make of this alphabet soup of user monitoring technologies? And does any of this truly monitor the Office 365 end user experience? Let’s dip into the bowl. To begin, Digital Experience Monitoring is the overall category that includes the other technologies listed here.

Real User Monitoring vs Synthetic Monitoring
One vendor’s website says that Real User Monitoring is passive, because” it relies on services that constantly observe the system in the background”. They say that Synthetic Monitoring is “active web monitoring”. Yet the next paragraph says “RUM never rests. It collects data for each user using every browser.”

So. a service that constantly observes the system in real time is “passive” yet running scripts in a browser is “active”. Hmm. I’m not sure a security team would endorse JavaScripts or browser plug-ins.

Gartner defines including Javascript or browser plug-ins to collect data as Real User Monitoring, and running scripts as Synthetic Monitoring. However you define it, neither of these will help you monitor a desktop Outlook user.

What about endpoint monitoring?
This is sometimes defined as understanding application performance from the perspective of the end user. This is a great idea. Especially when you want to check the user experience of remote users. A stated challenge of this technology is that it requires a monitoring agent to be installed on all devices. Not a problem for our Perfrax agent. You can deploy it worldwide in less than fifteen minutes. But at Perfrax, we go outside the box with endpoint monitoring. The user is just one endpoint. What about the other end? When Microsoft Teams had an outage recently, we could see the users affected from their perspective. But we also saw the issue from the vantage point of the Microsoft server pods that were causing the problem.

Three’s a crowd
Crowdsourcing compares your users’ experience to other users at other companies around the world. The information returned is usually anonymized. Unfortunately, the comparison is only against that particular vendor’s customer base. For example, if many of their customers share the same ISP and experience an Office 365 problem, the data may infer that the ISP is a bottleneck. When in fact, the issue was that they all shared the same pod, as would have been the case for the recent Microsoft Teams outage.

There are even crowdsourcing methods that rely on voluntary user error reporting. (Now, there’s a recipe for disaster.)

TrueDEM – outside the box
When we built our TrueDEM™ solution, we weren’t looking back at these traditional methods. We built our product from the ground up with one goal. Monitoring the Office 365 user experience, as experienced by the user, on all their devices. A recent Gartner report suggests organizations need STM, RUM, and Endpoint monitoring. Multiple purchases were needed to achieve a basic monitoring solution. No single product was meeting all these needs. That’s where TrueDEM™ shines.

We don’t fall into any one category, or even all the categories. We’ve got key elements of each technology, but we look at things differently. We go outside the box instead of checking off a list. It’s all focused on the user, doing what they do, from all their devices. (That’s why our TrueDEM™ agent uses their Office 365 account login.)

Hopefully this little overview gives you a taste of the alphabet soup that is DEM. Only Perfrax’s TrueDEM™ solution offers the flavor you need.

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