Discover Performance

HP Software's community for IT leaders // June 2014

The three types of mobile measurement you can’t overlook

Forrester looks at all the data your apps are generating that can help you improve IT—and the bottom line. Are you paying attention?

The bottom line

What: The plus—and minus—of mobility is in the monitoring.
Why: You get a lot more data to manage … and you can turn it to your advantage.
How: Use new insight not only to improve your SLAs, but your overall business results.
More: Read Forrester's full report in our mobile apps toolkit.

As operations teams around the world are discovering, mobile app performance monitoring is a new game. Developers are constantly delivering updates to applications. Consumers are accessing apps from different devices and networks all over the world. Users can defect to competitors in a moment—and a negative review can turn off users before they’ve even given your app a chance.
It’s also a new opportunity. Ops is collecting data that goes far beyond sustaining high service levels. Mobile apps tell you more about what users do—and why—than ever before, with ramifications for development and lines of business. But to keep users delighted—and to capitalize on new insights into what users really want—IT has to act fast. That’s why you’ve got to make sure you’re paying attention to the right data, and acting on it.

Business metrics

Mobile apps should tie in to business strategy—that was probably the idea when they were designed. But actual performance data tells you whether an app is meeting business goals, and can point to whether the developers or lines of business need to make improvements.
A recent Forrester paper, "Measuring Mobile Apps," identifies business metrics you should track, including:

  • Revenue generated by app sales, in-app purchases, and ads. Where is the money coming from? Is it enough?
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU). How can the business maximize what each user spends?
  • How customers make in-app purchases. Which offers work best?
  • Where your downloads come from. Do some marketplaces perform better than others? Why?
  • How your app performs compared to competing apps. Who’s getting more traction than you? What are they doing differently?

Engagement metrics

Engagement metrics are valuable to the marketing department because they can be used to adjust product strategy. Forrester’s list includes:

  • The initial app experience. Do customers come back after the first use? If not, what’s turning them off?
  • How long it takes customers to come back. Can you give them an incentive to come back sooner and more often?
  • The length of user sessions. When customers are logged in, how long do they stick around?
  • How customers buy. What offers influence their purchasing behavior?
  • User ratings in app marketplaces. What’s the public perception of your app, and how is it affecting potential downloads?

Technical metrics

You won’t get any engagement—or have any hope of aligning with business strategy—if your app doesn’t meet some basic technical requirements. These are the metrics that create the foundation for all other metrics you’ll collect, so act on them quickly.

Technical metrics to measure include:

  • Users’ platforms, form factors, and devices. What kinds of devices access your app most often? How can you do a better job of attracting users of other devices?
  • When and how bugs and crashes appear. Is one type of device experiencing more crashes than another?
  • Average load times. Are customers getting turned off because your app takes too long to load content or process purchases?
  • How well the app scales with increases in users. The more users, the better—unless your app can’t handle the load.
  • How much of the device’s resources your app consumes. You want to be a good steward, not drain the device’s battery or hog memory.

Collect, then act

Collecting these metrics is only part of the story: next, you have to feed them back into the development cycle so subsequent app releases come closer to hitting business goals. You also have valuable data for marketing and sales—unprecedented insight into exactly how and when users interact with your apps: When they use them, how often, and how long. When they make a purchase, when they hesitate. Ops leaders now have more ways than ever to bring not only excellent IT service to the business, but ideas and insights that will profit the entire enterprise.
For more on the new requirements for measuring mobile apps, read the Forrester paper, "Measuring Mobile Apps," in our mobile apps toolkit (reg. req'd).


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