OfficeExpert Use Case
Which Computers Are Too Old and Slow
Users will experience poor performance with Microsoft Teams voice / video calls if they are using slow, legacy computers with the minimum memory installed. The standard Microsoft monitoring tools does not provide the information needed to identify the root cause for bad Teams call quality from underperforming hardware. OfficeExpert EPM monitors endpoint performance, however, and the solution will quickly spotlight slow, overloaded computers to alert IT admins about necessary upgrades.
Proactively Identifying Poor Performance from Legacy Hardware
As we described in a previous Use Case writeup on Teams Call Quality Analytics, customers are increasing their reliance on Microsoft Teams as their standard voice/video calling platform now that Skype of Business is going away. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force many employees to work from home, there is a growing need for corporate IT groups to identify users that have slow performance from their older computers which negatively impacts their experience during 1:1 calls and group meetings.
Identifying those users proactively and upgrading their computers will help them embrace the use of Teams as their core communication tool. Without the appropriate speed and memory allocation on laptops or home office computers, employees will experience poor call quality. This is due to the speed at which voice signals can be converted into digital format and compressed to transfer quickly over the internet from the sending computer or unpacked and translated into audible sound on the receiving computer. This process is performed by Codecs which are small software programs, or algorithms, that convert an analog voice signal to a digitally encoded version. The slower the computer the bigger impact on call quality and the overall performance of Teams voice/video for end users. Simply put, Codecs are standards used to digitize audio for VoIP calling.
Business Challenges for Monitoring Home Office Networking Performance
Very few IT groups gather accurate information on end user computer performance. Without traveling to each user’s desk to run performance measurements, or having employees bring in their computers to the IT group, most organizations are guessing when it comes to the lagging CPU speeds and memory bottlenecks from legacy hardware. Most organizations know they have old computers that needs to be replaced, but they cannot easily identify which users should be first in line for upgrades.
What if there were a simple way to monitor and track the computer performance for all your user devices? IT groups could easily identify the users who needed upgrades for their old computers, and work with them to replace that legacy hardware. The latest version of OfficeExpert provides the information needed to proactively monitor laptop / desktop computer performance for employees. The new module is called “Endpoint Performance Monitoring”, or EPM, and it can be used to identify a wide range of technical issues slowing down computer performance. The solution includes a small data gathering agent that can be easily installed to end-user devices using any software deployment tool (i.e. System Center Config Manager, Microsoft Endpoint Manager / Intune, On-Premises Active Directory Group Policy, etc.)
Business Value from Upgrading Legacy Hardware
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic most organizations have transitioned to a work-from-home business model for a large portion of their employees. And working remotely has been assisted by technologies like Microsoft Teams that include online chat and enable voice/video conferencing using VoIP. But all those capabilities rely on having consistent and reliable performance from each employee’s work computer.
With VoIP, quality of service (QoS) simply means being able to listen and speak in a clear and continuous way, without unwanted noise or other distortions. Acceptable QoS depends on the technical parameters of delay, jitter and packet loss. In VoIP a delay of 150ms is acceptable, while a higher value results in degradation of voice quality, which becomes unacceptable at values higher than 300 ms. Without dependable QoS there will be a backlash against the digital adoption for Teams. It has a direct correlation to the employees’ positive impact. If they are experiencing poor call quality, or dropped calls, they will be less inclined to embrace the use of Teams for their daily communications and collaboration activities. Quickly identifying those users with older computers and getting them the necessary upgrades will greatly improve the adoption of Microsoft Teams company wide.