Centreon 20.04 integrates a new connector for Maltem Insight Performance (MIP), enabling the collection of user experience KPIs. In this blog post, Marion Dussarrat, Marketing Manager from Maltem explains the benefits of adding user experience to your IT monitoring.
All metrics are green, but users still report slowness. IT teams are trying to recreate the incident, unsuccessfully… Sounds familiar?
User experience monitoring was born exactly for that purpose. Also called Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) and often associated with Application Performance Monitoring (APM), highlighting the real user experience is an ideal complement to the technical monitoring of devices that make up the IT system, looking at what’s connecting employees to their business tools.
What is user experience measurement?
Unlike technical APM, user experience IT monitoring is based on business scenarios played 24/7, reproducing actual user actions in the organization’s real environment. Coupled with network and server monitoring, the metrics generated promote communication between IT teams and facilitate IT governance.
Why measure end-user experience?
1- Check performance of web applications AND thick clients
While full cloud is a growing trend, there are still many companies organized on a hybrid model. SaaS applications thus coexist with thick client applications (a thought for SAP R3). This requires an IT monitoring strategy which enables visualization of the performance of these two types of architecture, and therefore covers all critical applications.
A complementarity between technical monitoring and user experience measurements is ideal. It facilitates troubleshooting and fluid discussions within the IT department and with employees.
2- Look at a real environment
By “real environment”, we mean recreating the chain that connects a human user to their business application. The advantage of replicating an AD account, the browser under GPO, SSO, or usage via Citrix, is that individually, all the tested components may appear green. However, we often notice that a latency reported by a user is due to the combination of their browser using a cloud proxy and a SAML authentication.
Moreover, if the performance initially delivered by the suppliers or the company itself is excellent when it comes out, once integrated into this environment, it degrades.
Combining Centreon’s technical measurements with end-user experience measurement from the MIP Solution provides a reliable, global view, and thus a troubleshooting shortcut.
3- Use facts to support better communication across teams
Despite the trend towards agility, IT teams are still very much organized in silos. Applications on one side, networks on the other. In the middle, we have the helpdesk, and up there the IT decision makers.
One can wonder why… Different tools, conflicting metrics, and heterogeneous language. By adding metrics from the MIP Solution, Centreon becomes a unique tool that centralizes the data necessary for the resolution of incidents and for decision-making.
Screenshots and error replay videos are factual, dashboards are clear, and IT monitoring is readable at all levels of the organization.
4- Be proactive
Reactivity is the art of solving a problem once the user’s frustration has been clearly established. Mature IT monitoring goes well beyond this art.
Such maturity cannot be attained in a few days, but application measures based on business scenarios lighten the path.
With 24/7 UX tests, it is now possible to resolve an incident even before a user contacts the helpdesk. By coupling MIP metrics with those from Centreon, the entire IT organization moves to the next level of IT monitoring, identifying lasting solutions to performance degradation.
5- Check those SLAs
Next step? Extended proactivity includes checking on service commitments: the monitoring of SLAs (Service Level Agreements). Breaking down response times by service providers, service availability rates, or third-party support are among the elements that make up SLAs.
Load pages delivered by SaaS or a service provider do not give the full picture on service levels, because as we previously highlighted, performance can degrade within the corporate environment.
One of the benefits of looking at business scenario metrics from the MIP Solution is that your Centreon dashboard will display 24/7 monitoring of service providers, not just at typical office hours. This is what you need to measure the global forecasted availability rate, that should cover more than business hours from Monday to Friday.
Fact-based negotiations with providers can translate into cost savings. Screenshots and video replays cannot lie, just like the analysis of data based on the contract thresholds.
How to implement user experience measurement?
1- A relevant measurement strategy
The audit and measurement strategy are defined according to your network and server monitoring within Centreon, the architecture of your organization, and business needs. Creating or updating a measurement strategy brings many advantages:
- Clear metrics: less approximative measurements for optimal readability and a better understanding of the incident from an end user’s point of view.
- Enhanced alerts: there’s nothing worse than a never-ending stream of alerts. Priorities must be considered, and thresholds must be set according to the degree of importance.
- Updated indicators: no more “ghost” metrics created by predecessors and for which no one can trace back usefulness or meaning.
- Guaranteed operational continuity, with appropriate measures and dashboards, common to Centreon and MIP Solution.
- Contribution to concise and understandable end-of-month dashboards.
Once the framework and the details are well defined, the proof of concept can start.
2- Scenarios developed and maintained by MIP Teams
Many businesses have attempted developing UX scenarios internally. For all kinds of reasons, from lack of skills internally to refocusing on other operational activities, such projects often fail, especially over long periods of time. Therefore, Maltem Insight Performance develops, keeps an eye on, and maintains all coded UX scenarios (managed service) according to interface changes, version upgrades, or when business needs evolve.
The advantage? IT teams can focus on Centreon dashboard analysis and incident troubleshooting!