Gartner’s Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring | An Overview


Digital experience monitoring is growing in popularity among the end-user computing and VDI ecosystem (especially in light of Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop offering). As such, the IT community is starting to set standards around what the technology truly constitutes. Gartner recently published their Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring1 defining the market and their recommendations. If you’re interested in learning more about Gartner’s Market Guide, digital experience monitoring, an overview of the technology, and a bit more, read on!

First, what is digital experience monitoring?

According to Gartner,

“Digital experience monitoring (DEM) is a performance analysis discipline that supports the optimization of the operational experience and behavior of a digital agent, human or machine, with the application and service portfolio of enterprises.”[1]

Digital experience monitoring solutions, in short, bring IT teams visibility into their estate and also the ability to analyze and quantify traditionally subjective parts of end-user computing. For instance, why is an end user experiencing a slow computer (are they really)? Have we over or under provisioned a new technology? Has the latest OS patch impacted performance? Is end-user experience where it should be for all our company employees? These are all questions that, with the right DEM tool, an IT department can answer in order to start seeing savings and optimizations in numerous parts of the business, like helpdesk costs, software/hardware right-sizing, productivity, and more.

How DEM differs from APM and NPMD

Reading the definition above, you may be asking yourself, “wait isn’t that what an APM or NPMD tool does?” DEM tools have often been confused with their application performance monitoring (APM) and network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) counterparts. Today, however, more IT teams are finding the need for a standalone DEM solution that places the end user at the center of its data collection and analysis. This is because they need to report and improve on their users’ digital experience given the complexity many IT environments have reached. Additionally, a DEM tool solves a need in the market for enterprise computing to satisfy growing expectations from employees to have workplace technology that resembles the ease of use they have grown to be accustomed to with consumer technology. But technically speaking, how do DEM tools differ from APM and NPMD?

It all comes down to a normalized point of view from a system of record: A DEM tool observes behavior and performance directly from the point of view of the user. This has become incredibly valuable, particularly in today’s enterprise environments, because the advent of as-a-service computing, evergreen IT, and BYOD have greatly diminished IT’s visibility into users’ digital experience.  While APM and NPMD tools can give IT more granular visibility into that app or network resource, a DEM tool will give them visibility into the totality of the user experience, in the context of that app and network resource.

Gartner states that “I&O leaders should analyze business journeys, for internal and external users, by taking a top-down (from end user to infrastructure) and outside-in (observing behavior and impact on system performance) approach.”1 At Lakeside, we like to explain this difference in point of view by using a satellite vs probe analogy, which may come in handy if you are in the market for a DEM tool: Is the tool you are considering monitoring the user experience from the resource perspective or from the end-user perspective?

An inside look into Gartner’s Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring

We believe that Gartner’s creation of a Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring brings the market further validation of what we, at Lakeside, have been seeing for the past few years: widespread interest in monitoring and improving the end-user, specifically the employee, experience. But why now? To us, it is clear that analysts are finding DEM as not only insightful, but increasingly, a need-to-have in any enterprise environment given the level of complexity these have reached. The SaaS-ification of everything is not just a buzzword, it is truly a shift in enterprise computing that has changed the way IT is managed and has been one of the catalysts fueling the need for measuring users’ digital experience.

Gartner states, “While the move toward cloud and mobile-based applications is certainly driving the need for change in how IT organizations monitor performance, it is by no means the only driver in measuring digital experience. Gartner sees two additional drivers that should be the focus of I&O teams:

  • The lack of SaaS providers’ experience monitoring their own services, which often leaves customers in the dark and can put the organization’s business at risk.
  • The realization that user experience is not just concerned with the organization’s external customers, but equally important is the productivity and effectiveness of employees and other internal stakeholders. DEM technologies offer a unique way to help both employee experience and customer experience.”1

What is a Market Guide?

This is how Gartner explains the purpose of their Market Guides2: “A Market Guide defines a market and explains what clients can expect it to do in the short term.”

Further on in that same Methodologies overview, the research and advisory company outlines that Market Guides are designed to help you with the following:

  • “Manage the risk of investing in an emerging market with insight into its direction and potential.
  • Support the argument for allowing an emerging market to further evolve before making a commitment.
  • Survey the types of provider options in the market and understand how offerings are likely to evolve.”

So what does the Gartner Market Guide say about DEM?

Gartner’s strategic planning assumption for its Market Guide states,

“By 2023, 60% of digital business initiatives will require I&O to report on users’ digital experience, up from less than 15% today.”

More specifically, the Market Guide states that, “Improving the end-user experience is a strategic part of digital transformation, yet I&O is losing direct control of infrastructure and applications.”1

We believe the benefits of digital experience monitoring are numerous:

  • Increased visibility into application availability and performance from the end user’s perspective, enabling organizations to better optimize end-user experience
  • Restored visibility into the performance of SaaS and cloud services
  • More accurate understanding of real end-user experience by focusing on what’s happening on the endpoint device
  • Increased employee productivity and satisfaction by incorporating sentiment data alongside quantitative metrics and by resolving incidents proactively
  • Improved understanding of the business impact of poorly performing technology
  • Enhanced crossdomain monitoring strategy, providing a more complete, end-to-end picture

These are just some of the benefits we have identified our customers have enjoyed using SysTrack for digital experience monitoring, many of which have direct ties to real, quantifiable results. As such, we have created a free ROI calculator to help you calculate the ROI you could potentially see from a digital experience monitoring solution. Feel free to use it at your convenience:

Is there a Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Monitoring?

As of the time of this writing, there is no Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Monitoring. However, Gartner has published a number of resources on DEM. If you have a subscription with Gartner, here is a helpful resource you can access today:

Deliver Cross-Domain Analysis and Visibility with AIOps and Digital Experience Monitoring3

Why are companies investing in DEM? Solving the omnichannel fragmentation problem

Real-user monitoring, synthetic transaction monitoring, agents, and more. What’s the best DEM tool? Different vendors in the space have developed their own approaches to how DEM should be done and it is important to understand each in order to make the most informed decision. Why? Because one of the biggest reasons why DEM has become so popular is the omnichannel fragmentation problem it aims to resolve: enterprise IT constitutes so many different resources, many of which are not managed in-house, and technologies, some of which are brought by users from home like BYOD, that enterprise IT has become incredibly complex and siloed for IT to manage. DEM promises to simplify visibility into the environment and, most importantly, end-user experience.

DEM vendors have taken different approaches to monitoring environments, the six common DEM approaches Gartner outlines in their Market Guide are:

  • Endpoint monitoring
  • Real user monitoring
  • Synthetic transaction monitoring
  • Network analysis
  • Synthetic network path monitoring (internet)
  • Screen capture and session replay

What vendors provide digital experience monitoring tools?

Gartner’s Market Guide provides a table of Representative Vendors Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) by Primary Function:

  1. Synthetic Transactions (Layer 7 Applications)

    According to the report, “synthetic transaction monitoring (STM) uses synthetic transaction execution records to simulate user interactions with applications, and can leverage RUM data to create most natural conditions.”

  2. Synthetic Transactions (Layer 3 Network)

    According to the report, “synthetic network path monitoring (internet) builds a model of interactions across the internet including TCP, BGP, DNS and authorization interactions to detect deviations from that model.”

  3. Endpoint Agent Monitoring

    According to the report, “endpoint monitoring instrumentation via agents to understand the performance of applications from the perspective of the end user on a mobile device or desktop/laptop (including VDI support).” Lakeside Software is named as a Sample Vendor in this category.

    systrack architecture


    SysTrack’s lightweight endpoint agent architecture


  4. APM-Centric

    As the name suggests, vendors in this category approach digital experience monitoring through traditional APM techniques. This may include the use of real-user monitoring; according to the report, “real user monitoring, including JavaScript that is injected into web applications to collect data such as application response time, latency and errors, or alternatively via plug-ins when HTML is not accessible.”

Who is Lakeside Software?

Lakeside Software has been a vendor in the digital experience monitoring space for over 20 years. Our product, SysTrack, is a DEM solution designed for virtual and physical workloads and sits directly on any Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android device capturing and analyzing tens of thousands of data points every 15 seconds which IT then uses for numerous use cases: from baselining the quality of service using our EUX score to right-sizing technology (like Windows Virtual Desktop), reducing ticket volume and time to resolution, and more.

SysTrack is an endpoint agent monitoring technology. The reason SysTrack is agent based is simple: because we have found that endpoints are the most privileged point of view into end-user experience and the overall state of the enterprise environment. From the endpoint, we can capture incredibly helpful data, and IT administrators and engineers love us for it!

What our customers are saying

“SysTrack really helped us succeed with VDI transformation and user experience for physical endpoint users.”

Martin Littmann, CTO & CISO, Kelsey Seybold Clinic

Read more about their use of SysTrack in this case study.

“SysTrack enables us to work on potential issues before users report a problem.”

Gary T., Offering Manager at an IT company

“SysTrack completely serves our support needs – monitoring, troubleshooting, and resolution, all from a single platform.”

Birol Velik, IT Director Istanbul Aydin University

Read more about their use of SysTrack in this case study.

Source: 1Gartner, Market Guide for Digital Experience Monitoring, Federico De Silva, Sanjit Ganguli, Charley Rich, 5 September 2019

2Gartner Methodologies, Gartner Market Guide, https://www.gartner.com/en/research/methodologies/market-guide.

3Gartner, Deliver Cross-Domain Analysis and Visibility With AIOps and Digital Experience Monitoring, Charley Rich, Padraig Byrne, 5 July 2018

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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