The primary goal of IT operations should be to optimize the digital experience for their employees, not just monitor it. And a vital component of digital experience optimization (DXO) is accurate, end-to-end monitoring of performance data for the entire digital journey — starting at the endpoint device to the cloud service data center and back.
But there are key challenges in monitoring the end-to-end (E2E) user experience for cloud-based solutions like Microsoft 365. Get to know the type of telemetry data that needs to be gathered and organized to gain real visibility across the different segments of the digital journey. Learn how you can leverage those insights from a single pane of glass. Empower your IT operations group to go beyond watching and act on what needs fixing.
Why End-User Experience Matters
IT groups today must ensure the performance and reliability of distributed systems across both on-premises and multi-cloud environments. These modern systems deliver speed and flexibility. However, the rapid growth and variety of end user applications running on those systems — including popular VoIP technologies — can generate an overabundance of telemetry data that overwhelms an IT support ecosystem. And if you’re using multiple monitoring tools then things get even harder to manage.
Your performance data can end up in different silos. This makes it difficult to see the big picture and identify issues that may affect the digital experience for any user. For example, if a network trace shows a spike in latency from an office location or a drop in the rate of system connections. It can be hard to assess if any users were impacted. You may need to switch to a different tool. And yet another tool to piece together the overall picture for the digital user experience. Overhead like this can increase your mean time to resolution (MTTR) on trouble tickets reported to the helpdesk and lead to reduced productivity for those impacted employees. And who knows, real issues may go completely unnoticed, since the affected users may never call the helpdesk.
Understanding the user experience should come first. And for complete visibility into their performance, you need telemetry data from their perspective — network traces, performance metrics, and logs — that describe activity across the entire digital journey. And it needs to start at their endpoint. The only true way to gather metrics about a users’ experience is by getting it from their device, logged in as the user (security context), during the time they are working. Having that viewpoint of the end-user experience, no matter where they are working, is of utmost importance when trying to analyze and troubleshoot a problem.
End-to-End Monitoring Challenges
This brings up another challenge for IT operations groups. Legacy monitoring solutions have known blind spots when it comes to employees working outside of an office building. And today’s new hybrid work structure allows employees to decide where they work (home office, ISP, Wi-Fi), how they work (preferred hardware), and with what tools they work (services). Sure, IT provides them with the options and means to connect securely, but most elements are now decided by the user including their unmanaged networks and external ISPs.
IT support has shifted from fully controlled to loosely connected where users now have more freedom to choose where, how, and when to work. This creates huge blind spots for IT operations groups when it comes to monitoring the performance and end-to-end digital experience for employees working remotely. And while IT operations might not own all the underlying, remote infrastructure, they still own the user experience.
End-to-End Visibility Into End User’s Digital Experiences
So now that we have identified the challenges with monitoring the end-to-end user experience, what options are there. Well first you need a modernized digital experience monitoring solution that gathers telemetry data from the endpoint device, providing a viewpoint from the user perspective. Second, the solution needs to gather all network performance metrics during the journey from the user device to the cloud service provider. This includes data from their unmanaged network and their ISP. And third, the performance details from the cloud service must all be collected and aggregated with the other data. But this just gets you to the starting line to monitor the digital experience for your employees.
To enable true digital experience optimization (DXO) the new age solution needs to provide a holistic and comprehensive approach to troubleshooting issues, both reactive and proactive. All the background data needs to be organized and available in a single pane-of-glass. The solution must provide graphical dashboards and simple drill-down reports that empower IT operations groups, including the helpdesk, to perform fast analysis and identify the responsible areas that are most likely causing the problems. Because knowing every metric, even every glitch is not equal to being able to solve the problem.
OfficeExpert is a unique DXO solution in these regards. It provides detailed, end-to-end performance data from all endpoint devices — Network, CPU, Memory Usage, and Cloud Apps. The information is gathered from easily deployed, localized agents running on computer endpoints. These agents harvest the most accurate metrics to measure performance during the complete digital journey. And the information is collated and organized using powerful UI reporting and graphical dashboards to aid IT operations groups in performing root-cause analysis and proactively identifying the chokepoints causing digital experience issues.
OfficeExpert helps find that mysterious bottleneck that is impacting performance, that needle in a haystack. Using built-in, business intelligence, the solution quickly points out the area in the haystack most likely causing the problem. Then by drilling down into the detailed performance metrics stored in the system for that area of responsibility, OfficeExpert provides the information to analyze the chokepoint and resolve the issue.
An End User Digital Experience Scenario: Online Meetings
A perfect example of monitoring end-to-end (E2E) user experience comes from today’s online meetings. Let’s assume three users need to meet and discuss a project while they are all working remotely, and they decide to use Microsoft Teams* for the meeting.
One is at home, another in the office, and one is at a coffee shop.
The Teams meeting already includes several necessary features and services such as, audio, video and screensharing. Each of which can individually have a good or bad performance.
Other factors that can influence the experience are:
- Type of connection: Wlan, wifi, public wifi?
- VPN or not?
- Which ISP?
- Type of device (laptop, mobile, pc, ipad?)
- What type of accessories and other hardware (Headsets, microphones, videocard, etc)
And realize that each user has their own experience, impacted by the fact that they each have an individual SEND and RECEIVE stream to the cloud. So even if User A sends great audio output, there is no guarantee that user B’s receive stream is giving them great audio quality.
The previous examples were only to describe the part TO THE CLOUD. Once you hit the cloud itself, it gets even murkier. Sitting in the same physical location is no guarantee that you get routed the same way. The vendor of the communication solution (in this case, Microsoft) decides where to connect you based on your M365 tenant’s location as well as your location/ISP, and your data may be constantly moved between different data centers.
If you are in a Teams call or meeting, get disconnected and reconnect again you might even get routed completely differently.
*(this example would also apply to other platforms like zoom, Webex, etc.)
Try End-to-End Monitoring with OfficeExpert
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the goal for IT operations should be to provide the best, most optimized, digital experience to their employees. If they focus on supporting people, not machines, then everything comes into clarity. To achieve that they need the right monitoring and troubleshooting tool to empower them.
Most IT monitoring solutions lack a 360-degree view of the end-to-end digital experience for users, leaving IT forced to use multiple tools and monitor silos of information without sufficient context for timely troubleshooting. OfficeExpert, on the other hand, was architected from the ground up to provide IT operations groups with access to the complete picture, shining a light on all aspects of their employees’ end-to-end digital experience, no matter where they are working. And since the information is gathered from each device endpoint, the telemetry data provides the insights needed to pinpoint issues, identify the area of responsibility, and make informed decisions to optimize the user experience.
Key benefits include:
- Fast remediation for reported issues on digital experience
- Proactive identification for performance problems with details on what to fix
- Scorecard rating for each user’s digital experience over time
- Tracking the improvement of user digital experience scores over time (by Dept, by Geography, by Job Role, etc.)