Cyara Blog

Comparing Active and Passive Production Monitoring

Posted by Brian Chapman | Development Team Leader/Quality Assurance Manager

February 12, 2018

Even the most thoroughly tested and optimized CX delivery systems are subject to unexpected failures and degradation, and CX monitoring allows an enterprise to detect these before their customers do. As covered in this Cyara Resources article, CX production monitoring is designed to check the performance of your CX delivery systems.

Production monitoring can broadly be classified as either active or passive, and it's beneficial for enterprises to use both. In this post, I'd like to go into more detail about active and passive monitoring.

A medical background with a heart beat  pulse with a heart rate monitor symbol.jpeg

A helpful metaphor for understanding the difference is to imagine a train network or train service. Active monitoring would be the equivalent of being a passenger and rating the experience of the journey. You wouldn’t get a feel for how every passenger rated the trip, but you’d know exactly what the journey was like and could rate quality of service, comfort, and overall level of enjoyment. You would only know about that particular train ride, though; you don't know the other passengers. If you take the trip often enough, you get a good idea of the types of trip every passenger will experience.

By contrast, passive monitoring is the equivalent of being a trainspotter watching trains from the station. You may record the type of train, know it left on time, and that it appeared to run smoothly, and you might even know that it arrived safely, that the train carriages seemed nice and even about any problems that caused delays on the way. But you're not sure it was a great experience because you didn't ride the train. As a trainspotter, you can look at more train trips and at a greater variety of train trips.

It is the difference between actively being on the ride or just watching someone ride and then trying to determine quality.


Active Production Monitoring and Its Benefits

Active monitoring allows you to be a participant in your CX delivery system. Active monitoring with Cyara Pulse means being involved in an interaction and gives the customer point of view, whether it is a phone call or a web chat. You're evaluating the system by actively using it — whether via a voice or digital channel — in the same way a customer would. 

Active monitoring enables you to examine:

  • Whether customers can reliably connect and complete interactions with agents
  • The quality of the interaction as experienced, whether voice, web chat, SMS, or email
  • Overall rating of the interaction from a customer point of view
  • What was experienced by the customer so it can be compared to what was experienced by the agent
  • How long it takes agents to respond to chat interactions
  • The complexity or ease of a chat interaction from end to end

It is an easier type of monitoring to deploy in production. It uses the same channels that a customer would typically use, and can be effectively deployed into the cloud since it doesn’t require installation at the production site.

Passive Production Monitoring and Its Benefits

Passive monitoring allows you to be an observer of your CX delivery system. By inserting probes into your production environment and gathering statistics, passive monitoring gives a high-level overview of your CX delivery systems.

Examples of the statistics that passive monitoring can gather are:

  • Number of interactions initiated or received
  • Call faults
  • Quality of Service (QoS) statistics such as delay, lost packets, jitter
  • The quality of a call based on QoS statistics
  • Overall performance and reliability of access or distribution networks
  • User analytics including web page hot zones, responsiveness, and other site statistics
  • Time to receive email and missing emails
  • Time to receive SMS and missing SMS messages

Comparing Active and Passive Monitoring 

Active monitoring gives you detailed information about an individual interaction. Passive monitoring gives you high-level information about all interactions.

The key difference between the two types of monitoring is the point of view from which you are examining your CX delivery system. Active monitoring can give an indication of perceived experience. Passive monitoring offers insight into CX based on how well each interaction performs and the measured behavior of the system supporting those interactions.

Active monitoring can follow certain paths proactively, meaning you can find things that might be missed by passive monitoring solutions. 

The strength of passive monitoring is its ability to give insight into how all the systems that deliver customer service are performing. 

Passive monitoring's impact on the production environment can be greater, as it depends on having probes placed throughout. It can only gather information from the hosts, gateways, and networks it has access to or the information they will share. Patchy or incomplete information gathering will weaken the overall picture. 

Conversely, an active system does not disturb or rearrange the production environment. The setup for an active monitoring test case within Pulse, for example, can be very quick.

Ultimately, many enterprises opt to use both kinds of monitoring, because it provides a complete picture.

Learn how Cyara's active monitoring solution, Pulse, helped New Zealand's Ministry of Defense assure their CX in the case study below.


Customer Experience Update