When you launch a web application, one of the most important things you’ll need to know is how users interact with your site. This type of analytics has been highly sought after for years, with countless products evolving since the early days of the Internet. From heat maps to browser caching, data collection methods around user activity have spanned the good, the bad and the ugly. But New Relic is hoping to improve on this sector with the release of a real user monitoring tool as part of its core SaaS application performance management service.
An add-on to its existing toolkit, the real user monitoring gives insight into user activity as it happens. New Relic happens to be a browser-based capability, capturing network time, time in the app itself, and time spent rendering the web page. The service will track the type and version of the browser being used, as well as the operating system and geographic location of the user. For web applications that need this basic information for reporting, feedback and troubleshooting, having it centralized is an extremely useful aspect of business analytics as SaaS becomes a channel for the future of distribution.
The idea here is to offer up valuable, real-time insight for things like browser response time, measuring user satisfaction from the end user’s perspective, as well as the application’s. This can help determine where performance is bottlenecking, providing necessary information around making future improvements.
New Relic works at the code level, looking at activity and performance line-by-line. This is where New Relic’s deep insight comes in, giving detailed reports on where an app may be messing up, or where users are running into trouble. It’s like those cameras that monitor Wal-Mart shopper behavior, in an effort to help them navigate the store better, but also increase profits. And New Relic is doing it all for free.
Other services that offer similar products have vastly different pricing structures, giving New Relic a competitive advantage when it comes to promoting its toolkit. With 13 years of experience behind its technology (though the company was founded in 2008), New Relic’s differentiator is in its point of integration. Instead of creating a service that has to create a custom approach for the web app its monitoring, New Relic has already developed around the major languages, making it able to work with various code at the source base.
“Over the years we tried to integrate sources that didn’t fit together,” Lew Cirne, CEO of New Relic explains. “You could start by looking at a browser problem and go from there, but the only way to address this is to find a solution. It’s the wave of the future and software companies need to look at what their users experience.”
With such a solution, over a decade in the making, New Relic is also looking to leapfrog its competitors, many of which are chasing a consulting-based strategy with their solutions. Enterprise-level consulting and SaaS management is a growing sector for many cloud-based services, as businesses find themselves with more IT than they can handle. In offering an easy solution with little integration on the client side, New Relic leverages the cloud’s processing power and its core technology to reduce service prices 70-80%.
It seems a perfect marriage of the cloud’s prowess and real-time data analytics, but its real potential lies in the mobile sector. This is an area in which New Relic is already thriving, listing Zynga as one of its largest clients. “We manage several games with them, including Words with Friends,” Cirne boasts. “It’s an astronomical growth story. One of many mobile game companies that we manage the performance of. What we manage is what the server is doing to support all these games that happen to have client code, gaining logic on what the next move is. There’s hundreds of millions playing these games at the same time.”
When it comes to the future of mobile, New Relic hopes to extend visibility into the mobile handset itself. It’s certainly an area of growing importance, especially as HTML 5 broadens the scope of devices on which an app can be deployed, making a cross-platform path for SaaS delivery, management and monitoring. “Because of performance issues, people aren’t fully benefiting from the web,” Cirne says. “They’re not fast enough, and companies need insight to address these issues.”