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Office 365—Using Aternity to Address Three Digital Experience Management Challenges

Mike Marks
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Office 365 CollaborationMicrosoft Office 365 is all about collaboration and productivity. Productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. SharePoint. Skype for Business. Exchange On-line. Microsoft Teams. With Office 365, companies can collaborate to respond quickly to changing customer demand. The result? Business growth, improved productivity, and lower costs.

Achieving these results requires excellent digital experience for Office 365 users. That’s where SteelCentral Aternity End User Experience Monitoring comes in. Certified as Ready for Windows for Office 365 ProPlus, Aternity augments Microsoft’s monitoring tools like System Center and Workplace Analytics to address three key challenges in ensuring excellent digital experience.

To see how Aternity addresses three key challenges for ensuring excellent digital experience for Office 365, watch this short video:

How Aternity ensures an excellent Office 365 end user experience

three streams of data for end user experience monitoring

Aternity monitors the three streams of data that constitute end user experience

Part of the SteelCentral Digital Experience Management platform, Aternity monitors IT from the point of consumption – the end user’s device. With Aternity, IT can see exactly what users see, because Aternity monitors the “click to render time” of applications. Aternity enables IT to monitor user’s engagement with Office 365 applications while they are in the process of collaborating. So IT can see exactly how long it took to send an email, start a Skype for Business session, open a presentation, or upload a file. All without tagging the code-especially important for 3rd party, SaaS-delivered apps like Office 365.

Unlike device performance monitoring products, SteelCentral Aternity monitors and correlates together the three streams of data that constitute true user experience—user productivity, device health and performance, and application performance as seen by the end user. Aternity monitors end user experience for EVERY type of app – web or Windows, running locally or in the cloud, or even delivered via SaaS. And it monitors end user experience for applications delivered on ANY device – laptop, PC, tablet, smart phone, or virtual desktop.

Addressing three Office 365 digital experience challenges

With capabilities like these, Aternity enables IT to address three key challenges in ensuring an excellent Office 365 digital experience.

1. Tracking Office 365 adoption AND performance

When it comes to improving workforce productivity, Office 365 adoption is just the start. More importantly, what counts is how those apps perform. SteelCentral augments Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), and Microsoft Office 365 Workplace Analytics, by showing you what users actually see when they’re using business critical apps.

Office 365, Microsoft 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Aternity, End User Experience Monitoring

Focusing on apps with high usage time but low UXI enables IT to prioritize their optimization efforts to where the payoff is largest.

SteelCentral Aternity automatically discovers every application in use in your enterprise. This goes well beyond Office 365 apps. It includes Windows, web, running in the cloud, in your data center, on a virtualized infrastructure, or on mobile devices.

For every application, it tracks the actual usage over the monitored time period, and calculates a user experience index (UXI) score that accounts for crashes, hangs, errors, page load time, and wait time. It reports this by department, device type, geography, or many other parameters, so you know how apps perform across your enterprise. With Aternity, IT can immediately identify apps with high usage time and low UXI so they know where to prioritize their optimization efforts.

2. Troubleshooting Office 365 end user issues quickly

Software-as-a-Service apps like Office 365 require a different monitoring approach. You can’t instrument an app that you don’t control. SteelCentral Aternity monitors from the perspective of the user’s device, so you see exactly what they see, even for SaaS-delivered apps.

Aternity augments Windows Analytics Device Health data by monitoring the “click to render” time of the most commonly performed Office 365 activities. It tracks how long it takes to launch Skype for Business, schedule a meeting, or upload a file to SharePoint.

Aternity reports the response time of these activities, color-coded by performance, relative to automatically calculated baselines. When baselines are exceeded, Aternity notifies you, through email or alerts to 3rd party systems, like ServiceNow.

To speed up troubleshooting, Aternity shows the contribution to overall response time from the server, network, and end user device. Since Aternity is part of the integrated SteelCentral Digital Experience Management platform, you can drill down to investigate problems in application transactions or end the “network blame game” with a single click.

Office 365, Microsoft 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Aternity, End User Experience Monitoring

Aternity shows the response time of key Office 365 activities, broken down by contribution from server, network, and client device.

3. Holding cloud vendors accountable

With SaaS apps like Office 365, IT is in a tough spot. The business holds you responsible for the performance of the apps, even though you don’t control the infrastructure on which they run. And your cloud vendor’s SLA doesn’t really protect your business. It protects theirs. After all, a cloud vendor’s SLA ends at their edge. And the metrics on which their SLAs are based, such as availability and response time, don’t really represent what actual end users see when they use cloud-delivered apps.

With Aternity, you can hold cloud vendors accountable by monitoring users’ interactions with applications in the context of a business workflow. Aternity provides out of the box support for the most common activities for Microsoft productivity apps like Exchange, Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And it’s easy to create custom activities for other apps, all without tagging the code.

Aternity automatically calculates baselines for normal performance, which you can use to establish target thresholds for each activity. Then Aternity tracks every instance of every activity, and displays a color-coded percentage of compliance to the threshold. When problems occur, you can isolate the source, and notify your provider if they are responsible.

Office 365, Microsoft 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Aternity, End User Experience Monitoring

Use Aternity to hold cloud vendors accountable by analyzing business activity performance by department, device type, or geography.

Take the next step to solving your Office 365 digital experience challenges

Free Trial Aternity End User Experience Monitoring You can learn more about how to use Aternity to address Office 365 digital experience challenges in many ways. If you’re attending Microsoft Ignite in September, visit Riverbed at booth 500 in the Expo Hall. We’ll show you Aternity for the use cases you care most about. But don’t wait to see Aternity in action. Even better, try Aternity running in our cloud environment by registering for Instant Access. Or you can learn more about Aternity and Office 365 by viewing this on-demand webinar on Speeding Office 365 Adoption.

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