New Metrics
eBay Launches Standard for Measuring Costs, Impacts of Online Transactions

eBay has released a new Digital Service Efficiency (DSE) dashboard to monitor and analyze the cost, performance and environmental impact of customer buy and sell transactions in an effort to balance and tune its technical infrastructure, according to a recent announcement.

Much like a car’s dashboard, DSE offers a straightforward approach to measuring the overall performance of the eBay engine. The company says the digital dashboard focuses on four key business priorities: performance, cost, environmental impact and revenue.

eBay hopes DSE will allow it to make more informed decisions on how to optimize several aspects of its technical infrastructure, including the sourcing of electrical power, data center and IT infrastructure, and the software that delivers services to users.

Using 2012 as a baseline, the company has established productivity and efficiency goals for 2013, including increasing transactions per kWh by 10 percent annually and reducing the cost and carbon per transaction by 10 percent each year.

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“Until now, companies have been unable to make direct connections between what their customers do on their websites and the total cost of providing services to them,” eBay said in a recent statement. “DSE is essentially a ‘miles per gallon’ measurement for technical infrastructure that makes an end-to-end connection between what customers do and the fundamental business metrics they influence.”

While DSE results are company-specific, eBay claims the methodology of measuring, tuning and aligning infrastructure with corporate priorities can be used by any firm delivering services over the network. In other words, just as mileage varies from any miles-per-gallon rating, DSE offers an introspective view of how well a company has optimized its technical infrastructure.

eBay says it plans to share the methodology and results to stimulate a larger conversation on how measurement can drive the tuning of technical infrastructure for improved business value. As the concept develops, firms can use DSE to improve transparency and provide insight into trends in energy consumption they can use in their decision-making processes.

Last month, AT&T and the Carbon War Room released a report saying global greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by nearly 20 percent through the widespread adoption of machine-to-machine technologies such as DSE. Also known as the “Internet of things,” this reduces the amount of expended energy and fuel needed to execute tasks, shrinking carbon footprints while maintaining productivity and business growth.

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