Build an Office 365 Monitoring Dashboard That Isn't Missing Critical Information
by Christine Cignoli on

Lots of SaaS applications come with their own dashboard to show the metrics they think you in IT might want to see. But like GPS systems in cars, most people choose to use their own phones for driving directions because the built-in system's controls are too complicated.

When you’re monitoring a SaaS application like Office 365, you’ll see the dashboard provided by Microsoft. That dashboard doesn't have all the information you need presented in a way that's easy for you to use. It's likely Office 365 is one of the most mission-critical applications you have. How well would your business function without email and word processing, after all?

You need to add third-party Office 365 monitoring tools that focus on the information that's really relevant to seeing how Office 365 is functioning for you and your business, not how it's functioning for Microsoft.

Microsoft Office 365's Built-in Monitoring Falls Short

The problem with relying on the Office 365 Service Health Dashboard is that the information it presents is from Microsoft's perspective. Just like your car's dashboard only tells you about your car and not other factors like road conditions and weather that affect how easy and comfortable your travel is, their dashboard only tells you what's going on in their data centers. It doesn't tell you what kind of experience your end users are having, which is affected by the network and other factors that Microsoft doesn't oversee.

This doesn't mean the information in the dashboard isn't important—you need to know about the information, like service alerts and updates, that Microsoft provides—but to really know how well Office 365 is working for your office, you need Office 365 monitoring that covers the whole user experience from their desktop or phone to the cloud.

Office 365 monitoring dashboards can help performance

End-to-End Office 365 Monitoring With Third-Party Tools

With third-party tools, you can monitor Office 365 performance end-to-end. The Office 365 Service Health Dashboard can show that everything is running great, but it won't tell you that network problems in an office on the other side of the world are keeping users from getting access. Maintaining strong Office 365 performance requires more than just the Microsoft piece staying up and running; local-area networks, wide-area networks, internet connections, virtual private networks, Wi-Fi, proxies, firewalls, DNS services, and single sign-on services also affect connectivity, usage and performance. Even when all your networks are running the way they should, if you have heavy demand for other applications—including non-business-related music and video streaming—you may be having issues.

Microsoft's built-in dashboard won't tell you about any of those problems. You need your own tools and synthetic transactions to find all of those potential sources of trouble. Using your own Office 365 monitoring tools can help you isolate where the problem is coming from, and give you backup when you request assistance from Microsoft when the issue is on their side. It also gives you measurable statistics you can show to your employees to emphasize why they should only use corporate computing resources for corporate business, as well as identify additional sites that should be blocked.

Doing your own Office 365 monitoring also lets you identify normal usage patterns that can act as benchmarks, so you see shifts in usage and plan in advance how to respond.

The Challenge Is Bigger Than Microsoft

Microsoft is big, but the challenge for your business is bigger. More and more applications are delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), and they all have the same monitoring challenges as Office 365. That’s another reason to rely on your own monitoring tools and not just the vendor's dashboard: If every application you use is SaaS and has its own dashboard, that's way too many dashboards to keep an eye on.

With your own third-party monitoring tools, you have one place to go to see into all your networks. You can customize the setup to check exactly the information you need to know the whole status of your business, not just one application (even when the application is as important as Office 365).

Your own monitoring tool also lets you be proactive, rather than just reacting to issues the vendor tells you about. Your data can show you that the vendor isn't meeting their service-level agreement (SLA) or tell you that you need to expand your capacity. You can see if users in different company locations are getting the same level of service or whether you need to invest in building up a particular site in order to give the entire company a good experience.

With your own SaaS application and Microsoft Office 365 monitoring, you can make sure these applications are working for every member of the company, wherever they work from and whatever platform they work on. Your dashboard will show the information you need to make the cloud-based computing experience productive for everyone.

Boost productivity for your company and end users with Office 365 monitoring from AppNeta. Try our demo and find out how much better everything runs when you can see exactly where performance and application issues lie.

Filed Under: cloud computing, Performance Monitoring

Tags: Office 365 , SaaS monitoring , SLA