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Closing the Gap in Your SLA for Office 365

Mark Woods
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I try to avoid situations where I become responsible for something important Closing the Gap in Your SLA for Office 365but don’t have much control over the circumstances. That can make it hard to sleep at night. Many IT professionals feel this way after transitioning to Office 365 from Microsoft applications that ran on-premises. The service level agreement (SLA) for Office 365 guarantees uptime but not much else, yet IT remains accountable for the end user experience. Microsoft partners, Riverbed and Presidio, will discuss this and related challenges in an upcoming webinar, How to Take Control with Office 365: Find and Fix Performance Issues Before End Users Notice.

SLA for Office 365: Mind the gap

Microsoft has wisely avoided taking responsibility for what it doesn’t control—everything beyond the Office 365 Cloud and the Microsoft Network. Their SLA (service level agreement) is typical for SaaS applications.

IT is left with an significant gap to close because end users and business leaders expect a SaaS application to perform well at the point of consumption, not just in the Cloud. Workforce productivity depends on it.

Performance will vary

Application performance can differ greatly between users because it is affected by the location, network path, and device. It can also be difficult to maintain acceptable levels of performance over time with software updates, changing use patterns, and increasing network traffic.

What can be done to set and manage against service objectives that go beyond the SLA for Office 365? The rest of this blog post will focus on answering this question.

Monitor service at the point of consumption

The first step is to monitor application performance where it really matters—from the perspective of end users. This means measuring the time from click to render for application activities.

Riverbed end-user experience monitoring (EUEM) software measures performance from the end-user perspective in real time for every application on any type of user device. It comes with predefined activities that are used by default for popular business applications. For example, there are many predefined activities for the applications in Office 365 like Outlook’s open mail or send mail. You can also create your own custom activities for any application.

Set performance targets

Our EUEM software automatically determines performance baselines by for each monitored application activity and for every user. Baselines are calculated using response times recorded over the prior 7+ days with a minimum of 100 measurements. This the default method of establishing performance thresholds for applications.

Riverbed also gives you the ability to manually define a performance target for each monitored activity. You can set an “external” threshold that aligns with an SLA that IT and a business unit have agreed on. Then set a more aggressive “internal” threshold to proactively alert the application owner or end user services when performance is slipping.

Watch this 2-minute video to learn more about setting SLAs and measuring performance with Riverbed end-user experience monitoring.

Quickly isolate the causes of performance issues

Isolate the Cause of Office 365 IssuesGetting a proactive alerts is huge step toward ensuring a service level target is met. Now you need to find the cause of the performance issue and fix it before end users notice.

Is it in the cloud, somewhere in a long and complicated network path, or in the end-user device? Much time and effort can be wasted debating who bears responsibility to fix the problem without a clear answer to this question, .

Riverbed EUEM will point you in the right direction by breaking the activity response into backend (Cloud) time, network time, and client (device) time.

If the problem is in the client device then you can drill into three streams of data collected by the EUEM agent:

  • Device health and performance
  • Application performance as experienced by the user
  • User behavior

Use Riverbed network performance monitoring (NPM) to troubleshoot tricky network problems. Then view correlated EUEM and NPM data together in one management console to speed the troubleshooting process.

Learn from the experts

Find out more by attending the webinar How to Take Control with Office 365: Find and Fix Performance Issues Before End Users Notice. You will learn how to:

  • Troubleshoot critical Office 365 issues before your users are affected
  • Stay ahead of Office 365 updates
  • Use end-user experience data to effectively collaborate with Microsoft
  • Ensure an excellent Office 365 experience anywhere, anytime, on any device

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