Web Performance Tuning and the Enterprise Frontend

We’re all aware of the impact that user experience and page speed have on business results for online shopping sites; much has been written about the correlation between web performance and business metrics such as conversions, revenue and brand image.

Inside the enterprise, though, we don’t really talk about conversions or abandonment – we have a captive audience, right? Instead, conversations about performance turn towards productivity and user satisfaction. What does remain common is its impact on your brand – the reputation of the IT department and your perceived ability to deliver application services. The shift towards service-oriented IT embodies these business-centric interests, demanding a view of web performance as your users experience it.

So, let’s begin with an obvious conclusion – web performance is similarly important inside the enterprise as it is outside. We should therefore be able to assume that web performance tuning best practices, so well-defined for eCommerce sites, should easily translate to enterprise web applications. To a large degree, this is correct, although I’ll be making the point that they can be enhanced for enterprise web applications. Many of these best practices are embodied in tools and processes, some generic and some specific to common platforms, and are divided into two categories – frontend and backend tuning. Almost a decade ago (!), Steve Souders highlighted what he called the Performance Golden Rule – that 80% of the end-user response time is spent on the frontend, leaving 20% on the backend. (You can find a recent update from Steve here.)

Read more about the role web performance plays for the enterprise in terms of conversion, revenue, and customer perspectives on your brand: