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February 19th, 2019 • By Jason Skowronski and Craig Guillot
Errors are a fact of life in web development, and even the world's greatest brands are not without fault. Errors can create unhappy customers, deter new ones and reduce revenues. An error monitoring solution offers a clear view of the most important errors based on how often they occur and how they impact users. It will give your engineering team confidence to deploy faster, and debug problems quickly, so they can get back to building new features.
Here are four good reasons why you need error monitoring:
Most consumers now have high expectations for apps, and things like server errors, timeouts and missing resources can quickly degrade the user experience. A bigger issue is that the consumers don't even report many of the errors they encounter. Organizations that don't have an efficient system to identify and address errors will lose sales, customers, and market share should those errors persist or happen repeatedly.
You shouldn't rely on customers to report problems, instead find and fix them proactively. An error monitoring solution gives you visibility into errors that affect the most users and highest value users. This helps your team prioritize errors by impact and efficiently allocate resources. The richer debugging capabilities of an error monitoring solutions can reduce Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Restore (MTTR), both of which can reduce outages and increase uptime.
“Rollbar is our early warning system for errors. The worst thing that can happen is a customer writes in to the support team to say something is broken. Rollbar allows us to be ahead of our customers and to fix issues before they ever know something is wrong.” — Tyler Wells, Director of Engineering at Twilio
Errors directly impact your revenues because they deter sales and make it difficult or impossible for customers to interact with your service. Errors are a frequent reason for reduced conversion rates, smaller cart sizes and shopping cart abandonment, something that can cost a large retailer tens of millions of dollars annually. Over time, this can lead to loss of trust and customers may look for alternatives, costing you repeat business and upgrades.
Error monitoring can help prevent revenue churn and lost sales by quickly notifying your team of problems, and giving them the information needed to debug problems quickly. By reacting quickly, you can show customers you care, reduce the impact of a problem, or even totally prevent it.
Engineering teams are delivering products faster by adopting continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) practices. An error monitoring solution gives developers the confidence to deploy faster, knowing there is a safety net watching both canary and production deployments.
Engineering managers will be able to better coordinate with their teams and other departments. Error monitoring offers quick insight into which errors are impacting customers the most, when the problem started, who is working on it, and confirm the fix after it's delivered to production.
Besides high impact errors, many applications have a long tail of less common errors. If too many errors build up over time, it's a sign the application is brittle and this may slow delivery of new features. Management may be hesitant to address errors promptly when they become too time-consuming and complex to investigate. By helping developers fix errors faster, your team can reduce technical debt. It's faster to solve an error right away than months later after the developer has forgotten the code base and context. A good error monitoring solution allows your team debug errors faster, so they can spend more time building new features with high quality.
A brittle application can fatigue development teams, diminish productivity and morale if they must continually work overtime to address errors. Developers would rather avoid positions with a large percentage of firefighting and maintenance work. Considering it can take months of onboarding and tens of thousands of dollars to recruit an engineer, using a modern workflow with error monitoring can prove to be a cost-effective retention tool. It may also help you recruit top talent who prefer to join organizations that use the best tool sets to develop high-quality products.
“There are so many emotional pains developers and operators have from all kinds of hideous errors they have shipped. What if you could make that go away? That’s what Rollbar does.” — Rob Zuber, CTO of CircleCI
Learn more about how Rollbar's customers benefit from tracking errors, how it gives them confidence to deploy continuously, and context to fix problems quickly. When you're ready, sign up for a free trial to see an overview of how errors are impacting your business.