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Performance management gets personal


Dimension Data and Riverbend 

By John Plaskett, Business Development Manager, Dimension Data and Mark Burton: Riverbed Global Technical Alliance Manager

Understanding the end user’s experience is key to the future of business agility

The rapidly evolving application landscape is changing the way organisations manage their IT infrastructure. While in the past, end-user experience management was something of an afterthought for many IT teams, today - and into the future - it will be the single most important element in understanding how IT services are being delivered.

This shift toward end-user experience management has been driven by the movement of applications out of on-premise data centres and into hybrid and cloud environments. As this movement has become more mainstream, IT organisations have lost the ability to use traditional monitoring tools to assess the performance of those applications.

When applications were being hosted in on-premise data centres it was possible to monitor performance in the data centre and the on the network, and use the results to create a picture of what the end user might be experiencing. However, the move to the cloud, along with the proliferation of device types, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones has made it impossible to monitor applications in that way.

Managing service levels

The key reason for this is that applications that are hosted in the cloud and simply consumed by users, are owned and managed by the application service provider. As such, the information about application performance is not made available to companies using the service. This makes it difficult for organisations to know what the application’s performance is for individual users and consequently to enforce service level agreements or even log issues when they arise. Without end-user experience management systems, the first time you hear about an issue is when someone complains and even then, the issue may have been causing problems for the users for some time but they have just not reported it.

With end user experience management, there is the ability to know exactly what the performance of a given application is on every device that accesses it and as a result, IT teams are able to intervene as soon as an issue arises.

More importantly for organisations migrating their applications to the cloud, monitoring the performance of cloud-based applications from an end-user point of view can provide vital insights into the value the application is providing.

Working on laptop 

Real world performance

An example might be a new cloud-based sales application; without end user experience management it would be difficult to assess the success of the deployment. However, with a system in place it would be possible to see how many people were using an application, how extensively they used it, what the response times were on the specific network, site or even the device they were using. The project team would then be able to identify areas of concern and act quickly to remediate them before it has an impact on the usage of the application. These problems could be caused by any number of issues, including the device being used, the network being used for access, the number of people on that network at any given time, or even the performance of the application servers themselves. Without the data on the end-users’ experience, and preferably a significant amount of data from a number of different devices, it would be difficult to identify these issues. 

The benefits of end-user experience management are not limited to cloud-based applications - it is equally important for apps hosted in an on-premise or hybrid environment.

Having this level of data can be overwhelming for some organisations, but the management tools provide their insights in an easy to understand dashboard view. In addition, leveraging managed services allows a service provider to monitor and manage applications in real time, irrespective of where the applications are located.

Going forward it should be possible to implement AI-powered automatic remediation tools which can monitor the individual user’s experience and implement changes to optimise the user experience.

Things you need to think about now…… 

  • The current experience of both your internal (staff, contractors, partners, etc) and external customers.
  • Your plans to move certain workloads to cloud, and the likely performance and experience challenges with your evolving hybrid IT model.
  • How you can develop, simulate and verify performance ahead of and during the transition.
  • New applications, including mobile apps, that you intend launching.
  • Although this all seems pretty daunting, with the right monitoring and management strategy, you can reach your user satisfaction goals while making the business more agile and efficient.

For more insights into why end-user experience management should form the heart of any technology infrastructure management strategy, join the webinar

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