The Need for Unified User Experience
March 24, 2015

Gabriel Lowy
TechTonics

Share this

With the proliferation of composite applications for cloud and mobility, monitoring individual components of the application delivery chain is no longer an effective way to assure user experience.  IT organizations must evolve toward a unified approach that promotes collaboration and efficiency to better align with corporate return on investment (ROI) and risk management objectives.

The more business processes come to depend on multiple applications and the underlying infrastructure, the more susceptible they are to performance degradation. Unfortunately, most enterprises still monitor and manage user experience from traditional technology domain silos, such as server, network, application, operating system or security. As computing and processes continue to shift from legacy architecture, this approach only perpetuates an ineffective, costly and politically-charged environment. 

Key drivers necessitating change include widespread adoption of virtualization technologies and associated virtual machine (VM) migration, cloud balancing between public, hybrid and private cloud environments, the adoption of DevOps practices and the traffic explosion of latency-sensitive applications such as streaming video and voice-over-IP (VoIP).

The migration toward IaaS providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft underscore the need for unifying user experience assurance across multiple data centers, which are increasingly beyond the corporate firewall. Moreover, as video joins VoIP as a primary traffic generator competing for bandwidth on enterprise networks, users and upper management will become increasingly intolerant of poor performance.

By having different tools for monitoring data, VoIP and video traffic, enterprise IT silos experience rising cost, complexity and mean time to resolution (MTTR). Traditionally, IT has used delay, jitter and packet loss as proxies for network performance. Legacy network performance management (NPM) tools were augmented with WAN optimization technology to accelerate traffic between data center and branch office user.

Meanwhile, conventional Application Performance Management (APM) tools monitor performance of individual servers rather than across the application delivery chain – from the web front end through business logic processes to the database. While synthetic transactions provide a clearer view into user experience, they tend to add overhead. They also do not experience the same network latencies that are common to branch office networks since they originate in the same data center as the application server.  Finally, being synthetic, they are not representative of “live” production transactions.

Characteristics of a Unified Platform

Service delivery must be unified across the different IT silos to enable visibility across all applications, services, locations and devices. Truly holistic end-to-end user experience assurance must also map resource and application dependencies. It needs to have a single view of all components that support a service.

In order to achieve this, data has to be assimilated from network service providers and cloud service providers in addition to data from within the enterprise. Correlation and analytics engines must include key performance indicators (KPIs) as guideposts to align with critical business processes.

Through a holistic approach, the level of granularity can also be adjusted to the person viewing the performance of the service or the network. For example, a business user’s requirements will differ from an operations manager, which in turn will be different from a network engineer.

A unified platform integrates full visibility from the network’s vantage point, which touches service and cloud providers, with packet-level transaction tracing granularity. The platform includes visualization for mapping resource interdependencies as well as real-time and historical data analytics capabilities. 

A unified approach to user experience assurance enables IT to identify service degradation faster, and before the end user does. The result is improved ROI throughout the organization through reduced costs and higher productivity.

Optimizing performance of services and users also allows IT to evolve toward a process-oriented service delivery philosophy. In doing so, IT also aligns more closely with strategic initiatives of an increasingly data-driven enterprise. This is all the more important as big data applications and sources become a larger part of decision-making and data management.

Gabriel Lowy is the founder of TechTonics Advisors, a research-first investor relations consultancy that helps technology companies maximize value for all stakeholders by bridging vision, strategy, product portfolio and markets with analysts and investors
Share this

The Latest

June 26, 2019

It is inevitable that employee productivity and the quality of customer experiences suffer as a consequence of the poor performance of O365. The quick detection and rapid resolution of problems associated with O365 are top of mind for any organization to keep its business humming ...

June 25, 2019

Employees at British businesses rate computer downtime as the most significant irritant at their current workplace (41 percent) when asked to pick their top three ...

June 24, 2019

The modern enterprise network is an entirely different beast today than the network environments IT and ops teams were tasked with managing just a few years ago. With the rise of SaaS, widespread cloud migration across industries and the trend of enterprise decentralization all playing a part, the challenges IT faces in adapting their management and monitoring techniques continue to mount ...

June 20, 2019

Almost two-thirds (63%) of organizations now allow technology to be managed outside the IT department, a shift that brings both significant business advantages and increased privacy and security risks, according to the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey ...

June 19, 2019

In a post-apocalyptic world, shopping carts filled with items sit motionless in aisles, left abandoned by the humans who have mysteriously disappeared. At least that’s the cliche scene depicted by sci-fi filmmakers over the past two decades. The audience is left to wonder what happened to force people to stop what they were doing and leave everything behind. If this past weekend was any indication, Armageddon begins when Target's cash registers shut down ...

June 18, 2019

Three-quarters of organizations surveyed by Gartner increased customer experience (CX) technology investments in 2018 ...

June 17, 2019

Users today expect a more consumer-like experience and many self-service web sites are too focused on automating the submission of tickets and presenting long, technically written knowledge articles with little to no focus on UX. Understanding the need for a more modern experience, a newer concept called "self-help" now dominates the conversation in its ability to provide a more deliberate knowledge experience approach that better engages the user and dramatically improves the odds of them finding an answer ...

June 13, 2019

Establishing a digital business is top-of-mind, even more so than last year, as 91% of organizations have adopted or have plans to adopt a digital-first strategy, according to IDG Communications Digital Business Research ...

June 12, 2019

If digital transformation is to succeed at the pace enterprises demand, IT teams, the CIOs who lead them, and the boardroom must forge a far greater alignment than presently exists. That is the over-arching sentiment expressed by IT professionals in a recent survey on the state of IT infrastructure and roadblocks to digital success ...

June 11, 2019

Given the incredible amount of traffic traversing corporate WANs, it's not surprising that businesses are seeing performance issues. If anything, it's amazing applications work as well as they do ...