Oct 8, 2020

Weeding your digital garden for outstanding software UX

Technology
UX
software
Cloud
Dave Anderson
4 min
weeding software
Lockdown has meant we’re spending more time in our gardens and in the digital realm. Dave Anderson looks at how to keep the digital weeds at bay...

Over the past few months, it’s safe to say many of us have spent a lot more time in our gardens. Being face-to-face with rose bushes, lawns, and trees every day has encouraged us to spend more time cultivating and pruning our gardens to keep them looking tidy. Another of our behaviour changes during and post-lockdown is engaging more than ever before with digital services – from socialising online, click-and-collect groceries and order-at-table service in pubs. Just as we want our gardens to look their best when we’re spending more time there, we’ve also begun to expect more from our digital shopping, working and socialising experiences.

The difficulty for organisations trying to provide the perfect digital experience for customers and employees is that, as with a garden, there are always going to be ‘weeds’ that need removing to keep it pristine and avoid performance problems creeping in. Take, for example, cloud complexity. The average mobile or web application transaction now crosses 37 different technology systems or components, and the dynamic nature of cloud-native architectures like microservices and containers also means that things change very quickly. As a result, the cloud environment resembles a big garden with lots of plants in it, which can fast become overgrown by redundant infrastructure, excess workloads and performance issues if not carefully tended to by organisations. It’s almost impossible to completely stop performance problems from arising, so the goal of IT teams is to stop them before they ever affect the user experience.

Identify the ‘root’ of the problem that needs weeding

The modern cloud environment provides flexibility and scalability benefits that enable organisations to focus on developing new services, creating business value, and keeping customers happy. In fact, 93 percent of companies have said that successful cloud initiatives have led to improved customer experience. But while the cloud brings huge advantages, the modern development models it enables significantly increase speed and scale within digital ecosystems, which brings a lot of complexity.

With containerisation, for example, new infrastructure is spinning up every few seconds in many cases, making it difficult to keep on top of and prevent the ‘garden’ being overrun. Database queries, JavaScript errors and service requests can all contribute to millisecond slowdowns that, when scaled, can cause front-end performance slowdowns. IT teams can end up digging around dashboards and cloud ecosystem data trying to understand the root cause of performance issues. Not only does this drain time and resource, it also affects the user experience, as IT teams are busy weeding out problems from the digital garden, with less time to develop new functionality.

What IT teams need amid all this complexity are precise answers on issues that need ‘pruning’. Organisations can harness AI-assistance to help them here, pinpointing the root cause so teams can continuously optimise services and respond to problems before they affect the user experience. This way, armed with actionable insights, a fix can be deployed instantly, as teams do not have to spend time hunting around for the one ‘weed’ that is impacting user-experiences and degrading the performance of the entire IT ecosystem.

Offering re-leaf for IT teams

Once IT teams have found the cause of the problem, the next stage is ‘pruning’ or solving it. However, manual pruning can become a huge time drain – frustrating given the task is often relatively straightforward and repetitive, and there is no shortage of ‘weeds’, making it harder to prioritise the smaller ones. As such, IT departments need to start looking at where automation can help speed up this process. Organisations can create a culture of optimisation by automating continuous delivery and operational processes. For example, putting in place automated runbooks for spinning up cloud capacity if certain usage patterns occur or for decommissioning redundant cloud instances. This will free up valuable time for teams to spend on digital transformation projects and the delivery of new functionality for the business.

As close to perfection as possible

Providing a digital experience is like tending to a garden – there’s always room to grow and improve. Organisations now face more pressure than ever to deliver new digital services quicker, meaning weeding out problems that slow them down is crucial. By harnessing AI-assistance and automation, IT teams can build a new, more efficient approach to operations based on a culture of continuous optimisation. This will ensure IT teams don’t spend precious time ‘keeping the lights on’ and can instead focus their energy where it’s needed most – delivering innovation to provide a digital garden that employees and customers enjoy spending time in, and that competitors strive to plant for themselves.

Dave Anderson is a digital evangelist at Dynatrace

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Jun 18, 2021

Start-ups receive $60 billion investment, smash 2020 record

techstartups
investment
Technology
Laura Berrill
2 min
Europe’s tech sector start-ups attracted more venture capital investment in 2021 than the whole of 2020 with the UK leading in tech policy

Start-ups on the continent have raised a massive 43.8 billion euros ($60.9 billion) in just the first six months of 2021, according to figures from Dealroom, surpassing the record 38.5 billion euros invested last year..

This is despite the fact that the number of venture deals signed so far is around half the amount agreed in 2020. Only about 2,700 funding rounds have been raised so far this year, compared to 5,200 last year.

Prime examples in times of change

Examples are Swedish buy-now-pay-later firm Klarna which has raised more than $1.6 billion in two financing rounds, the German stock trading app Trade Republic received $900 million in May and British payments provider Checkout.com snapped up $450 million at the start of the year.

The figures suggest that European tech firms are pulling in far larger sums of money per investment than in previous years, which defies the economic uncertainty of the pandemic and boosted online services enormously.

The CEO of Checkout.com, Guillaume Pousaz, said start-ups have often been created in times of crisis, citing the emergence of several new financial technology companies in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

He added that big transformational change was often the time when there is the emergence of a lot of new start-ups, sometimes when people are losing their jobs for associated reasons.

UK leading the charge

Scale-Up Europe, a group that includes the founders of UiPath and Wise, proposed 21 recommendations to help the region build “the next generation of tech giants.” Among the suggestions are tax credits to corporates for investing in start-ups and regulatory changes that adapt to new innovations.

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, said the U.K. leads Europe when it comes to tech policy, and that there were a number of regulatory issues needing to be addressed before the European Union can produce tech giants of its own.

Siemiatkowski highlighted EU regulation of web cookies as an example of “poor regulation.” Yet, as the number of $1 billion start-ups in Europe continues to grow, the number of exits in the continent is also increasing. 

This year has already seen some notable acquisitions, including Etsy’s $1.6 billion purchase of U.K. fashion resale app Depop and JPMorgan’s takeover of London robo-advisor Nutmeg.

As for stock market listings, a number of notable debuts have taken place in London in particular, including food delivery app Deliveroo, cybersecurity firm Darktrace and reviews site Trustpilot. Money transfer giant Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, plans to go public in the U.K. capital soon.

 

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