For e-commerce, experience rules

Daniel Scoggin, the former president and CEO of TGI Friday’s, said it best: “The only way to know how customers see your business is to look at it through their eyes.”

Although quality of experience is a subjective measure of a customer’s experience, it is the only measure that counts for service customers.

An online company’s reputation and revenue-generating services directly depend on its ability to provide satisfactory quality of experience to its customers and partners. It is even more critical that quality of experience not be compromised when many people use an online business and there is a lot of money at stake — for example, during seasonal peaks such as the holidays.

Guaranteeing high quality of experience means ensuring uninterrupted availability, providing sufficient capacity to process transaction peaks while delivering fast response time and ensuring services can continuously operate even when under attack. Expected and unexpected traffic surges that cannot be addressed by existing application and network infrastructure are the biggest threat to optimal performance. Not being able to provide the capacity required during seasonal peaks increases the risk of losing shoppers and weakening the business’s overall competitive position.

To gain an optimal quality of experience, it is vital to monitor and analyze traffic levels during seasonal peaks from previous years.

In addition, it is recommended to deploy an application delivery controller solution that not only delivers basic load balancing capabilities, but also provides several policies for traffic redirection, application acceleration and bandwidth management matching regular business days and seasonal peaks.

Therefore, an online business can easily shift to an application delivery profile that optimally fits the changing network stress and user activity. For example, a seasonal shopping period typically implies more secured transactions than regular non-SSL Web site surfing and, as a result, it makes sense to give higher priority to SSL traffic to meet user demand. It also is essential to enable on-demand capacity growth — that is, scale network infrastructure capacity with minimal impact on active services, guaranteeing optimal online business execution.

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