The ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring, Part 2: Lower Trouble Ticket Volume
TechValidate just completed a survey of SteelCentral Aternity customers to learn about their experiences. The TechValidate survey results provide insights into the ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring. In the first blog of this series, we covered how our enterprise and service provider customers derive extra value from Aternity by using it to address key use cases beyond the capabilities of Device Performance Monitoring vendors. In this blog, we’ll cover another key driver of the ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring – reducing the volume of trouble tickets handled by the Help Desk.
First, here’s a refresher to explain some terms. Gartner first applied the name Digital Experience Monitoring to incorporate social sentiment and non-human end users into the software category commonly known as End User Experience Monitoring. In general though, people use the terms interchangeably. Regardless of what you call them, let’s move on to quantifying the payback from using these tools.
Customer survey results on Help Desk ticket volume
As part of the survey, TechValidate asked our customers how their use of Aternity has affected Help Desk trouble ticket volume. The graph below shows data from all respondents, including enterprises and service providers. The weighted average result is a 15% reduction of tickets to the Help Desk. Note that 35% reported a reduction of 15% or more!
How to explain the significant percentage of respondents who reported trouble ticket volume about the same as before? One explanation has to do with the job responsibilities of Aternity users. As discussed in the previous blog covering the impact of use case coverage on the ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring, more than 40% of respondents rely on Aternity for use cases that may have nothing to do with trouble tickets. Application teams optimizing the performance of their apps, or IT leaders validating the impact of IT change on end user experience may have no insight into Help Desk ticket volume.
Analyzing the responses by company size shows minor differences. From the weighted average of responses, large enterprises reduced Help Desk ticket volume by about the same as small-medium enterprises (14.5% vs 15.4%). However, more respondents from smaller companies report trouble ticket volumes about the same as before Aternity (38% vs 31%). This result is consistent with the data from the previous blog that shows smaller companies are more likely to use Aternity for use cases outside of trouble management.
Using Help Desk Ticket reduction to quantify the ROI of digital experience monitoring
To start to quantify the ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring, just combine these results with data on the cost per Help Desk ticket. The data below come from HDI, from a 2016 survey of North American Service Desk teams. Read the blog Benchmarking Service Desk Cost per Ticket to learn more about how Aternity can help improve this KPI.
Source: Metric of the Month: Service Desk Cost per Ticket, Jeff Rumberg, HDI, May 2017
Four steps to reducing ticket volume with digital experience monitoring
Without visibility into what users actually see when they use their applications, your Help Desk can only hope that IT is delivering an excellent user experience. Or wait for users to complain when it’s not. Whether you’re an enterprise or a service provider, that’s no way to deliver an excellent digital experience. (Nor to drive the ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring, for that matter!)
Aternity provides four key capabilities that enable IT to identify and resolve issues proactively, remotely, and non-invasively.
1. Measure ACTUAL end user experience
The first step in reducing ticket volumes is to arm your Help Desk with visibility into their users’ actual experience.
SteelCentral Aternity monitors user experience, as applications render on the screen of the device. Aternity does this for:
- ANY type of device: laptops, PCs, virtual desktops, or mobile devices.
- ANY type of app: local, web, cloud, or mobile.
Unlike traditional Application Performance Monitoring or Device Performance Monitoring products, Aternity automatically monitors and correlates together the three streams of data that constitute true user experience. These are user interactions, device health and performance, and application performance, as seen by the end user. Correlating these three streams enables Aternity to help IT teams to identify and resolve issues proactively, before users call the Help Desk to complain.
2. Use baselines to identify when performance deviates from expected levels
When users report trouble, they don’t report it in technical terms. They don’t say, “I’m experiencing excessively high memory consumption.” Or “I have too many bad blocks on my hard drive.” They report trouble in business terms. Customer service reps will complain that it takes too long to pull up a customer record in the CRM application. Field service agents at the customer site will report that it take too long to submit a claim on their tablet.
Aternity enables IT to monitor users’ interactions with applications in the context of business workflows like these. And it does not rely on tagging the application code. Aternity tracks every instance of every monitored business activity, and automatically sets baselines for normal performance of these activities. For every app in your portfolio.
Even better, because of the correlation described above, these baselines can vary, by device type, or office location, etc. This should make sense, because a variety of factors affect normal performance. Response time in your headquarters building served by high speed data should be much faster than that in a remote home office with limited bandwidth.
3. Identify issues proactively, before users complain
Aternity automatically generates an alert when performance exceeds a baseline, or a manually established threshold, for multiple users of the same application. This enables IT to identify performance issues BEFORE users complain—the key to reducing trouble tickets. Here’s a nice customer quote that addresses this capability.
Aternity also tracks device health problems like application crashes, update failures, memory or disk trouble, hard drive failures, battery issues, and Blue Screens of Death. Aternity triggers a service desk alert when the same application, hardware, or system problem occurs within a specified period of time. For example, it can trigger a service desk alert whenever your ERP application crashes more than twice a day on any device in any location. Or when the same device has a system crash more than twice in a seven day period. With these alerts, your Help Desk can take action before users create trouble tickets. The bi-directional integration between Aternity and ServiceNow is another way for your IT team to get a jump on issues before they affect your users. Watch this video to learn more:
4. Use automated remediation to reduce calls to the Help Desk
SteelCentral enables IT to build a library of remediation actions, which can be executed automatically by the system, without the user calling the Help Desk for support. When recurring problems like hard drive failures, app or system crashes, low disk space, etc. occur several times within a certain time, IT can specify the remediation action to be performed. At IT’s discretion, these actions can be run by the system with, or without, a notification to the end user.
Interestingly, the TechValidate results discussed here do not include the effects of automated remediation, since the survey was conducted before the release of that capability. So, through remediation, we expect Aternity to deliver an even greater ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring.
Tell us what YOU think, and get started today!
I’d love to hear from you! What’s your experience in quantifying the ROI of Digital Experience Monitoring? What approaches are you implementing to reduce Help Desk trouble ticket volume? In the next blog, we’ll look at survey results around the reduction in Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) for incidents.
In the meantime, you can get started today by registering for instant access to Aternity running in our cloud environment. You can explore key use cases for help desk and desktop support teams, as well as many others.