Welcome to the fifth posting of Teridion’s weekly series debunking Internet performance myths. This week’s myth is: “Internet performance is good enough”
Reality: poor Internet performance is a huge drag on the SaaS industry
The underlying reasons for poor Internet performance have to do with protocol and design decisions made over 40 years ago which optimize the Internet for resilience and reliability over speed and consistency. SaaS vendors in particular are at the mercy of Internet Backbone congestion because much of their content is personalized and therefore uncacheable.
In 1983, IBM researchers found that end user productivity increased by over 100% when the system response time dropped from 3 seconds to less than a second. Yet today, average web page response time is over 3 seconds and mobile response times are over 16 seconds. This means that most SaaS applications deliver far less productivity value than they could with optimized performance.
Poor internet performance is at the core of many SaaS business challenges:
- Regional sales: Many SaaS vendors struggle to sell in EU, APAC and LATAM markets where their application performance is much slower than in the US.
- Conversion and churn rates: End users with poor performance are less likely to purchase and more likely to cancel contracts
- Enhancements: New interactive features can negatively affect performance, forcing SaaS vendors to trade off between attractive features and acceptable performance
One way to overcome these performance challenges is through overlay networks. Overlay networks run on top of the Internet backbone and use centralized controllers to collect performance data that is used to coordinate edge nodes for more efficient routing and caching.