When Office 365 Performance Suffers, Don't Wait Until the Users Complain


By most accounts the wide adoption of Microsoft's Office 365 has been a big win for enterprise productivity. Case in point: in a Riverbed Office 365 Survey recently conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Riverbed found that 69% of the 300 surveyed IT decision-makers agree that it's increased their workplace productivity. Cloud-based SaaS apps like Office 365 have, however, fundamentally changed the landscape for IT visibility and monitoring, a fact exposed by some of the study's other findings.

Tackling critical issues with Office 365

For SaaS applictions in general, over half of respondents reported critical issues like network latency impacting performance, difficulty resolving infrastructure issues, difficulty resolving issues experienced by end users, and inability to enforce SLAs. Tackling these issues eats into IT resources, with 72% of orgs responding that IT spends five or more hours each week handling them, and two-thirds saying that six or more team members must intervene to solve any given issue.

Most strikingly, the survey found that a whopping 62% of Office 365 issues are first reported by end users rather than IT. Few statistics so clearly suggest the need for enhanced IT visibility and monitoring capabilities for end user experience.

While Microsoft provides excellent Office 365 monitoring tools that cover many of the performance monitoring issues that might arise on their side, only a dedicated end-user experience monitoring solution can give IT insights into performance as the users actually experience it on their devices, which would go a long way toward rapidly resolving many of the problems surfaced in the survey.

Monitor what matters: The end-user experience

IT professionals need to manage the full user experience, so SaaS or not, they're still on the hook for service delivery. They need to understand what's going on from the end-user perspective. When there is an Office 365 problem — and problems inevitably occur with any large-scale IT deployment — it's important to be able to isolate whether the problem is on the Microsoft side or on the network or device itself, so IT can remediate and take action accordingly.

Even though Microsoft offers a 99.9% availability SLA, that doesn't include performance or end user experience. Moreover, survey respondents indicated that only 31% of their performance challenges occurred in the actual Office 365 cloud. By implementing end-user experience monitoring, IT can closely examine everything that's going on, including the 69% of issues that arise closer to home, and make sure all users have good experiences.

Over time, this can help walk back that worrisome finding in which 62% of issues were first reported by end users. With end-user experience monitoring in place, IT can proactively monitor for performance problems as they arise. And when they need to collaborate with Microsoft to solve issues that can't be addressed locally, they'll have data in hand to speed troubleshooting and lead to a faster time to resolution.

One of the reasons we're so sure that end-user experience monitoring can help improve your Office 365 deployment? Riverbed uses these tools internally. For more on that, check out this video.


Learn more

In short, end-user experience monitoring  helps the enterprise realize the collaboration and productivity benefits it expects from adopting SaaS applications like Office 365. If you'd like to see more results from Wakefield Research survey, you can find the full report here. Or you can learn more about the Riverbed line of end user experience monitoring for Office 365 on our solution page.