Epson UK is using SciVisum's unique user journey monitoring to achieve 98 per cent uptime across its customer facing websites, thus minimising lost sales. Epson's business is primarily through traditional channels but the website provides a vital way for customers to access technical support and information.
With the help of SciVisum, Epson now has a greater understanding of how users experience their web services and gain access to its extensive array of award-winning products such as digital imaging tools, printers and projectors.
Back in 2011, Epson was suffering intermittent website downtime issues of up to 20 per cent.
Massimiliano Leo (Max), Epson's Senior IT Manager, is responsible for the company's software development across Europe including the European website and online stores.
"We were acutely aware that the downtime had the potential to harm the customers experience and it was one of the main drivers behind bringing in an independent monitoring system," Max explains.
"The monitoring we had in place was more technical and not sophisticated enough to understand what was happening from the front end 'customer' view. There was a gap in terms of what was being reported as "downtime" by our internal monitoring tools and what was perceived as "downtime" by users and by the marketing department"
After a tender process between four companies, SciVisum was selected. This was supported by a recommendation from one of Epson's development managers who had really valued SciVisum's work at a previous organisation.
"We really like how SciVisum monitors unique journeys through the website and how these mirror the customer's experience of the site," says Max. "As soon as SciVisum was set up, we were able to access real and accurate data about downtime issues rather than just perceptions and anecdotes. The most important aspect was that the information was from an impartial third party that everyone could trust."
SciVisum's data helped Max and his team to resolve many of the issues causing the downtime and was also instrumental in helping Max to justify the move to a new web platform.
"For a few months we monitored both the old and new platforms at the same time to deliver full visibility across both and to ensure a smooth transition. The move was a big success and we now achieve an average 98% uptime compared to 80% before the move."
Epson uses SciVisum to constantly monitor the new site to ensure users can access all products and services on offer.
"Most recently we had a combination of a new web release and some technical updates compounded by a surge in traffic. Almost instantly, SciVisum detected that customers were experiencing extremely slow loading of web pages with some pages were not loading at all. The team was alerted and was able to use SciVisum's data to determine the various issues and fix it quickly."
SciVisum now complements the technical monitoring that Epson uses. As Max explains, "Interestingly, the internal monitoring can find that a server is down but the user experience is not affected. So we often find that some issues are not always issues. In contrast, an issue that is not picked up by our monitoring can have an affect on the users' experience and this is when SciVisum picks it up."
Max adds, "SciVisum is invaluable. It enables us to achieve a real understanding of downtime from the user's perspective and fix issues before they impact sales. Our aim is to maintain a standard of 99% uptime and we are very close to achieving this."
Epson's IT department manages the logins for the data and reports are shared with marketing.
"With the website on a more stable platform, marketing is now sent a "still achieving uptime levels" notification rather than the previous detailed reports about various issues. The key value is that with an independent view of the site's performance, discussions are now based on trusted facts and figures.
"I have to admit that we are rather guilty of neglecting SciVisum but only because the system is so stable. SciVisum's presence gives us the assurance that there are no issues and we can, in effect, forget about it. If there are problems, SciVisum will alert us and it's far easier to track down and fix a problem due to the depth of reporting available."
Concluding Max says, "SciVisum's monitoring has not changed how we work but having a view of what the user sees has made it much easier to focus on the things that really matter. We are now confident that the site can support all the activities it needs to."