SteelCentral Aternity for the Service Desk: Seven Tips for End User Experience Monitoring

Mike Marks


With Riverbed’s acquisition of Aternity, Service Desk teams now have world-class End User Experience Monitoring capabilities to help them proactively identify and quickly resolve end user experience issues. Whether your team is called the Service Desk, the Help Desk, or Level 1 Support, you’re the first line of defense in ensuring IT supports the business. When investigating a user complaint that the app is slow, or that it takes forever for the devices to boot up, you have to quickly analyze the situation to determine the fastest path to resolution. You need insight into user behavior, app performance, and health metrics for mobile, virtual, and physical devices to decide whether you can solve the problem or whether you need to escalate it to the appropriate team.

With SteelCentral Aternity, you can proactively identify issues impacting end user experience, and troubleshoot them remotely and non-invasively, without interrupting the work of your end users. Watch this short video to see SteelCentral Aternity in action:

Monitor end user experience by correlating three streams of data

Unlike traditional APM products that monitor specific applications, one at a time, from the perspective of the data center, or device monitoring products that measure device, operating system, and app health, SteelCentral Aternity automatically monitors and correlates together the three streams of data that constitute true user experience—user interactions, device health and performance, and application performance, as seen by the end user. Learn more about SteelCentral Aternity’s approach to End User Experience Monitoring differs from other approaches here.

7 end user experience monitoring tips for the service desk

Here are seven ways that SteelCentral Aternity enables Service Desk teams to deliver excellent end user experience, using the actionable information from just a single ‘Monitor User Experience’ dashboard. In this case, the Service Desk is reviewing the user experience of Adam Covert.

1. Monitor the end user experience of EVERY app

SteelCentral Aternity enables Service Desk teams to monitor the end user experience of every app that Adam uses throughout his day. Not just web apps, but cloud-delivered apps, apps running on Citrix or virtual desktop environments, thick client apps such as SAP, or mobile apps.

2. Monitor the end user experience of apps running on ANY device

With SteelCentral Aternity, Service Desks teams can monitor Adam’s end user experience for all three of the devices he uses—smart phone, vitual desktop, and PC. With the average enterprise workforce user relying on at least three devices per day, this unified approach to end user experience management is a particular advantage, when compared to traditional device monitoring solutions.

3. Identify EVERY business activity performed

SteelCentral Aternity enables Service Desk teams to monitor the experience of end users as they interact with applications in the context of a business workflow. When end users call the Service Desk, they don’t complain about excessive CPU processing time or high network latency. They complain about their inability to use applications to do their jobs. A call center agent waiting too long to search a customer account. A retail store employee experiencing delays in editing a customer order. SteelCentral Aternity’s Business Activity Analytics enables IT to monitor the click-to-render times of these units of work, as business critical applications render on the screens of users’ devices. The User Experience dashboard above shows the performance of key business activities that Adam performs on his business critical applications—SAP, Project Tracker, MobileStore, OrderEntry, etc. It shows the response time Adam is experiencing for these activities, relative to normal performance.

4. Track the response time relative to performance targets

SteelCentral Aternity automatically calculates a baseline for every monitored performance parameter. And because SteelCentral Aternity understands the key attributes of the workforce end user—their identity, department, location, and all of the devices that they use—these baselines can vary, depending on where the user is and what device they’re using. SteelCentral Aternity also enables IT to establish manually set thresholds for what constitutes acceptable performance for each business activity.

SteelCentral Aternity compares the actual response time for business activities to this baseline or threshold, and provides a color-coded status to indicate how actual performance compares to the target. It provides this information in real-time and provides a history. Using this capability, Service Desk teams can quickly validate end users’ complaints of slow performance, remotely, and non-invasively. Is the app actually slow, or is the end user just impatient? No manual stop-watch timing is needed, and you don’t need to take remote control of the end user’s machine.

5. Identify the source of delay

Right-clicking Adam’s SAP ‘Search Account’ activity enables the Service Desk team to determine the source of the excessively slow 10.3 second response time. The pop-up shows that server processing time of 7.7 seconds, so the Service Desk can escalate to the server team to investigate.

6. Get an early warning of threshold violations

SteelCentral Aternity enables IT to set both external and internal thresholds in order to stay on top of performance problems. The external threshold of an activity represents the SLA with end users. Response times longer than this threshold are colored red, such as Adam’s 10.3 second ‘Search Account’ activity. The internal threshold of an activity represents an early warning of the risk of an SLA violation, and is colored yellow.

7. Drill down for further troubleshooting

To further investigate the source of the trouble with ‘Search Account’ activity, the Service Desk team or Level 2 team can drill down into other dashboards which will provide additional information.

More information on end user experience monitoring to follow

As mentioned in the kick-off blog to this series, SteelCentral Aternity brings five new End User Experience Monitoring moves to Riverbed customers. See the related blogs below, which cover device troubleshooting for the Desktop Services team and Mobile APM. In the coming weeks, we’ll explore the rest of the five new moves in more detail.

You can also register for instant access to SteelCentral Aternity.



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