Insight into the end-to-end customer experience allows TomTom to navigate to the right business destination.
by David A. Kelly, November 2008
Sometimes, all the expertise in the world can’t help you if you don’t know where you are or what’s going wrong in your organization. Take the case of TomTom, a €1.7 billion (approximately US$2.5 billion) Dutch-based leading manufacturer of navigation software and personal navigation devices (PNDs), or GPS units. Problems with inconsistent performance and a lack of insight into its end-to-end e-commerce processes made it difficult for TomTom to satisfy its customers and capture maximum potential revenue growth. “There was a point in time when we were more or less driving in the dark,” admits Oscar Diele, global vice president of e-commerce at TomTom.
As good as the company’s navigation devices are, they couldn’t provide TomTom’s management with visibility into its e-commerce systems or the issues that its customers were experiencing when trying to download manuals, update their equipment, or purchase additional maps or services. At risk was a potential huge growth in revenue that TomTom hoped to capture.
That’s where Oracle Real User Experience Insight comes in. Part of Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Real User Experience Insight helps organizations by allowing them to monitor and proactively manage their customers’ or users’ application experiences. It also helps to align IT and business objectives.
“We had a couple of outages where we were unable to process customer transactions on the Web, causing us to actually lose sales. We didn’t even know which part of our infrastructure was causing it. We were just lacking the right management information to understand what was going on,” says Diele. “That’s when we contacted Oracle and deployed Oracle Real User Experience Insight. In order to serve our customers and grow our business, we needed to understand the end user experience of our Web site visits.”
It’s a problem that’s not confined to TomTom. With more and more companies focused on saving money and optimizing customer relationships, it’s more important than ever for companies to have targeted insight into how effectively their customers are interacting with a company’s online presence.
“Oracle Real User Experience Insight gives organizations visibility into their end users’ experience,” says Leng Leng Tan, vice president of applications and systems management at Oracle. “It really fills a gap in traditional IT management tools by enabling organizations to gain visibility into what their users are experiencing. At the same time, Oracle Real User Experience Insight collects a lot of information and performance data so that application administrators can drill down and isolate the components, tiers, or services that are causing problems and then use this information to identify solutions. It’s a top-down management solution from an end-user perspective.”
TomTom’s experience with its e-commerce site and the subsequent solution built around Oracle Real User Experience Insight is a good example of how traditional IT management is in transition; instead of simply focusing on individual devices, CPU performance, or storage limits, many organizations are now looking for management solutions that can help them manage IT as a business. It’s also a good example of the potential upside of managing IT this way.
“It takes more than just managing individual servers or databases to succeed today,” says Jean-Pierre Garbani, vice president, Forrester Research. “We have seen in the past that servers or databases can be up and available and yet deliver a poor service to the business. Oracle, by concentrating on user experience, application management, and root cause analysis, is answering the need for business-oriented IT services.”
Critical Need for Business Insight
Since its founding in 1991, TomTom has experienced incredible success. In 2008, the company expects to ship 14 million to 15 million PNDs worldwide. In fact, its device shipments have been growing at a tremendous rate—60 percent in the first half of 2008, 105 percent last year, and 180 percent the year before. This astounding market penetration is providing an ever-expanding platform for TomTom on which to sell add-on services and content, including map updates, additional maps, and more.
However, capturing these “add-on” sales requires a robust e-commerce system and a solid understanding of its effectiveness—and when Diele was hired as vice president of e-commerce in 2007, he found that TomTom’s e-commerce infrastructure was not in optimal shape. Inadequate planning and lack of management systems had led to problematic user experiences for some of the approximately 6 million unique TomTom customers visiting the company’s Web site each month—from enduring slow load times of Web pages to not being able to complete orders.