Why does it matter so much that enterprise users have a good experience with the technology they use every day? Well, their productivity has a big impact on the business’s bottom line. Fewer complaints from users means fewer calls and help desk tickets for IT to manage. And today’s cloud and SaaS-based technology can be really efficient and useful when it’s running smoothly. End users have gotten used to high-performing apps in non-work life, so they bring high expectations to the office, too.
Those offices are more often remote, branch or home offices than they used to be. Each remote office depends on multiple networks (WAN, cloud provider network, MPLS, internet, etc.) to connect those remote users to applications and services, whether they’re hosted back at headquarters, in a cloud data center or at a provider’s data center.
Remote or branch locations usually don’t have IT resources on site; see, for example, our healthcare industry or retail chain customers. They’re facing pressure on both sides, from business leaders and from users or customers, who want end-user experiences without disruption.
When IT is under pressure to provide great user experiences, part of the trick is staying ahead of potential problems. Proactivity can save a lot of time communicating updates or fixes, and helps build IT’s reputation throughout the company.
3 Ways to Be Proactive for Better End-User Experience
In a fast-paced world where IT has to provide good end-user experience, it’s helpful to take charge. IT has lost control in a lot of ways, but they can reclaim it. Here are our 3 tips on becoming more proactive when remote location user problems arise.
1. Use internal SLAs. If you don’t already have an SLA to other departments or users that depend on IT services, create one. When problems do occur, you can point to the SLA and its objectives to give a realistic picture of when users can expect fixes.
In this era, SLAs have become extremely important, so much so that IT may have to prioritize SLAs when there’s an issue with a provider. An SD-WAN provider SLA, for example, may take precedence over your broadband provider’s SLA. Using SLAs internally is a good way to adapt to this new industry model. It also provides a framework around which you can track performance of the team itself.
2. Track user feedback. Take a look at all the ways you hear from end users, whether calls, chat messages, online portal or help desk tickets. Make sure you collect data on all these communications—how many are received and solved in a given period of time. Ideally, you can get initial numbers up front when you roll out a new application or service to see user feedback over time. Those numbers will serve you well when you’re looking for the cause of a problem later.
In general, having hard numbers can back you up if any business leaders are offering criticism or decisions based on hunches or guesses. It’ll help to bring that data department heads who could use more actual data on user experience and performance, too.
3. Know who’s involved. With SaaS and cloud-based apps now dominating IT, there are many cooks in the application kitchen. It may take a bit of digging, but find out who’s responsible for which applications throughout your organization. This will help identify which apps are actually being used, and know where to go when troubleshooting and eliminating possible sources of performance issues. IT is still the expert technology team in an organization, even though lots of other departments may be involved.
Finding and fixing the issues that do occur is another story, of course, especially when troubleshooting at remote locations. Ideally, you’ll reduce the number of issues up front and have a good process—and tool—in place to get to the root cause quickly.