On the Mic with Mike Punsky - The investment of web performance monitoring
Test and Monitor | Posted August 15, 2012

How many times have you heard the old saying that "time equals money"? Although you're probably sick of it hearing it, there's probably nowhere that this is more true than in the world of web development. People are impatient. They expect immediate results and are not going to wait for your clunky site to load. Basically, you need your site to be as fast as possible. Think Ussain Bolt. Better yet, think Flash!


The bottom line is that the performance and speed of your site have a direct impact on revenue. The real question comes with weighing out how much time and energy you want to devote to monitoring web performance. What kind of return should you expect from investing in performance monitoring? 

Luckily, SmartBear's very own Mike Punsky recently hosted a webinar during which he spoke with a 25-year veteran of the software industry asked him to ellaborate on a variety of topics. Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at what the experts have to say about optimizing web performance when they go on the mic with Mike Punsky. Enjoy.



Q: What is the return on investment of web performance monitoring?


A: Well, I think the answer to that is how you calculate the cost of not doing it. And that's going to be different for every situation. It's very easy actually to look at your past e-commerce sales data. I'm going to talk about, first, availability, when people can't do anything. And then we'll  get back into performance.

Say you take a month period and a daily period of what those e-commerce sales are. And then just create a model in Excel that says, ‘all right, what if my site is down at any one of these particular times?’ And then, boom! You're going to get a calculation. It's kind of an oversimplified calculation, because it's going to assume that if it's down for an hour, it's going to come right back up and you're going to get that same amount of shopping.

It's a little bit of a simplified model, but it's a good starting point. And then what you do is then you create an abandonment figure. So you create a cell in that Excel spreadsheet that says abandonment rate, next to performance. So if the performance goes down by 30%, it's 30 times slower, I'm going to lose, say, 10% of the customers or 5%. I'm not saying those are the figures you should use, but that's how you can model it.

And then you can do to several different scenarios for your site about what that abandonment rate will actually cost you. So that's the starting point. Then what you have to do is you actually have to get data for what that abandonment rate might be. Now if you're lucky, you can use past performance data to actually model that. You can actually see if performance went down the number of customers. And so you can use actual numbers. 

And this is a key to doing ongoing monitoring. If you're going to continue to monitor, you're going to have that data available. You take your performance monitoring data from your external monitoring site. You marry it with the sales data and your web log data. And now you have a data set that you can work with to calculate that.

If you don't have all of that, or you don't have all that right away, you can do what I said. You can do a simplified model and look at multiple scenarios.





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