Enterprise adoption of Microsoft Office 365 is growing, due to both enterprise demand and encouragement from Microsoft. As mentioned in an Information Week article from earlier in the year, Office 365 is the most popular off-the-shelf cloud application for business users. Adoption is broad-based, by companies large and small, and across the globe.
Enterprises are attracted to the subscription model of Office 365 for the potential to reduce total cost of ownership, convert capital expenditures to operational expenditures, and improve workforce productivity and collaboration. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has discussed, a primary goal of Microsoft’s ‘mobile first, cloud first‘ focus is to deliver consistent user experiences that allow people to work any place, any time, on any device. End user experience management clearly plays a role.
Cloud puts two elephants in the room—security and loss of control
Security and loss of control are the two big concerns that IT and business executives have when it comes to cloud-delivered apps like Office 365. Believe it or not, it’s easier for cloud providers to address the security concerns about the privacy of data in multi-tenant environments. Microsoft has more resources than most companies to implement best practices for data center security within their own data centers, and has provided customers with a ‘Top 10 List‘ of security topics to address with other providers.
Loss of control is trickier for IT Ops to address. Without access to the infrastructure on which cloud-based applications run, IT Ops teams face challenges in ensuring these applications deliver excellent end user experience, putting the goals of improved workforce productivity and collaboration at risk.
Cloud providers’ SLAs won’t help you. Although cloud providers’ SLAs cover infrastructure uptime, incident response time commitments, and penalties, these are insufficient to guarantee excellent end user experience. IT management tools like traditional APM products, synthetic monitoring products, and application-aware infrastructure performance monitoring all fail to accurately measure actual end user experience.
So, if you’re planning an Office 365 migration, what can you do to ensure success? Here are the first five of ten tips that Aternity End User Experience Monitoring provides to help you.
1. Augment your cloud provider’s SLA
With its Business Activity Analytics, Aternity enables you to augment cloud providers’ overall availability metrics with services level agreements (SLAs) based on business processes. Monitoring actual end user experience as cloud-hosted apps render on users’ devices will help you hold your cloud vendor accountable.
Watch this short video to see Aternity in action:
2. Compare apps run in the cloud to those run in your data center
Validate the benefits of cloud services by comparing the application performance of cloud-delivered apps to those run in your own data centers. As Gartner Research VP Jeffrey Mann mentioned in a past webinar on cloud migration of productivity apps, one of the main reasons that some enterprises prefer Office 365 over Google Apps is the concern around continuity of operations. Rather than radically transforming their processes, enterprises attracted to Office 365 anticipate a smooth transition from Office apps run in their own data centers to Office 365. Some enterprises run hybrid models which combine both cloud-delivered apps and apps run in-house.
Because Aternity automatically monitors and correlates together the three streams of data—user productivity, device health and performance, and application performance, enterprises can compare the user experience of Office 365 apps to those run in their own data centers.
With the Enterprise Summary dashboard, IT can automatically discover the local, cloud, or mobile apps in use in the enterprise, identify the actual number of active users, track the overall usage and wait time, and get a view into end user experience by geography, department, operating system, or device type.
3. Validate appropriate cloud license expenditures
With the same Aternity dashboard above, the line of business and IT operations teams get continuous, enterprise-wide visibility into actual usage of every cloud application, whether authorized or not, on any employee’s device. Tracking actual usage of cloud-delivered apps, across departments and geographies enables IT to validate adoption, confirm conformance to cloud licensing obligations, and to shine a light on ‘shadow IT.’
4. Keep pace with frequent Office 365 updates
Enterprises should be concerned with keeping up with Microsoft’s bug fixes and new product functionality. Shifting to SaaS-delivered apps increases the frequency of updates and puts the cloud provider in control of administering changes. Enterprise IT still needs to ensure that the updates don’t result in a degradation of user experience. Aternity enables enterprises to validate the impact of change by comparing SLA conformance before and after app or infrastructure upgrades and across geographies or device types. Watch this video to see how:
5. Reduce finger pointing to speed up problem resolution
If you’re in IT Ops, you’re probably painfully aware of how much finger pointing between siloed IT teams delays problem resolution. Once you migrate to Office 365, the ‘blame game’ problem can be further magnified because the IT infrastructure supporting your cloud-delivered apps lies outside of your control. With SteelCentral Aternity, you get insight to isolate application performance problems to your users’ devices, your cloud provider, or Microsoft itself.
Ensure your Office 365 productivity apps actually improve productivity
Named a ‘Cool Vendor’ in Gartner’s 2015 Cool Vendors in Vendor Management Report, Aternity can be used by enterprises to hold their cloud vendors accountable to SLAs based on business processes. Aternity dynamically monitors any user interaction, regardless of complexity, within Microsoft Productivity Suite applications such as Outlook, SharePoint, and Office, running on any type of Windows-based physical or virtual device, or tablet, with no programming required. Get started with a free trial of Aternity.