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Office 365 Best Practices: How Aternity Ensures Performance

Gayle Levin April 9, 2019

As a corporation with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, Riverbed is in the same boat with our 30,000-plus customers: We rely on high-performing applications and services to compete effectively and continue to grow. I caught up with Riverbed IT, Senior Director of End User Services, Peter Baskette, to ask him how Riverbed takes control of  Office 365. He shared Office 365 best practices and how he’s better able to collaborate with Microsoft to proactively identify and resolve user issues. This real-time data on performance and where the source of delay is leads to faster mean time to resolution (MTTR), and ultimately, happier employees.

Below is an excerpt from our conversation.

Q1: How do you use Riverbed products internally?

We’re fortunate here at Riverbed to deploy our own products to help drive innovation and use our internal best practices and experience to make those products even better. Riverbed for Riverbed (R4R) is our internal program that strives to meet these needs. To support this goal, Riverbed IT deploys our digital performance platform, including SteelCentral for digital experience management and SteelConnect and SteelHead for next-generation infrastructure. This helps us deliver excellent digital experience across our entire infrastructure, including our SaaS applications.

Q2: What Office 365 best practices do you have on managing performance?

We start with Riverbed’s end user experience monitoring solution so that we understand performance from the point of consumption—the end user. This augments our SLAs with Microsoft and provides us with insight into what our users are actually experiencing. Our team is still responsible for ensuring the performance of Microsoft Office 365, even though the backend is in the cloud. When users experience issues, my team needs the right information at their fingertips—insights into device health, application performance, and usage trends–to respond promptly before workforce productivity is impacted.

Q3: How are you becoming more proactive by applying Microsoft Office 365 best practices?

Our Office 365 best practices are to use end user experience monitoring to better manage change and to proactively monitor all our apps—on laptops and mobile. For example, we recently had an issue with SharePoint, one of our critical Microsoft Office 365 apps. Users were complaining about slow performance. We were able to breakdown delay based on user device, network, and backend and isolated the issue to their infrastructure. Once we shared the data with Microsoft, they were able to quickly resolve the issue. We validated that it was fixed… showing a 60% improvement in performance.

office 365 best practices
Performance improved by 60% after working with Microsoft to resolve the issue.

Q4: What does it mean to break down the monitoring silos?

Managing the digital experience doesn’t happen in silos—to find and fix problems faster, you need integrated visibility across end-user devices, the network, servers, and the apps themselves; this, in turn, improves productivity, increases client satisfaction, and ultimately helps protect revenue.

Q5: How do you, as Riverbed IT,  justify your value to the business?

Like most organizations, our IT is tasked with justifying its value to the business. The challenge is that we’re actually delivering the presence of absence. That row of green [in SteelCentral] is a tangible indicator of smooth sailing, and that has benefits that accrue up and down the chain. With Riverbed IT keeping the systems running at peak performance, the rest of the company is free to focus on the business.

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