I had the great opportunity to discuss relevant topics with guest speaker Will McKeon-White (Forrester Analyst) on a recent webinar (October 2022). The topic was about using modernized Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) solutions to improve the visibility of a hybrid workforce. These are especially important in today’s work-from-anywhere culture. We also discussed recent research papers from Forrester where they have been analyzing the corporate landscape for IT operations new focus on Employee Experience (EX) and how it is used to measure the success of an organization’s digital transformation. 

Even though I was familiar with most of these concepts, like employee productivity being linked closely with the adoption of technology, there were some surprises during our discussion. Workplace culture and office dynamics are now fundamentally changed due to the decentralization of teams and their reliance on technology. How colleagues interact, solve problems, and communicate now largely depends on the digital applications they use. I had never really thought about the pressure this puts on IT operations. IT directors and their support teams are now tied to corporate profitability, as stated in this quote that Will provided during the webinar.

In this blog, I will provide highlights of the topics we discussed on the webinar and spotlight some important points of interest.  If you’d like to watch the recording from this webinar, it is available on the webinar page here, or at the bottom of this page.

Some Users Will NEVER Call the Helpdesk

During the webinar, one of the most important slides that Will showed attendees was about the recent Forrester Research survey on The State of the Service Desk (2022).  It was interesting to see the statistics on the number of employees that said they would never call the helpdesk, but instead suffer in silence with ongoing performance issues. 64% of the respondents said that they avoid the service desk, as shown in the graphic below. This puts the responsibility directly on the shoulders of IT operations to search for these employees. If they will not report their technology issues to the helpdesk, then IT support groups need to proactively identify these users and find ways to address their problems.

Will McKeon-White, panagenda Webinar

Next Level Digital Experience Monitoring Solutions

A profound discussion point during the webinar revolved around the modernized Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) solutions on the market and what differentiated them from the legacy tools. There were quite a few back-and-forth insights during this part of the webinar. We talked about legacy monitoring tools for technology performance and how they were designed for business office locations, not to track users working from home. Employees working remotely pose a new challenge for IT operations. They are accessing their business productivity and cloud applications from their unmanaged/unmonitored networks which are a blind spot for IT support groups. And a key slide from Will included the following statement.

“There is an expected increase of 300% for permanent full-time remote workers.”
Will McKeon-White, panagenda webinar

This was huge, but it didn’t really come as a big surprise to me. It is very difficult at present to imagine companies removing flexible work arrangements, particularly to those whose tasks can be completed effectively outside the office. With so many employees working remotely, a key differentiator for the new DEM tools is that they provide visibility into the digital experience and application performance for remote workers. They need to gather user experience metrics from the source endpoints. Only when you link the client-side devices to the network performance analytics you do have a full understanding of the true digital experience for remote workers.

As we discussed during the webinar, the newest, next level DEM solutions have a specific focus on the endpoint perspective for employee experience. They leverage smart agents running in the user context, without admin rights, and collect data directly from the endpoint device – tracking device performance and network speeds. This empowers IT operations to view the user experience as if they were standing over their shoulder, no matter where the employee is working from. These agents gather performance data continually and report back to a central application where the information is aggregated and indexed for analysis and reporting. These modern DEM solutions effectively close the blind spots for monitoring the end-to-end digital experience for remote workers, as shown in the graphic below.

Key Differences for Next Level DEM Solutions

Key Benefits for Next Level Digital Experience Monitoring

During the last part of the webinar, we had a detailed discussion around the benefits of using these modernized, next level DEM solutions. They provide the big picture since they monitor everything involved, even for employees working remotely.  They measure device performance, the local network (home, office or public), the Internet Service Provider (ISP) performance, the end user´s peering distance with the cloud service provider, and even the Authentication and API performance for that specific user session with each cloud application (i.e., MS Teams, SalesForce, Zoom, etc.) The entire digital user journey for every individual employee in the end-user context is covered.

This helps IT organizations diagnose and quickly respond to performance issues before they become chronic problems. And this process allows an enterprise IT organization to finally go on the offensive.  They can objectively monitor every user’s digital experience from each endpoint, identify performance issues and proactively remediate the problems. As new users connect to the environment, or existing users upgrade their devices, they will receive the DEM smart agent to start measuring their performance. All devices and corresponding performance metrics related to a specific user are organized under their profile by leveraging their unique identity. This allows for historic tracking of digital experience across an organization.

The four main benefits provided by next level DEM solutions include the following:

  1. Faster Root Cause Analysis and Troubleshooting for Employee Experience Issues
  2. Proactive Remediation by Tracking Performance Trends
  3. Optimize Performance for Employee Hardware and Home Office Networks
  4. Identifying Regional Service Outages for Cloud Providers to Inform Users and Possibly Re-Route Their Access

Watch the Webinar Replay

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More to Explore

During the webinar, we did provide a demonstration of our next level DEM solution called OfficeExpert. Our SaaS solution gathers all performance information from the endpoint perspective. This is especially helpful for users working remotely either part-time or full-time. The data is aggregated and combined with valuable statistics from Microsoft CQD to provide actionable intelligence for both IT administrators supporting Microsoft 365 and other IT support groups that are tasked with troubleshooting Microsoft Teams call quality. With this information at their fingertips, they have a birds-eye view to measure the quality of their calls and meetings.

If you are interested in finding out more about our OfficeExpert DEM solution and how it can help you proactively troubleshoot hardware and network performance for your Microsoft Teams deployment, please visit our overview page online or sign-up for a trial at https://www.panagenda.com/products/officeexpert