Whether it’s a popular television series such as Game of Thrones, new release movies, or the Disney channel for the little ones, OSN delivers entertainment to fans of all ages in 24 countries across the Middle East and North Africa. OSN, the leading entertainment network in the region, provides exclusive content at the same time as the United States through partnerships with Disney, HBO, NBC Universal, Fox, Paramount, MGM, Sony, and DreamWorks.
OSN’s premium and exclusive content is available in Arabic, English, Filipino, and South Asian languages. And OSN customers can watch their favourites on nearly any device, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Competing for viewers
For OSN, winning the hearts, minds, and wallets of entertainment fans takes more than delivering the content that consumers want most; sustainable success in the broadcast media business also requires delivering the best experience throughout the customer journey.
‘Good experiences drive customer loyalty, so it’s fundamental for us to understand the customer experience’, says Jacques von Benecke, chief digital officer at OSN. ‘Our biggest challenge was a lack of visibility into what customers across more than 20 different countries were experiencing at any point in time.’
The OSN experience in each country can be vastly different, predominantly because of the quality and type of networks that are available, with some countries having only fixed-line telephony, while others have wireless 3G, 4G, or 5G networks.
‘Trying to transmit content across different technology platforms while maintaining consistent, high-quality experiences is an ongoing challenge’, says von Benecke. ‘Aside from limited latency and availability metrics, we didn’t have the in-depth, application-level data we needed to understand and respond to customer experience, performance, and availability issues.’
Identifying issues in a complex environment
The IT team lacked the tools it needed to effectively and rapidly determine the root causes of performance issues. Modern application deployment environments like OSN’s increase the challenges for IT teams. With the majority of its systems running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and taking advantage of microservices, containers, and serverless computing, it was difficult to pinpoint primary causes of reliability and performance problems.
When a critical system called MyOSN—the customer-facing website and mobile application for customers to manage their subscription and billing—suffered some performance issues, the IT team knew it needed a better way to diagnose and resolve them.
Pinpointing a significant bottleneck
That’s when OSN decided to embark on a proof of concept with New Relic. As part of the effort, the New Relic platform was deployed across the entire stack running MyOSN, from the backend services that feed the website and mobile application, to the hosts, frontend, and mobile application.
With an end-to-end view of the application, OSN’s IT team could immediately see where the performance issue was occurring. New Relic identified the bottleneck causing the poor performance in a critical service on which MyOSN was dependent.
‘New Relic helped us pinpoint the root cause of the high transaction time for MyOSN’, says von Benecke. ‘A failing DNS lookup was causing a 4.5 second delay in response time on the backend. Fixing that gave us a 75% performance improvement for this application.’
Optimising the worst performing application
Based on the success of the proof of concept, OSN made New Relic its platform of choice and a critical component of its technology stack. Then, using data from New Relic, von Benecke gave the IT team its next project: use New Relic to help improve performance of Unify, another OSN application.
Unify is an internal application used by the company’s call centre agents, direct sales representatives, and dealers. Using New Relic, the team discovered that each time an agent with a customer waiting on the phone searched for customer credentials, the application made an exceptionally large number of service calls.
‘With New Relic, we improved response time from an average of 14 seconds to only 4 seconds, which positively impacted the customer experience’, says von Benecke.
Gaining visibility into millions of lines of code
Using New Relic to improve the performance of its MyOSN and Unify applications was just the start for OSN. Today, the IT team relies on New Relic to understand performance, dependencies, and bottlenecks across all of its applications as well as how the applications are impacting the customer experience.
‘Given the size of our code base, which is millions of lines of code, the biggest benefit for us is the ability to quickly identify the root cause of performance issues using New Relic’, says von Benecke. ‘Identifying issues down to the line of code is invaluable in helping us optimise the customer experience.’
The OSN team is also using New Relic to create and manage alerts, which automate and improve the way application owners maintain and monitor their applications.
Tying performance back to the customer journey
Beyond the IT team, other areas within OSN are now benefiting from the insight New Relic provides. According to von Benecke, ‘Our business people are using New Relic to understand how our customers are using our applications, including geographic locations and which devices are being used.’
The executive team also gets its own weekly report based on New Relic data that shows how well the OSN website is performing in terms of number of visitors, and how many of those visitors were converted into paying customers.
‘We review the e-commerce metrics from a customer journey perspective, specifically looking at conversion rates during sales funnel touchpoints’, says von Benecke. ‘This helps us determine if our campaigns are driving the desired traffic to the site.’ The executive team also reviews the technical performance of the platform and the potential impact it has on the touchpoints in the sales journey.
‘New Relic is the single source of truth describing the customer experience from a technology perspective,’ says von Benecke. ‘The breadth and depth of the data points that we can collect and then model in dashboards with different perspectives for each department is fantastic.’