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Three Tips to Improve Employee Productivity

Gayle Levin August 6, 2019

What would you do with an extra 5,000 minutes this year? Play more video games? Hit the gym? Cook up something delicious yet fattening? Even in the most mature IT organizations, employees lose over 20 minutes a day due to device failures and loss of access to critical enterprise applications and services—that’s more than 5,000 minutes per person in lost employee productivity per year! Even if you could claw back half of that time, imagine what you and what your company could accomplish! Here are three tips on getting the best employee productivity from your applications and your cloud vendors by adding a new tool to your toolkit: end-user experience monitoring.

Tip 1: Isolate problems faster with end-user experience monitoring 

90% of IT execs say their employees struggle with business technology problems that they have no way to detect, according Forrester Research.

Yet companies use APM tools to monitor only about 5% of the business-critical apps that they could, and most of those are monitoring from the server’s point of view and trying to extrapolate the user’s experience. What’s needed is a system to monitor the actual end-user experience from the point of consumption, whether that is a mobile device, tablet, laptop, or PC. That way, your IT team can quickly detect, prioritize problems, and resolve issues to boost employee productivity.

I caught up with Travis Perkins, the UK’s largest distributor of building materials, to discuss how they changed their monitoring approach after migrating critical applications to the cloud. Part of their digital strategy is ensuring that every location, employee, and customer has a high-quality IT experience for all apps, from email to specialized design tools. By monitoring the end-user experience of their employees and customers, they’ve gained much earlier insight into potential problem areas, reduced time to resolution, and enhanced productivity.

Tip 2: Validate that IT initiatives deliver the expected gains in employee productivity

Did IT work? How do you know whether your critical IT initiatives are delivering on your expectations? Mastering IT change is challenging since each user’s experience is affected by a range of factors, from the state of their device, performance of intermediate systems and networks, and of course the actual application code.

Correlating three detailed streams of data—user interactions, device health, and application performance—enables you to analyze and identify trends in application behavior. You can track application usage and verify that your employees are getting the expected gains in productivity. By analyzing performance before and after changes, your team can directly demonstrate the effectiveness of strategic (and tactical) initiatives. Is migration to Microsoft Office 365 delivering the expected performance gains? Are your employees adopting new business intelligence applications that will help them do their jobs more effectively?

I can’t name names but one of the ten largest banks in North America uses Riverbed to manage change. As part of its digital transformation, the bank wanted to improve user productivity and speed up the time it took to serve customers. Slow response in the CRM tool had led to longer lines in branches and longer wait times for customers calling the contact center. Because the devices used by the staff were more than four years old, the Desktop Services team hypothesized that they could improve CRM application performance by upgrading devices from 2 to 4 CPU and from 4 GB to 8 GB memory. What they discovered via end-user experience monitoring was somewhat of a shocker: Although performance did improve for some applications like Outlook, it did not improve at all for the business-critical CRM application. How could that be? They learned that the CRM app had been coded to use no more than 4GB of memory on a 32-bit OS so upgrading to a 64-bit OS and 8GB of RAM would not improve performance. An app rewrite would be required to drive performance gains. Ultimately, the bank decided against a costly upgrade across their 20,000-devices because they realized it would not drive the desired outcome.

Tip 3: Hold cloud vendors accountable

User experience monitoring data is great for identifying issues and prioritizing resources, but it’s invaluable for working with cloud providers to pinpoint where a problem is occurring with SaaS applications. Pinpointing where the issue is in SaaS applications is critical since employees use 8 SaaS apps on average to get their work done. However, since most cloud SLAs stop at the edge, linking user experience to specific cloud services or infrastructure is challenging.

To gain better visibility, you can monitor the application performance as seen by the end user and augment your existing SLAs. Performance delays can then be broken down into the client device, the network, and the SaaS infrastructure. Your End User Services teams can then quickly determine whether the major contributor of delay is the SaaS backend infrastructure and, armed with detailed data, work with the cloud vendor to resolve the issue as appropriate. The result: faster problem resolution, less finger pointing, and more productive employees.

Keeping track of your digital workforce is a full-time job

Your digital employees rely on a broad portfolio of thick client, web, and mobile applications running on multiple devices, at home, in the office, at the local coffee shop, or wherever they happen to be. With the right end-user experience monitoring solution in place, you can keep track of performance for all your employees, on any type of application or device, anywhere and boost employee productivity.

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