Stop Focusing on Your Technology and Start Thinking about End User Experience Monitoring!

TG_Leadership_DavePavuk_1000x1000_v2By David A. Pavuk
Director of Compliance and Efficiency
Trivalent Group, Inc.

You might be asking yourself right now: Is this a joke? A technology company is actually telling me to stop focusing on my technology? Well, let me clarify then. First, it’s no joke. If your IT staff is still focusing on your technology, then they are focusing on the wrong thing.  To understand why, let’s take a little trip across IT technology history.

Since ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator) lit up its first vacuum tube in 1945, there have been three major eras or technology revolutions.

The Mainframe Era

The primary focus on technology during this era was on the management of the system or machinery. Few companies could afford this kind of technology and very specialized skills were required to enter data, retrieve and analyze results, and just keep the wheels turning. Success was largely measured in system uptime.

The PC Era

Eventually, the focus shifted from the machine itself to the data being generated and used by a company. Uptime was still important during the PC Era, but added to that was ensuring that the computer and end user had fast and ready access to what data they needed and that the data itself was protected. The IT teams’ focus shifted from just keeping a system alive to making the systems and the access to them faster, more reliable, and more available.

The Post-PC or Cloud/Mobile Era

The current center of the technology universe is (or should be) the end users themselves. Technology solutions are matched to end users’ specific needs. “Anywhere access” is increasingly important as PC’s shrink to hand-held-device-sized and smaller. Perhaps without even realizing the change, the primary focus of your IT has shifted. IT systems are now secondary and driven by focusing on end user productivity.

This can be a frightening proposition for most IT teams. Users and their needs are far more complex than the data or machinery. It’s easy to think that things might seem a bit unmanageable from a traditional IT perspective.  If the proposition of this has you panicking a bit right now, you can relax. In reality, this is exactly the type of focus modern IT is well suited for: finding ways even when they are not obvious to make technology friendly, usable, and secure, thereby helping to ensure end user productivity.

Understanding that the end user is or should be the focus of your current IT universe, you’re going to need some help understanding and measuring how enabled your end users are to do the things they need to in order to be productive.

Enter “End User Experience” (EUX). Very simply put, the goal of EUX systems are designed to help understand the real life, day-to-day user experiences as users interact with any number of physical, virtual, storage, and applications systems.

EUX KPI’s (key performance indicators) at minimum should measure in real-time:

  • Physical, Virtual, and Mobile Device Performance;
  • Application Performance; and
  • User Productivity

If you are skeptical at all on the need for this shift in IT focus and the importance of understanding end user experience, let’s look at just one fact. Industry-leading analysts have indicated that in 74% of all reported cases, the IT team first learns about performance or availability problems when the users call the Help Desk. Did you get that? Let me say it again another way. By the time your IT team is made aware there is an issue, you are already experiencing a loss in productivity.

It’s not your IT team’s fault, though. After all, they can’t help with what they don’t know about. So, how do we fix that?  The answer is pretty singular, straightforward, and simple.  New management systems which help to measure and understand EUX and what is impacting it will need to be implemented in most cases.  Traditional APM (application performance monitoring) systems will no longer be sufficient, as the actual end user experience needs to be measured at the task and user’s device level.

To sum it all up, what End User Experience monitoring will help you to know, quantify, and demonstrate is that key business activities, such as opening a file, searching for information, or looking up a patient record run as fast and efficiently as possible.

In the end, EUX is all about maximizing productivity, and that’s a good thing, right?