If your organization has deployed Microsoft Teams as your main IT communications and collaboration platform then you will find this Blog very interesting, especially the best practices for monitoring Microsoft Teams performance. Having accurate performance metrics in place is essential to understand the digital employee experience for Microsoft Teams, and to instantly identify any usage problems or call quality issues.
However, many traditional monitoring tools are geared toward capturing only network data from business offices or tracking the uptime for cloud-based applications. They are NOT designed for monitoring Microsoft Teams performance and troubleshooting issues with real-time communication through VoIP and video, from wherever employees are working.
Why Should You Care?
End-users have high expectations for fast, reliable communications technology these days, and IT operations is on point to deliver a consistent digital experience for platforms like Microsoft Teams. Organizations that neglect to monitor the employee experience run the risk of failing to achieve their business goals due to disengaged employees and operationally inefficient innovations, failing to attract new employees, or worse, losing employees to competitors.
By leveraging real-time and historic data about Microsoft Teams call quality performance at global, local, and individual levels an organization can pinpoint, resolve, and often prevent disruptions to communications that affect productivity and employee morale. This is especially true for users working remotely these days. They rely on their own home networks and ISPs which can underperform at times and are usually blind spots for IT operations groups. Having full visibility of performance issues, no matter where users are working, is a necessity with the new work-from-anywhere culture at enterprise organizations.
Important Metrics for Monitoring Microsoft Teams Performance and Call Quality
So, how can you effectively monitor the true digital experience for Microsoft Teams voice/video call performance? This subsection explains what you need to track. And remember, the transparency of the nitty-gritty details is important as each of these requires detailed metrics and analytics to identify chokepoints that cause call quality issues.
There are three different areas, or zones, of the end-to-end journey through which Microsoft Teams voice/video traffic transverses. Each of these requires detailed monitoring and analysis to flag roadblocks causing call quality or performance issues. They include the following:
- 🡺 Endpoint Computer Performance (including what’s consuming the CPU and memory)
- 🡺 Networking Performance Connecting to the Microsoft Cloud (home or business office connectivity, and ISP)
- 🡺 Microsoft Cloud Network and M365 Data Center Performance
1. User Endpoint Computer Performance is Crucial
Let’s begin with the client device as the cornerstone for analysis. It is the starting point where a Microsoft Teams call is being triggered and it is the device itself where audio, video, and screen-sharing happens. Capturing telemetry data from the user endpoints while a call is running is essential to monitoring and analyzing call quality.
Many Microsoft Teams call quality issues have a direct correlation with slow device performance. Whether it is high CPU utilization or high memory usage or an old Bluetooth headset, the client telemetry data from a user endpoint will provide the necessary insights for troubleshooting. And it’s NOT just about identifying the area related to the problem (i.e. High CPU or Memory Usage), it’s really about spotlighting what is causing the problem.
This comes from monitoring what processes and applications are running on the endpoint computer (i.e. Open Applications, Background Processes, Disc I/O). Having the viewpoint from the end-user experience is of utmost importance when trying to find the root cause of the problem for Microsoft Teams call quality performance issues.
With the detailed telemetry data showing what exactly was happening on that device during a Microsoft Teams call will save hours of research time for IT technical support. A 2022 survey from over 100 enterprise organizations showed that 41% of respondents estimated that it was taking between 4 and 8 hours to troubleshoot and resolve Microsoft Teams performance issues.
2. Network Performance Connecting to the Microsoft Cloud
The next important set of metrics to gather and build a clear picture for Teams call quality analytics is related to network performance. Voice and Video calls all pass through multiple network levels including:
- Local home office, business building, or corporate VPN
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
Every one of these levels can influence the quality of your Microsoft Teams calls. The first level is completely under your control (either by the employee or by the IT department supporting the office building), BUT the other one is not. We recently published a blog where we analyzed the importance of the ISP connections and how they can have a negative impact on Teams call quality.
Another reason why you should monitor the network closely is to identify the number of routing hops until users are connected to the Microsoft cloud. Employees residing in the same geographic area may be connecting to different Microsoft data centers to access the company tenant. Monitoring how many hops are included in the networking trip, and what the termination point is for tenant access, will help provide useful insights to troubleshoot issues before they are reported to the helpdesk.
This type of proactive analysis and remediation is extremely valuable today. According to a recent Forrester research study from May 2022, many users will never contact the IT service desk. If they experience performance problems on their computers or with their cloud-based services like Microsoft Teams, they will just continue to suffer in silence. They won’t report the problem and their issues will linger, forever. This puts the responsibility on the IT operations group to proactively identify those users and troubleshoot their problems.
Important metrics for monitoring and troubleshooting network health include the following:
- Upload / Download speeds
- Connection Type (wired or wireless)
- WiFi Signal Strength
- VPN Routing (if any is configured)
- Packet Loss
- Jitter / Latency
- Routing Hops
- Peering Distance to Microsoft Cloud
- Round-Trip Times for data traffic (RTT)
3. Microsoft Cloud Network and Data Center Performance
This brings us to the final segment in the end-to-end monitoring journey for Teams voice/video traffic, namely the Microsoft network and cloud-based data center. To build the true picture of end-user experience for Teams call quality there are some crucial metrics that need to be gathered for full transparency on the Microsoft side. Together these provide the details to perform accurate end-to-end call quality analytics for Microsoft Teams.
The specific metrics needed to monitor and measure the health of the M365 cloud service for Microsoft Teams include the following:
- Teams Service Uptime and Availability
- Location of M365 Data Center Processing the Teams Call / Video Meeting Traffic
- Authentication Speed for Cloud Access
- Teams Service Execution Time (login, chat, messages, presence)
- Network Round-Trip Times (RTT)
Get the Full Picture from a Comprehensive Solution
The OfficeExpert TrueDEM technology from panagenda provides end-to-end visibility of all the details required for doing complete analytics on Teams voice/video calls and meetings, including Microsoft Teams Rooms. The SaaS solution gathers performance metrics from each of the three zones described in this Blog and enables you to proactively resolve Microsoft Teams performance issues. You can quickly spotlight underperforming, legacy computers that have been known to cause problems. Dashboards showcase which users have poor performance on their home networks, or slow ISP response times.
OfficeExpert also integrates data points from the Microsoft Call Quality Dashboard (CQD) to help group calls with issues under Microsoft’s four categories (Jitter, Packet Loss, Round-Trip Time, and Ratio of Concealed Samples). By providing visibility into all the components involved in Teams call quality, OfficeExpert helps organizations diagnose and triage Microsoft Teams performance issues before they become chronic problems. A huge benefit comes from the dynamic interface which allows IT operations to drill down and analyze exactly what was happening during each segment of a Teams call/meeting, isolate the respective issues, and then identify a fix. There is no use of ambiguous averages for call quality measurements. Instead, OfficeExpert provides the hard truths, using accurate second-by-second telemetry data, helping IT support groups address issues head-on.
The five main benefits provided by OfficeExpert TrueDEM include the following:
- Faster Root Cause Analysis and Troubleshooting for Teams Call Quality Issues
- Proactive Remediation for Chronic Problems (i.e. problematic background process running during calls, VPN routing issues, etc.)
- Optimize Employee Hardware and Home Network Provisioning
- Identify Underperforming ISP’s in Employee Locations
- Early Detection of Microsoft Cloud Outages
Example: Teams Call Quality Details from OfficeExpert TrueDEM
If you are interested in learning more about our OfficeExpert TrueDEM solution and how it can help you detect, prioritize, resolve, and prevent Microsoft Teams performance issues and alert your IT operations group about Microsoft 365 outages, please visit our website and download some of our information or watch one of our recorded webinars.
If you would like to sign-up for a free trial of OfficeExpert for your organization, you can make that request at https://www.panagenda.com/produts/officeexpert/
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