A Crash Course for Tealeaf Starters

If someone was to ask you why a particular visitor abandoned a process on your site or why a large number of visitors to a page did not complete a goal, would you be able to answer? Would your IT team know, your customer service team? Probably not, uncovering a definitive answer into a customers online experience is usually very difficult. Due to the historic lack of a consistent platform to uncover and address customer problems, teams across varying departments such as IT, business groups, and customer service digest data and operate separately to make decisions, all based on data that contains a visibility gap. 
 
For many organizations, hidden problems plaguing their site result in frustrated customers, lost revenue, and overworking of the IT and customer service team as they try to uncover and resolve issues without really even understanding the issue at hand. That’s where Tealeaf comes in - it provides a common ground which can be used across all sectors of an organization to improve this gap of knowledge and ultimately, the online customer experience. 
 
With groundbreaking, patented technology, IBM Tealeaf solutions work to capture each customer interaction on your site—right down to the page-by-page, browser-level experience(1). With its enhanced features to analyze web-traffic data, Tealeaf offers advantages such as decrease in production costs, reduce customer dispute investigations, and better e-business knowledge across both technical and strategic sectors.
 
So what exactly is Tealeaf? IBM Tealeaf is a suite of customer experience management solutions that provides optimal digital experience by analyzing visitor interactions on websites and mobile devices. To better illustrate this, I will provide a “crash-course” on the basic Tealeaf suites and modules as well as the architecture of the Tealeaf solution. 
 
 
TEALEAF SUITES AND MODULES
Tealeaf solutions are passively deployed and work with virtually any web-based application environment. Because the applications come with low risk or impact to existing applications or infrastructure, many of the web’s most sophisticated and mission-critical sites utilize Tealeaf to seamlessly optimize and preserve their larger strategic framework. The integral modules of Tealeaf system are outlined below:
 
Tealeaf CX | The core engine behind the entire system, some of its key features include data-storage, indexing, privacy security rules and is a required component for any of the Tealeaf products. 
 
cx Impact | This module ensures that every customer interaction can be replayed and searched for using the Tealeaf portal access. Some of the key features provided by this module include;  replay, search, events, alerts, report builder. 
 
cx View | This provides enhanced capabilities for aggregating the data sources into reports, scorecards, and dashboards. 
 
cx Reveal | This module, on the other hand, provides access to re-playable sessions both live and stored including shadow browsing.
 
cx Overstat | Cx Overstat provides web-analysis including heatmaps, link and form analytics ( dynamic data analysis on clicks) which assures better conversion rates and improved content placement on the site. 
 
cx Mobile | Allows searching and indexing data for customers engaged via mobile devices. Client side actions such as swipe and scroll are captured along with mobile session replays. 
 
 
UNDERSTANDING TEALEAF ARCHITECTURE  
As your site visitors interact with your site, the Tealeaf CX platform captures each interaction down to what your visitor is doing and seeing on each page, across their entire session. This level of understanding of your visitors experience allows an organization to track the metrics that are most integral to their business objectives – you are able to track if a customer fails while trying to login, 404 page errors, where a process was abandoned throughout the path, or even track the performance of products based on visitor interaction. 
 
These events can be tracked in real-time as the Tealeaf CX passively records the HTTP (S) request and response data by “sniffing” TCP/IP packets from the network via an existing span port or network tap. The web-traffic between the client and server is mirrored by using a SPAN port and the network packets are then sent to the Tealeaf servers.
 
 
 
 
The Passive Capture Application (PCA) server (cx Capture) receives copies of packet from the network device such as SPAN port, switch or port which monitors the web and mirrors the web-traffic for processing.  The PCA assembles the request and response into a hit, compresses it and sends it off to the processing servers and decrypts SSL traffic if needed.
 
Health Based Routers (HBR’s) | HBR’s monitor the health of processing servers and are recommended for environments consisting of more than one processing server. 
 
Processing Servers | Receives data from previous stage (HBR or PCA). A set of transport pipeline programs performs actions such as spooling data to disk if incoming traffic exceeds the limit, remove unwanted hits, privacy filtering/encryption of data. A short term canister stores the active sessions and long term canister stores all the completed sessions which can be accessed later on for processing. These completed sessions are typically available for around 7-15 days. 
 
Reporting Servers | SQL databases where data is fetched every few minutes from the processing servers and queried upon for generating reports available in the portal interface. 

Portal Server | A web based user interface available for searching, creating events and reporting aggregated data. It also serves as the front end for replaying sessions using RealiTea Viewer (RTV).

Replay Server | Serves as a browser based replay for replaying user sessions which can be accessed through the portal. 
 
With everything I’ve outlined, it is easy to see that Tealeaf offers much more detailed analysis for a customer interaction, which significantly improves the customer engagement. With its great drill-down and event-tagging capabilities, each and every session can be monitored separately and can be processed by applying customized rules. 
 
On the other hand, those looking to start out with Tealeaf might find the data provided very detailed and that it requires a higher level of organization. True, we’ve helped numerous organizations with their Tealeaf implementation and management and it can take some training to grasp the full functionality of the solutions. If you are already a Tealeaf user, we also have an eBook that helps user overcome the most common Tealeaf challenges - get it HERE.
 
Either way – if you’re a current Tealeaf user or just starting out – feel free to contact us at info@stratigent.com  for help with your application!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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By Akshay Ahluwalia
About the Author:

Akshay Ahluwalia is an Analyst at Stratigent.

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