As online channels—and specifically the mobile platform—grow, customer expectations for a superior online experience grow right along with them. If an organization does not provide customers and potential customers with the optimal experience they prefer, users can usually find a competitor who does—raising the competitive stakes. The issue boils down to speed, which has become critical to the success of e-commerce and other online operations. It’s reported that a one-second delay in web page load time can mean 11 percent fewer page views, a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7 percent loss in conversions. (“Just One Second Delay in Page-Load Can Cause 7 Percent Loss In Customer Conversions,” Tag Man, March 14, 2012) Many firms find, in fact, that their customers not only expect better responsiveness of their web and mobile applications but that they also demand richer content. Yet with its sophisticated graphics, sound, images, videos and applications logic, rich content can add up to large payloads and more complex rendering— all of which can slow online responsiveness. e-commerce-infographic

The Challenges

In order to consistently deliver high-quality and highly responsive experiences to capture online opportunities, e-commerce firms face technology challenges in providing rich content and managing capacity demands and new workloads. They must find effective ways to overcome the limitations the mobile channel presents, scale up to accommodate peak loads and address performance issues on almost every front. Two areas present particular performance challenges:

Mobile devices and connectivity

Mobile devices have changed the commerce landscape, rapidly becoming not only the easiest way for customers to buy but also the most effective way for organizations to reach consumers at the moment of decision. Yet organizations are struggling to deliver mobile experiences that live up to user expectations. More users accessing more dynamic content on more devices can pose a performance bottleneck. And getting the necessary performance from a web-hosting environment for mobile devices is different than providing performance for desktop users. The challenges mobile computing presents to organizations seeking to deliver optimized web experiences include:

  • Mobile networks: Unlike fixed-line networks, mobile networks were not designed for web traffic—they were designed for voice. As a result, they often experience speed and reliability issues that can impact load times.
  • Vast diversity of mobile devices: The wide range of mobile devices and usage contexts pose new performance issues— among them, slow processing due to the fact that mobile devices have only a fraction of the CPU power of desktops.
  • The rapid pace of innovation: In rapidly growing mobile and online environments, devices, networks, software, protocols and standards are continually in flux—creating complexity and unpredictability that can make it difficult to ensure high performance and a consistent user experience.

In response, e-commerce firms and others doing business online must find effective ways to overcome the limitations of wireless networks and delivery systems—and they must design strategies for handling the extensive diversity of end-user devices, each of which has its own capabilities and limitations.

Responsive web design

Many organizations have attempted to improve the way they engage mobile users by using responsive web design (RWD). This web development approach seeks to provide an optimal viewing experience by enabling web pages to respond to the screen size and other elements of the context in which they are loaded so that the user interface changes accordingly. But while adopting a RWD strategy is a step toward addressing website usability and design challenges, issues persist. RWD sites tend to be complex and, as a result, they can make mobile performance painfully slow. One of the challenges presented by the large, complex pages associated with RWD is that end users’ browsers need to process and render them. Processing and rendering on underpowered mobile devices with limited computing power, however, can result in slow performance that negatively impacts the user experience. Reports suggest, in fact, that most RWD sites do not meet end users’ expectations for a high-quality online experience. (5 Guy Podjarny, Responsive & Fast: Implementing High-Perforfmance Responsive Design, (Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, 2014) However, steps can be taken—as outlined in this white paper—to isolate and alleviate responsive performance barriers in order to ensure an optimal user experience.

Solutions required for fast, reliable online experiences

Faced with today’s online user expectations, system performance challenges and the need to understand in real time what platform customers are using, e-commerce enterprises and other organizations with a significant online presence must transform their ability to deliver responsive and fast mobile web performance. In the competitive arena of digital customer engagement, web developers and architects must examine, measure and reevaluate how they can improve their delivery of:

  • High-performance responsiveness
  • Scalability
  • Availability
  • Intelligence
  • Security

The goal is ultimately to reduce the complexity of delivering high-performing web experiences with proven technologies that increase conversions and user engagement by delivering highly responsive user experiences. In a future blog, I will discuss strategies for each of these areas.

If you have questions before then, schedule a consultation to meet with one of our solution architects.

If you liked this blog, you might also like:  5 Tips for Increasing Infrastructure Efficiency logo-ibm

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Managed Services

Flagship Solutions Group can deliver efficiencies across hybrid infrastructures with a broad range of capabilities. We offer clients theflexibility to select the degree of support they want for each layer of infrastructure — from basic monitoring and management to long-term arrangements based on an innovation path designed to replace an aging or inflexible infrastructure with new technology.

  • Infographic: DIY vs MSP

  • What should you do to keep your IT house in order? While DIY could save more in upfront costs, it can also be a complex and drawn-out process that yields long-term operating expenses. The same principle applies to IT infrastructure improvements, software utilization, and data center management. Here’s a comparison between doing it yourself (DIY) and hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to take on the task for you.

  • eBook: Top 10 tips for selecting a managed services provider

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  • White Paper: Using Managed Services to Transform Your Business

  • Utilizing a managed services provider can help you transform your business by saving you money, keeping you ahead of technology issues and making your employees more productive. Learn more.

  • Infographic: Choosing the right managed services provider for your IT infrastructure

  • The pressure’s on. Everyone’s looking to IT to create business value and innovation. But running IT is no easy task these days. A managed services provider can help. 

  • White Paper – IDC: Managed S ervices: Ensuring Enterprise Transformation to Hybrid IT

  • In today’s digital economy, executives report that aligning IT with business imperatives is a challenge. Plus, newer technologies are driving fundamental changes in how people interact with organizations. To stay competitive, enterprises are turning to managed services providers to help:

    • Transform their business by shifting to hybrid IT capabilities

    • Gain agility to better adapt to market dynamics

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    • Achieve integrated hybrid IT service delivery and management

    Learn all this and more when you download the IDC white paper “Managed services: Ensuring enterprise transformation to hybrid IT.” 

  • Transforming Your Business to Hybrid IT with Managed Services

  • David Tapper, VP Outsourcing and Offshore Services, IDC, discusses how enterprise can ensure a smooth transformation to the hybrid IT environment using managed services. To learn more about how you can effectively transition to utilizing emerging and disruptive technology and services, download the IDC white paper “Managed Services: Ensuring Enterprise Transformation to Hybrid IT” at

  • Research Report: mpacts and Improvements: Optimized Sourcing in Hybrid IT Environments

  • Smart companies today are rethinking how they source and manage increasingly hybridized IT environments. In this research report, Saugatuck Technology draws on work they’ve done with hundreds of organizations to help you understand:


    • How and why hybrid IT is developing and accelerating
    • How to recognize and anticipate critical needs that can increase costs and compromise operations
    • How to find the best qualified providers to help you “optimize by outsourcing”

  • Infographic: Are you getting the most from your hybrid IT environment

  • The explosion of cloud-based social, mobile and collaborative IT and business solutions has changed how, why, where, when and from whom companies acquire technology and services. The resulting hybrid IT environment can increase the challenges and costs of sourcing and managing IT. It’s time to re-examine how you are managing it all. 

  • Navigating your Digital Transformation with IBM Integrated Managed Infrastructure Services

  • To accelerate digital transformation, many companies are adopting new technologies like cloud and mobile, which result in a hybrid, enterprise IT infrastructure.

  • White Paper: Top 10 criteria for selecting a managed services provider

  • The IT function continues to be asked to deliver more services amid growing complexity, with limited resources and
    expertise. As a result, IT organizations cannot do it alone. They look to trusted IT services providers to help them more quickly respond to business demands, reduce cost, manage complexity, support desired levels of availability, maintain leading-edge skills and adopt technology innovation. Selecting the right service provder is key.