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Monitoring Dynamic Multi-Step Transactions

Last week, I tried to book a hotel for an upcoming business trip. I logged into the travel portal entered the city and dates of travel and clicked search. Then, I waited and waited and waited and waited, yet nothing happened. I tried again; same results. At this point, I gave up and moved onto other tasks, conceding to the fact that I would have to come back and try again later. If this had been for personal travel, I would have moved onto another site to book my room and a sale would have been lost. As this was for business, I had to use the corporate travel portal so there was no lost sale, only my lost time. I was more frustrated by this than if I could have just gone to another site.

Knowing how your home page and other critical pages perform for end users is important to understand the digital experience. But, your website is made up of more than discrete pages—in many instances, users are doing more than visiting a single page and are actually following a sequence of pages. For example, Amazon experienced a 3-hour outage last June. The outage didn’t affect their homepage, but it did their search functionality. Users trying to search for a product or browse a category encountered errors. Ensuring a user can complete any and every action is just as important as monitoring individual pages.

Monitoring multi-step transactions in addition to individual pages is critical to identifying such outages. Transaction monitoring can be more complicated than single page monitoring when determining which parameters should be used. Different search terms may yield different results based on application logic or the APIs that are being used to pull information. Using the same search term may not provide enough insight but it isn’t feasible to test every single search term. A balance needs to be found.

Catchpoint offers customers the ability to quickly create multi-step transactions through a selenium based Chrome script recorder. The script recorder makes it easy to create and upload a transaction to detect and resolve issues with key business processes before they impact end users. Logic can be inserted into scripts to choose different search terms, select valid travel dates, or to always click on the second item returned in the search results by dynamically cycling through a list of terms, dates or numbers.

In addition to the above, custom dimensions for reporting called “Tracepoints”, can be created. This provides the ability to better visualize the data, and quickly identify problem areas. For example, if you are using three different search terms a Tracepoint can be used to view the performance of each term individually, to compare performance and quickly identify if issues

The easier it is to visualize data from complex and customized data sets, the faster it will be to find the answers you are looking for and resolve problems. Take a look at what components of your application are being monitored. Will you know if an API or database stops returning search results? What impact will this have on users and your business? Knowing that all key business transactions through an application are running efficiently leads to a better digital experience and lower frustration for everybody.