24×7 Enterprise Apps: Office 365 Performance on Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Home Offices, Part 1

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Alison Conigliaro-Hubbard presenting at Riverbed SKOI was standing on a stage in front of an audience of sellers last week sharing a personal experience I recently had using some of Riverbed’s modern application performance technology. I was fortunate to be one of the early internal users of Riverbed SaaS Accelerator for Office 365 (O365) and Client Accelerator as IT rolls these out companywide—sometimes when you know people in the right places it works out quite nicely. Before the holidays I started using these on my system—my goal was to experience them for a few weeks myself before our annual Sales Kickoff (SKO) with the hope of being able to share my excitement!

In my role I do a lot of file sharing on OneDrive and SharePoint, and as we lead up to this very important annual event for our global sales teams, as someone responsible for the content, I share some really big files all day every day as we aim to hit deadlines. I also do not work from the office in San Francisco every day. Some days I work from my home office in Marin County. Sometimes I work from a coffee shop. Sometimes an airport or a client site. Like many of us these days, work doesn’t go away when I leave the office.  In order to stay customer-focused – the reality is I am generally available wherever I might be.

App experience can vary dramatically

Unfortunately, depending on where I am, the experience I have of the apps I need to collaborate and get my work done—and in my case O365 apps such as SharePoint and OneDrive—can vary dramatically. Technically speaking, networks change all the time depending on where I log in, and so like most of us, I end up with fairly unpredictable performance—sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes not at all. Often inconsistent. Not exactly reliable.  And in the enterprise when time equals money for my company, consistent, reliable, and fast apps are a difference maker!

So leading up to Riverbed SKO, I am working with some very heavy files—ones you might equate to mega design files as a manufacturing company or AEC firm. These can be 900MB+ files! And I am uploading and downloading to and from OneDrive several times a day.

For a few weeks I had been working with Riverbed SaaS Accelerator in the background as I spent the holidays in a hotel in Southern California, and worked in a variety of locations. Riverbed SaaS Accelerator is cloud-based software that maximizes performance for enterprise SaaS apps, and in my case, specifically assigned by my IT organization as an insurance plan to make sure O365 apps perform as expected. I also have Riverbed Client Accelerator installed on my laptop. (If you’re reading this and have used Riverbed for WAN Optimization over the years, what you may not know is that today Riverbed makes is super easy to accelerate performance of critical SaaS applications like O365 and others, so that no matter where we may be working at any given moment, we are always set up to make things happen!)

Is this thing going to upload?

Anyway, it’s a couple days before SKO and I had to upload this 940MB file to OneDrive to share with my colleagues for final review. I’m working from home on this day and things are minute to minute, deadline-driven as we are only days ahead of the most important internal event of the year. I was a little nervous before pressing the upload button—almost wishing I could transport myself to the office by snapping my fingers just to access the network there! Is this thing going to upload???

Riverbed SaaS Accelerator for O365 - Uploading a Large File

Not only did it upload—but it was FAST! Now I didn’t clock it because I just did it, and from my personal user experience of it—it took no time at all—not even close to my low expectations. And this is when I checked in with myself and noticed something really interesting… it’s like I had this AH HA MOMENT!

I had SaaS Accelerator running in the background for a few weeks, and out of nowhere I felt like my entire experience of O365 had changed. I trusted O365 to just do what it was supposed to do—I was getting things done as soon as I wanted them to be done. It was just WORKING! It was fast and reliable, and it was consistent no matter where I was or how big a file I threw at it.

But wait, there’s more!

After the 940MB file upload to OneDrive, I ALSO had to upload this same file to and external Dropbox folder, because I needed to get the file to show organizers who did not have access to our O365. Unfortunately, Dropbox was NOT enabled with a SaaS Accelerator license. So for this file upload I needed to walk away and do other things because the upload just hung there. And hung there. Ultimately it took well over an hour.

And so this is the anecdotal story I shared on stage with the Riverbed sellers in my session last week. And if you like that… just wait until you read what happened when I got home from SKO and decided to CLOCK IT! 

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