Five Trends From the Velocity Conference

by Alon Ben-Shoshan

I spent several days last week at the O’Reilly Velocity Conference in Santa Clara, CA. As I walked the halls, listened to keynotes and attended sessions I came away with five clear trends in web site monitoring. While this conference is certainly on the geeky side, there are trends that even the biggest technophobe among us can understand.

It’s a Mobile World
It’s not exactly news that smart phones running operating systems like iOS from Apple and Google Android are having a huge impact on web site owners. It forces web site owners to tune their sites for a variety of mobile phones and to maximize the mobile user experience. As more and more smart phones proliferate in the world, having the ability to monitor across mobile versions of the company web site, as well conventional web sites becomes all the more imperative.

Crossing the IT-Business Communication Gap
Again, this isn’t exactly news, but IT and business units sometimes have a hard time understanding one another. IT may be too technical for business and business may not fully understand what IT is trying to tell them. When it comes to monitoring the web site and making sure it’s tuned to run as efficiently as possible, it’s increasingly important to have metrics that show clearly how well (or poorly) the site is doing and this kind of information can help close that communications gap by providing understandable data.

Performance Monitoring Makes Sense
It may be self-serving to say so, but it makes sense to monitor web site performance because companies have learned that even one second can make a huge difference in the quality of the web site visit. To truly understand at detailed level how your web site is performing in this context requires sophisticated monitoring tools, but it’s an investment that should pay for itself by giving companies actionable information to improve their site’s performance.

Find a Performance Owner
Within every organization, somebody has to be responsible for monitoring the performance of the company web site. Finding the key people in the organization who make most sense for this role is crucial to the success of the monitoring system. Tools only get you so far. It requires humans to interpret and take action on the data.

Big Organizations Are Using Open Source Tools
One surprise from this conference was the number of large organizations such as Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Shopzilla (or any company that makes the majority of its revenue online), that did not typically buy tools from HP, BMC, CA or IBM, but instead preferred using a mix of free and homebrew tools. This is in contrast to IT departments of similar size in the Financial Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Brick and Mortar Retail with web presence, etc. that opt for purchasing the expensive monitoring tools that the big vendors tell them to buy.

Did you attend the Velocity Conference? What trends did you see?

Photo by billwscott on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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