I’ve been to a few awards dinners in my time, and even been short listed for an accolade: just a few months back in 2011 we were short-listed and received a Highly Commended from eConsultancy.com in the Innovation in E-commerce category.
But it was a great feeling last night at Dartmouth House, London at the TechMedia award ceremony to be top of the winners board, and stand up and collect the award for Best Cloud Product category, for our work on the thinkTribe iPhone Application Monitor, and we’re top of the 2011 TechWorld Award winners web page too!
And great to hear Techworld editor Mike Simons praise what our team had achieved, saying, “A cloud based tool that monitors 24/7 mobile users’ experience of a website is the right technology for the right issue, right now”.
For a change, we also had members of our R&D team on the night too, so it was great for them to be able to share in the accolade (and the nosh!).
Unfortunately, 99% of retailers are not able to monitor 24/7 user experience of their mobile apps – so are flying in the dark. The usual monitoring approaches just don’t work in the mobile space – so we’re proud of this award, which recognises the genuine value we provide our clients in their ongoing challenge to maintain and improve user experience against the backdrop of their ever changing traffic levels and ever changing website features.
It’s an exciting time for thinkTribe, as more and more organisations see the value of our services to measure customer experience and user journey performance 24/7 – by measuring more than just the site, confidence in the quality of the actual user experience increases, as IT resources are focused each week and month on what will provide the biggest UX benefit.
Application performance monitoring is an area where effort can so easily be wasted – unless there’s a clear focus on ‘Doing what the Customer Does’, and monitoring your website across all the various user journeys that are the keynote reasons why users visits your website, and how you make your money online. Without that user focus – it’s just numbers about pages, with no direct correlation to how well you’re serving your user base.
It was great to see recognition for the work our R&D team had put in, to build our powerful and flexible monitoring platform that makes it easy to measure 24/7 user experience from any and all of mobile phone apps, M-Web sites tweaked for mobile web browser as well as traditional websites: Tesco was the first client to work with us on the Mobile App monitoring area, but now a range of websites, particularly retailers, are benefiting too.
The R&D team are too often the unsung heroes, but at thinkTribe our clients recognize and value our ability to turn round new feature requests very quickly – together with our new product development team and UI designers, we’re on a Japanese style ‘continuous improvement’ process.
Every 2 weeks a new iteration starts, and the features that are selected each time may come from internal Product Development thinking; or be direct requests from clients, that we’ve taken on board, listened to, bounced off other clients and decided there is enough interest to justify the investment of R&D time.
Obviously at the award ceremony it was a just top level recognition of what our technology can do to help online organisations link up their tech teams with their commercial teams around the common language of ‘what’s happening in real time to our users when they follow the key User Journeys on our site’. The R&D guys were slightly disappointed that there wasn’t enough time to go into the details of why what they’ve done is so cool! Sorry guys, it’s just an awards bash, after all!
But actually they are right – what they’ve delivered is impressive. It’s hard work not just to build a portal to deliver vital journey based KPI information of journey performance – but it’s an order of magnitude harder to know how to to build it so that it is intuitive and easy to use, for both the top-level marketing and commercial teams who want overview summaries: as well as allowing deep drill down technical details for the IT Opps and software teams, so they can use the data to identify problem root causes and fix them with least effort.
That’s a tricky two-sided coin: one side is top level user Journey metrics for the non-IT teams, who can readily understand the multi-page specification of each user journey, and can understand the top level KPIs that green for all the Journeys is good, whereas bursts of red means users are being impacted. And the other side of the coin, the ability to see a problem in a KPI and drill down to the real techie details of what page, what components, what problem occurred.
That two-sided coin is another reason our services become widely used at clients: because it saves so much time at meetings and in post mortems; round the table it’s just a few clicks between a KPI problem, and the tech details behind it: so there’s no need to postpone meetings and send the tech team away to find out what happened to cause the KPI to drop.
A recurring theme we hear from new clients, is that they find our portal both easier to use, and a richer source of information, than equivalents they have used before: whether they are upgrading to our services from page-orientated, and not ‘Do What the Customer Does’ web monitoring services, or from software and monitor tools running in house.
So this award is a big well down to all the teams at thinkTribe – R&D, New Product Development; as well as Client Liaison and Tech Support who every day deliver the benefits of our services to clients and work hard to adjust journey specifications in line with the never ending software releases and site changes as clients evolve online.