End-User Experience Now Critical for Effective IT—But Companies Missing the Mark by Christine Cignoli December 28, 2017
Embracing the digital workplace is top priority for any tech-driven organization—and in a world dominated by smartphones, social media and always-on connected devices, “tech-driven” covers almost any company looking to stay competitive.
The challenge is creating an end-user experience that leads to digital solutions. According to CMS Wire, “the heart of every successful digital workplace is a great, engaging experience, one where team members forget about the technology.” But poor choices in user experience design and implementation leave end users frustrated and IT struggling to keep up. How do companies effectively monitor end-user actions to help hit the experiential mark?
Why End-User Experience Matters
ROI isn’t just about profit—in a digitally driven marketplace, increasing efficiency is key to improving results and generating sustainable revenue. Consider the mobile-equipped end user: If their efforts to access network services, download new applications or interact with on-site devices is cumbersome or difficult, the result is lost productivity. That employee may search for solutions online or reach out to IT support staff for guidance.
Data is also a consideration. End users are on the front lines of corporate networks, discovering exactly how systems operate, where they struggle and which specific pieces of software or hardware may not play nicely together. As a result, these users are an invaluable source of actionable data, provided companies can find a way to collect end-user activity logs, parse them for meaning,and then deploy applicable solutions.
But changing technology from the top down to address end-user concerns won’t have the desired result. Instead, companies need to dive in and start at the bottom to see what’s bugging users, why it’s a problem and how things need to change.
Identifying End-User Issues
Companies are struggling to tame end-user experience issues—but that’s hardly a surprise. Getting a handle on user activity means identifying where it hurts. While there’s some variation across industries, common pain points include:
- Too Much Complexity. More features are better, right? More security controls make networks safer, even if they’re frustrating to end users, correct? Not always. For example, if networks constantly require new passwords, randomly lock out users, won’t log in users automatically and are frustrating to use on mobile, the result is a complex, confusing mess that’s costly and time-consuming for IT to fix.
- Under-Performance. What happens if users can’t log in, even with the right password data, or if new apps don’t perform as advertised? In a mobile-first world, average attention spans are dropping, meaning users will walk away from cumbersome or confusing apps after minutes, not hours or days.
- Too Much Data. The sheer volume of data on corporate networks can impact the end-user experience. If IT can’t discover and analyze relevant data quickly, it’s difficult to identify emerging issues or develop effective solutions.
- No Single Source of Truth. Transparency and centralization are key to end-user experience management, since IT must be certain the data they’re getting is the same for all users. In a corporate world still driven by data silos and department-first big data practices, this is a challenge.
- Help Desk Hardship. Every time IT team members are called on to handle support issues, other projects suffer. Even worse, they’re often forced to deal with the same problem over and over again with no knowledge of the underlying cause. Ideally, they can start discovering common links between user experiences to empower self-serve or even automated support responses.
- Legacy Monitoring Issues. Traditional monitoring technology often misses the mark by providing no data about end-user behavior. As a result, IT and C-suite members may expect certain performance gains and encounter frustration when positive outcomes don’t materialize.
Solving the End-User Experience Problem
IT can start by matching intended outcomes with solution capabilities. Consider: Mobile devices and continual access have expanded the corporate network to include public and private clouds, remote users and web applications. Any solution to improve the end-user experience, therefore, must exist outside local stacks as a SaaS platform capable of monitoring three key factors: performance, usage and perspective.
IT should be able to answer a few questions about performance: How are applications being delivered? Are specific apps causing performance bottlenecks? Are network paths stable and secure? The ideal monitoring system provides IT a clear baseline and then identifies potential areas of improvement.
IT should also be able to know what kind of impact users are making on systems. What applications are being used on the network? Who’s using them, when, and for how long? This data is critical to identify issues and determine root causes.
It’s possible for IT teams to see exactly what users are seeing with modern monitoring tools. When users interact with an application or service, what happens? Are results different depending whether they’re measured from remote access points or mobile devices? Real-time perspective provided by monitoring empowers IT to implement effective changes and security controls.
Taming the end-user experience is no easy task, but is critical in developing the digital workplace. For IT, this means identifying specific pain points and then implementing all-cloud, every user, any-location monitoring solutions. Find out more about app and network monitoring with AppNeta.