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Top 5 Challenges of Application Performance Testing - appNeura
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Top 5 Challenges of Application Performance Testing

Millions of applications are launched every year. Yet just less than 1% of them are successful. There could be several reasons for the failure – ranging from a lack of understanding of the markets to a bad user interface. But the one thing that companies don’t talk about much is the constraints on application performance testing. Instances like frequent crashing and slow loading are signs that the application has not been tested for performance. 

The IT team does application performance testing to check the app’s stability, speed, scalability, and responsiveness under different workloads. One of the better ways to check an app’s performance is real user monitoring (RUM). Although a type of application performance testing, real user monitoring is done after the production stage, unlike performance testing, which is usually done during the pre-production stage. 

Real user monitoring aims to get real-world data on the application’s performance. In real user monitoring, the end-users interact with the application. The IT team records the interactions to gain insights into the various metrics, such as the application’s stability and how the app responds when the user performs an action. It can detect issues like the difference in app performance when accessed from different devices or get first-hand insights from end-users on new features. 

Essentially, real user monitoring provides insights into how users interact with the app, alerts the developers when there are performance issues, and enables them to improve the app’s experience. 

However, there are a few challenges that the IT team must know before using it to do application performance testing.

Top 5 Challenges of Real User Monitoring

1. Focuses on User Performance, Not Server Performance

Server monitoring is critical to ensure the smooth performance of applications and keep track of the server’s health. Typically, performance testing helps the IT team find signs of server failure. However, that’s not possible with real user monitoring. In real user monitoring, the focus is on monitoring the client-side performance, not the backend. There’s no visibility or focus on server performance. So, it’s crucial to combine real user monitoring with application performance testing to understand how the server-side code impacts the app’s performance and fix it.  

2. Difficult to Identify Baseline and Benchmark Performance

In performance testing, baseline and benchmark testing are essential. Baseline testing helps in ensuring that the application’s performance does not go down over time with new changes in the application, hardware, or codes. The IT team sets a baseline for the application’s performance. In benchmark testing, the performance results of all the releases are compared with the performance metrics decided by the company to ensure that the application meets the quality standards. It helps establish and maintain best practices to improve the application’s quality. 

However, setting a baseline and benchmark in real user monitoring is difficult. First, the user actions vary, so it’s hard to generate a performance baseline. Second, real user monitoring cannot analyze competitors’ application performance. So, it’s hard to compare the application’s performance against the competitors.   

3. Data Issues

Data is crucial for the IT team to identify and fix application performance anomalies. However, they face an odd problem of having too much data. For example, the IT team is sometimes met with an avalanche of data. 70% to 90% of the alerts are false negative or positive. This makes it difficult for the IT team to accurately diagnose the user experience issue. Manual root cause analysis makes it even more complicated. It is also prone to errors. The poor coordination between developers and Ops and the use of too many monitoring tools make it hard for the IT teams to perform root cause analysis and deliver on performance. 

4. Lack of Insights in the Pre-Production Stage

The core principle of testing is ensuring that the application is bug-free before being sent to the production environment. However, it’s different with real user monitoring. In real user monitoring, the application is tested by the end-user directly. As most end-users don’t get access to pre-production settings and the traffic is low, the IT team cannot monitor the application’s performance from the user’s perspective before deploying it.

5. Lack of Insights Due to Low Usage

Real user monitoring needs a substantial data volume to provide the IT team with valuable insights about the user sessions. However, monitoring the performance or gaining useful insights is hard when the usage is low. The team cannot identify any anomaly or track trends when very few users use the application. Similarly, it’s hard to know if the application’s new version is working well until end-users start using it. The IT team will have to wait to fix a problem till they get enough insights into it. 

How Can AI/ML Improve Real User Monitoring and Performance Testing? 

Despite the limitations, there’s enough data to prove the potential of real user monitoring. It can help improve conversions, get real insights from real situations, and provide a roadmap for the IT team to fix the issues and improve user experience. There’s a way to overcome the aforementioned challenges too. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can provide IT teams with real-time performance data. With the help of AI, the IT team can detect and fix problems even before the end-user finds them. They can perform non-intrusive, continuous monitoring of websites and applications and boost performance.  In effect, the mandate for IT teams is to bring together real user monitoring and the intelligence gathered about the internal infrastructure to define a comprehensive strategy. 

appNeura’s approach to Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) leverages our proprietary platforms that leverage AI/ML to provide end-to-end actionable insights on user experience across different channels and devices and helps improve the overall user experience. 

To know more, contact us

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