2022 Will Be The Year For End-User Experience
The status-quo of early 2020 no longer exists for the corporate network. The pandemic threw a wrench into the architecture and network operations that businesses had relied upon. The ongoing transition has necessitated and accelerated changes for people, processes, and technologies.
I recently took part in an executive roundtable with Bloor Research and members of the IT Leaders network in the UK. The discussions were wide-ranging and detailed but confirmed my view that 2022 must be the year of focusing on end-user experience to drive service delivery and assurance and the implementation of real business-outcome SLAs. Based on discussions with large financial and healthcare institutions, manufacturers, retailers, and telcos, here is my take on how your business can plan for success in 2022.
- Close the Great Cloud Visibility Gap
We all acknowledge that it is much harder to understand what is going on with SaaS applications that the organization relies on for revenue, billing, supply chain logistics, managing and paying employees, and more. To be successful when you are asked to take on business-outcome SLAs, you require observability across the whole network, not just on-premises resources. When applications are performing poorly, the impact on the business can be profound and you need to get problems fixed quickly to meet your agreements. Yet, working out the root cause of performance complaints or service availability issues can be time-consuming and complicated. Often, you must rely on the very vendors who supply the service to tell you if the problem is theirs (rarely) or yours (frequently). How can you take back control and re-gain lost visibility for business-critical services? Active testing and monitoring of cloud-based applications by platforms such as VIAVI Observer can pinpoint who or what is affected, how widespread the impact is, the duration and severity of the problem, and what the root cause of the issue is, all from a single dashboard view. With automated problem domain isolation available for on-premises, hybrid, and SaaS applications in one place, hours of finger-pointing and waiting for vendor responses can be negated. Suddenly the visibility gaps and vendor dependencies have been addressed and your team can spend far less time waiting for vendors to respond and debating who’s responsible for performance degradations. It’s a win all around.
- Improve Remote Worker Visibility
Outages like those that happened at Facebook in October, serve to highlight that single points of failure are still part of networks today and that good design and management is paramount for users to have the necessary access to critical applications. Users who once sat in branch/remote offices on corporate networks, now sit on home WiFi. There is no doubt larger numbers of users will be working remotely on a full-time or part-time basis well into the future. Your teams went from having visibility and control over the users’ environment to having…none. Unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools, conferencing software, and other mainly cloud-based UCaaS and SaaS applications are ubiquitous in this new hybrid work world. But these pose even greater performance monitoring challenges for IT Teams. Problems are instantly noticed by users and business leaders with ticket systems being overwhelmed with user complaints about poor bandwidth, difficulty connecting, dropped calls, and more. While it isn’t feasible to instrument home offices for packet capture or flow collection, a lightweight active test agent is a viable option and can be used to regain that lost visibility helping Tier 1 operational staff to identify and resolve issues faster wherever users are located.
- Maximize the skills you have onboard
With skill shortages at an all-time high and staff being pushed to the breaking point, you can’t afford any approach that just introduces yet another data source and another set of KPIs that someone has to decipher. An automated approach to understanding the end-user experience and isolating problem domains is critical. VIAVI’s patented End-User Experience analysis and scoring was a major leap forward in packet and metadata-based analysis. We’ve applied that same innovative capability to our active testing. It’s the kind of game-changing advance that we need to keep up with the changes we’re facing. It’s *the* way to truly understand what our end users are experiencing.
In summary, IT teams must be driven by the users’ experience. What has also become clear is that business outcome-based SLAs are no longer idealistic and are here to stay. To meet these demands, the IT function must shift from a reactive unit to one that is using tools that predict and alert teams before the business is impacted. By looking at end-user experience scores you will get early warnings to act before issues accelerate into catastrophic business effects. Continuously monitoring how the service is being delivered to every user will quickly give a picture of service performance. Any degradation will alert the team to a potential problem that could just be impacting one user, one site, one region now, but could quickly spread to other users, sites or regions. Quick action could prevent the loss of orders, revenue, fulfillment, and other areas that impact business success.
2022 is the time for you to get the control back, get the visibility back, convert raw data into answers…so you can confidently deliver on those outcome-based SLAs.