Category Archives: Riverbed

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Five Reasons Your Digital Experience Management Strategy Could Fail

Category : Riverbed

You can be sure your CEO has digital experience on his or her radar. According to Gartner’s 2017 CEO Survey, CEOs are more focused this year on how technology and product innovation drive company growth. In the last few years of Gartner’s CEO survey, technology has never ranked so high on the list of CEO priorities. So the pressure is on IT to deliver excellent digital experiences. But this is easier said than done. Here are five reasons why your digital experience management strategy could fail.

1. Application complexity

Although Gartner’s survey shows that CEOs are relying on technology to drive growth, it also shows that they rank technology impediments as the #2 internal constraint to growth. How can technology be both a driver of growth and an impediment to it? Application complexity is one major reason. Application performance management is more challenging than ever before.

  • Applications must scale based on demand and remain highly responsive 24/7 across geographies. Innovative applications interact with legacy applications, so IT must support the full portfolio—web, mobile, apps running in the cloud, on virtual infrastructure, and legacy client-server environments.
  • End users and customers no longer interact with static applications at discrete times. They interact continuously with applications whose architectures have evolved to become modular, distributed, and dynamic.

2. The expanding population of end users

End User Experience Management is also more complex. Customers aren’t the only ones whose digital experience matters. The Gartner definition of Digital Experience Monitoring also includes employees, partners, and suppliers. If that weren’t enough of a challenge, the advent of IoT requires IT to ensure an excellent digital experience for machines as well!

3. Different teams have different goals

According to a recent EMA Digital Experience Management report, 59% of enterprise leaders agree that IT and the business share the responsibility for Digital Experience Management. Although they share responsibility for ensuring excellent digital experience, groups within IT and the business have specific needs which vary greatly, depending on their roles.

  • Business executives must ensure they meet goals for revenue, customer satisfaction, and workforce productivity.
  • IT executives need to staff their teams efficiently to architect and support digital business initiatives, ensure technology investments are made appropriately, and hold IT vendors accountable to SLAs that meet customer objectives.
  • IT and Network Operations teams must ensure the network and infrastructure can support new services, identify and resolve issues quickly, and understand the impact of problems on digital experience.
  • DevOps teams must release new apps and digital services quickly, identify and resolve issues in test and QA, and ensure excellent application performance perform in real-world environments.
  • Cloud architects need to plan, design, and implement the infrastructure to support new services, and scale up and down as demand changes.
  • End User Services teams require visibility into the digital experience of customers, employees, partners, and suppliers to identify and triage issues before users call to complain.

4. A variety of analytics are required to measure success

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Management expert Peter Digital Experience AnalyticsDrucker’s famous saying applies equally well to tracking the success of a Digital Experience Management initiative. With varying responsibilities, each group in IT and the business requires different metrics and analytics to indicate their progress in achieving their Digital Experience Management goals.

Digital Experience Monitoring tools must therefore supply a broad set of business and technical analytics, such as application performance, network performance, infrastructure capacity analysis, and end user productivity across the extended enterprise.

5. The IT monitoring visibility gap

IT-Monitoring-Visibility-GapAs IT organizations respond to CEO priorities and roll out new services to drive growth, they need a cross-domain understanding of applications, the networks and infrastructure on which they run, and the impact they have on end user experience.

But the typical enterprise has from 4-15 different network monitoring tools, which complicates troubleshooting, change management, and other aspects of service level management. While these tools provide insight into the performance and availability of their particular domain, they lack visibility into the actual digital experience of customers, the workforce, partners and suppliers.

Addressing Digital Experience Management challenges

An effective Digital Experience Management approach closes this visibility gap and enables you to measure the end user experience of the entire population of end users. Each group within IT and the business gets the metrics and analytics they need to ensure a successful digital experience outcome.

When it comes to meeting or exceeding your CEO’s expectations for driving growth, the key is to ensure you have an effective Digital Experience Management strategy. Failing to do so could mean lost revenue, lost productivity, and even irreparable damage to a company brand. In the next few weeks, we’ll extend this Digital Experience Management series to show you how Riverbed SteelCentral can help.

Source: https://www.riverbed.com/blogs/five-reasons-your-digital-experience-management-strategy-could-fail.html

Author: Mike Marks


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SD-WAN. Oversimplified.

Category : Riverbed

Technology can be extremely complex. And while software and hardware developers strive to improve the features and usability of their applications and services, often increased complexity doesn’t always translate to better usability.

Smartphones are a great example. As the race to fasterand better continues, manufacturers are packing their devices with options that I would guess a majority of users would never use.

We are all creatures of habit and most of us tend to stay in that “safe zone” of things that we truly understand. Adoption takes time and occurs only when the benefits outweigh the perceived risks.

When I approach technology, I try to understand it so that I can explain it in an oversimplified way. This approach may not work for those wanting to get “in the weeds” with technical jargon or engineering-esque diagrams. But for those wanting to understand a term or concept better, at least initially, it often helps to provide more simplistic examples, metaphors, or similes to make the concept stick.

If you can explain the concept to someone else, perhaps a less-technical person in this case, and they actually understand it, that means you understand it (unless of course you completely miss the mark, but that’s another story altogether).

With my work at Riverbed, I’m surrounded by technical experts. I take lots of notes and ask a lot of stupid or obvious questions (a thing I learned in school). Only through dialog and asking questions can you truly learn. And as you learn, you must make concepts personal enough to truly understand them.

Understanding SD-WAN

Let’s take a look at the concept of the software-defined wide area network (“SD-WAN” for short). Many of my colleagues have written wonderful articles explaining this technology. Take Mark Woods’ article, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About SD-WAN Architecture (But Were Afraid to Ask).” This humorous, yet informative piece dives into many of the key elements to know about when approaching SD-WAN.

Or give Vivek Ganti’s post, “Make Networking Great Again? Sure, I’m with SD-WAN,” a read as it provides a more technical explanation with real-world scenarios on the old way of configuring WANs using command line interface (CLI) versus the new, easy way using SD-WAN and network policies.

And there is Akshay Kakar’s, “SD-WAN: A Brief Introduction,” which outlines how SD-WAN saves the day with capabilities designed to simplify WAN management.

Each of these articles provides different perspectives on and insights into the important capabilities of SD-WAN and the solutions it provides.

But I wanted to take a step back and talk about SD-WAN from a potentially oversimplifiedstandpoint. I would like to offer two, real-world examples.

Networking at home

If you are the family “tech expert” (a hat I happen to wear), you will undoubtedly be asked to fix technology issues affecting the family. Visits to parents’ homes frequently are met with “our Wi-Fi isn’t working” or “the printer isn’t connected.” Or, perhaps, you have smaller kids and need an easy way to regulate their online time and activities.

Unfortunately, consumer devices and services seem to be well behind the capabilities available to enterprises when it comes to managing networks. There are individual or point solutions available for managing networks within a specific home. But again, wouldn’t visits to the family be much better if they were truly that? Visits and not tech support calls?

And wouldn’t it be nice to manage your entire family’s extended network, regardless of location, from the comfort of your browser at your own home? Oh, and while you’re at it, configure your kids’ Internet activities and policies?

Or what if your children have families of their own? Wouldn’t it be nice to ship them a device, have them just plug it in, and suddenly have those same rules and policies automatically configured?

This is what SD-WAN can do for companies. And it can do it now. Policy definition. Remote deployment of networking rules. Easy-to-configure-and-understand network and Wi-Fi settings. Ship and auto-configure networking devices. Single-pane-of-glass management of all connected locations. Remote troubleshooting capabilities. And that’s just the beginning.

Just think if this type of solution were available to consumers (and families). Visits become about people again. Precious time could be served in more advantageous ways and not rewiring and configuring systems. Ah, the good life.

Brick & mortar versus click & deliver

Another example comes to mind. And it talks to the evolution of tasks using technology in much the same way WAN management has moved from the old way of command line configuration of individual routers, to a new, software-defined approach of managing network topologies.

Online shopping has transformed how we manage our inventory of consumables. Let’s first think about the old way of shopping. Those who were efficient created shopping lists to make the physical journey to a store a more effective process. You defined the items you needed in a list, journeyed to that specific location where the goods could be obtained, purchased those items, and then returned home.

But, groceries could only be obtained at a grocery store. Similarly, you could only purchase consumer electronics at a retailer specializing in just that. Clothes at a department store. Or toys at a toy store. What that meant was different lists for each store and distinct trips to those individual stores.

The “old” way of configuring networking equipment is actually quite similar. Instead of specific shopping lists, you have lines of code (issued via CLI) that need to be sent to specific routers in order for configurations to be changed or updated. Those individual routers are much like the individual stores. So, while in the end, you did get the job done (of buying the things you needed or configuring individual routers), it took a long time.

And what if you forgot to put an item on a list? That would require another trip to the store (or yet another configuration update on a router). Or what if you bought the wrong thing (lists can be erroneous or inaccurate)? That would mean you have to return the item (another trip back to the store). Similarly, errors in CLI updates can be potentially devastating to corporations and troubleshooting is equally complex.

Online shopping transforms this buying process, much like how SD-WAN simplifies the process of WAN management. From the convenience of a single portal, you can compile lists across a broader range of options. You can fine-tune those lists to your liking, regardless of the selection type, and then when you have double-checked everything, purchase it all at once.

The beauty of online ordering is, your specific orders are sent to the vendors in many locations for fulfillment. It doesn’t matter if your goods are coming from the next city, the next state, or across the country. And it appears at your doorstep in a set amount of time, almost magically. Want to cancel or change an order? Do it through the ordering portal. No need to make an additional trip back to a physical store.

SD-WAN works in a similar way, albeit, this shopping example is a bit of an oversimplification. Instead of individual routers, you define business rules to manage all routers in many locations. When making a change or update to a network policy, it is all driven by changes within the management portal which propagate out to all locations. If you make a mistake in your configurations, you can quickly issue a policy update to correct it across the organization. It is managed by software which allows it to be more dynamic and efficient.

You don’t care how your orders get to you. You only care about getting your actual orders (and without numerous trips to the store). Similarly, your networks are defined easily by software, not by individual, error-prone updates issued one-by-one. You manage your WAN through group policies that are automatically distributed across your infrastructure.

SD-WAN. Oversimplified explanations. Powerful solutions.

So yes, these two examples are a bit of an oversimplification of the true power of SD-WAN. There is tremendous control, flexibility, and ease-of-use built into the Riverbed SD-WAN solution. The examples above merely scrape the surface as a means of introduction to this technology solution.

If this type of WAN-management technology intrigues you or you feel it might be a good fit to your organization, I encourage you to dive deeper by reviewing some of our customer success stories or use cases, reading some white papers or analyst reports and, most importantly, asking questions. While this technology is rapidly evolving, it is also a key catalyst in the digital transformation businesses are undergoing.

Source: https://www.riverbed.com/blogs/sd-wan-oversimplified.html?utm_campaign=sdwan&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&sf120798057=1

Author: MICHAEL SHEEHAN


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Riverbed Future of Networking Global Survey 2017

Category : Riverbed

Riverbed Global Survey Reveals Insights from 1,000 Business and IT Decision Makers

Findings include:

Legacy Networks are a Barrier to Success

97% say their legacy network infrastructure will have difficulty keeping pace with changing demand of cloud and hybrid networks.

IT Decision Makers Recognize the Need for SD-WAN

98% agree in the next two years, SD-WAN will be critical to next-generation networks and helping to manage cloud and hybrid networks.

Tipping Point for SD-WAN is Near

93% over the next two years, SD-WAN technology is expected to jump from 4% to over 52%, and then up to 93% within four years.

Download Report


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Extend Cloud Resources to the Azure-Ready Edge

Category : Riverbed

Riverbed has long been optimizing application delivery over any distance to remote locations for over 15 years. We know that these remote and branch offices (ROBOs) are the engines that drive the organizations, however maintaining a mix of cloud-based, and on-prem infrastructure to deliver applications and data has stretched IT resources to keep up with the demands of the business. Recent research from ESG indicates that over 91% of IT professionals say that incorporating cloud-based applications into their portfolio of corporate applications has increased the complexityassociated with managing ROBOs.

Sneak preview of Azure-Ready Edge at Microsoft Ignite 2017….

In partnership with Microsoft, Riverbed will introduce the Azure Ready Edge in early 2018 to address these challenges for IT Leaders. The solution extends the benefits of Azure cloud storage to edge sites by delivering flexible, secure, and anytime/anywhere application access to augment or completely eliminate traditional data center infrastructure.

 

Please come visit the Riverbed booth (#709) at Microsoft Ignite for a demo preview of this game changing solution. We will showcase the following:

  • The simplicity of Azure-to-edge operations with Hyper-V based VMs and Azure storage instantly provisioned to any site
  • Instant site or data recovery in the Azure cloud to any edge site
  • Enhanced orchestration workflow to manage multiple environments

The Riverbed SteelFusion solution has already made the concept of Zero Edge IT a reality for over 1200 enterprises with traditional data center or hybrid cloud environments. In 2014 when we introduced SteelFusion, we likened it a smartphone where all your productivity apps, contacts, personal data are consolidated in the cloud. There’s no need for a backpack full of servers and storage that you’d have to tote around wherever you went. This concept applies even more so today with Edge Computing gaining momentum as the preferred operational model for more organizations. The Azure-Ready Edge will be the ideal solution for this shift.

Source: https://www.riverbed.com/blogs/extend-cloud-resources-to-azure-ready-edge.html

Author: 

 

 


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Is APM the Missing Link in YOUR DevOps Tool Chain?

Category : Riverbed

Deliver superior digital experiences with lifecycle performance insights

The DevOps movement continues to gain momentum in the digital economy, as businesses race to develop and deliver cutting-edge digital services—faster and more effectively than the competition. And while cultural and process changes are at the heart of DevOps, a variety of technologies are essential to driving success.

One critical, yet often overlooked link in the DevOps tool chain is application performance management (APM). Well known for its value in troubleshooting and resolving issues in production, many DevOps-oriented teams are now utilizing APM tools across the software development lifecycle to improve collaboration and efficiency while ensuring higher-quality releases and stronger business outcomes.

Attend this webinar hosted by Riverbed and Enterprise Management Associates to explore:

  • The latest trends surrounding DevOps and its enabling technologies
  • How APM can integrate with other DevOps tools to drive improved efficiencies
  • Key use cases for leveraging APM data across the application lifecycle

REGISTER!


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Optus Fusion SD-WAN – the Future of your Network, Today

Category : Riverbed

I’ve worked in the industry for over 25 years, with roles in end user, systems integrator, service provider and vendor land and whichever lens I use there are three common aspirations and four or five typical challenges end customers face when considering how to make their IT infrastructure more a business enabler than a business overhead.

Aspirations:

  • Flexible & agile
  • Business outcome focussed
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO), high ROI

Most end customers need their IT systems to be flexible enough to move quickly to meet their business needs whilst at the same time having sufficient rigour around management and change control to mitigate risk of downtime and business interruption. As we move through the cloud adoption maturity cycle organisations have also become accustomed to consuming services on an OPEX/Subscription basis reducing the demand on CAPEX funding.

10+ years ago the answer to this was IT outsourcing for some or all of the IT infrastructure, in many instances customers owning the assets themselves, and engaging a third party to manage it 24×7 with pro-active monitoring and management.

One of the challenges with this model, is that the management services provided were really “element management”—is the system/appliance up or down, showing green or red on the network management platform, and is it backed up regularly. In addition, traditional managed service providers insist on strong change control and security risk assessment methodologies to mitigate risks. In these scenarios someone is also carrying the cost of financing the hardware/software—the overall cost and charges often seem high for the real business value they offer.

Challenges:

  • Element management does not deliver business outcomes
  • Strong managed service change control impacts agility
  • Reduce the burden on CAPEX, aligning expenditure with incoming Revenue
  • Finance leasing increases total cost

Optus Fusion SD-WANIn today’s world, element management is almost irrelevant as customers want to consume services with guaranteed performance outcomes. Remembering that customers have become accustomed to, and want, self-service access to systems, we see the dawn of the software-defined era.

Putting myself back in end user land, where I was responsible for designing and operating highly-available large enterprise networks, what would I want from a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN)?

 

  • True resilience with full carrier diversity, with end-to-end performance monitored in real time from a single common intuitive management interface
  • Integrated visibility that gives me insights into the real-time utilization of my network—understanding what users, devices and applications are consuming resources at a particular point in time
  • The ability to make global changes at the click of a button, without the risk of a CLI script containing errors, potentially taking users, sites, applications, or even worse the whole WAN down!
  • Flexibility to dynamically redirect less important traffic over alternate links to make headroom for short-term business initiatives—e.g. the CEO’s monthly all-hands webcast
  • And finally the means to consume this on an opex model on a monthly-basis as an additional item on my carriers bill

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Two years ago that would have been the case, but here we are today with Optus Business in Australia launching their Optus Fusion SD-WAN service which does exactly that.

Am I for real? Yes—to find out more, see what is truly possible—the Future of the Network, here today—Optus Fusion SD-WAN, powered by Riverbed SteelConnect!


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SD-WAN. Oversimplified.

Category : Riverbed

Technology can be extremely complex. And while software and hardware developers strive to improve the features and usability of their applications and services, often increased complexity doesn’t always translate to better usability.

Smartphones are a great example. As the race to faster and better continues, manufacturers are packing their devices with options that I would guess a majority of users would never use.

We are all creatures of habit and most of us tend to stay in that “safe zone” of things that we truly understand. Adoption takes time and occurs only when the benefits outweigh the perceived risks.

When I approach technology, I try to understand it so that I can explain it in an oversimplified way. This approach may not work for those wanting to get “in the weeds” with technical jargon or engineering-esque diagrams. But for those wanting to understand a term or concept better, at least initially, it often helps to provide more simplistic examples, metaphors, or similes to make the concept stick.

If you can explain the concept to someone else, perhaps a less-technical person in this case, and they actually understand it, that means you understand it (unless of course you completely miss the mark, but that’s another story altogether).

With my work at Riverbed, I’m surrounded by technical experts. I take lots of notes and ask a lot of stupid or obvious questions (a thing I learned in school). Only through dialog and asking questions can you truly learn. And as you learn, you must make concepts personal enough to truly understand them.

Understanding SD-WAN

 

Let’s take a look at the concept of the software-defined wide area network (“SD-WAN” for short). Many of my colleagues have written wonderful articles explaining this technology. Take Mark Woods’ article, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About SD-WAN Architecture (But Were Afraid to Ask).” This humorous, yet informative piece dives into many of the key elements to know about when approaching SD-WAN.

Or give Vivek Ganti’s post, “Make Networking Great Again? Sure, I’m with SD-WAN,” a read as it provides a more technical explanation with real-world scenarios on the old way of configuring WANs using command line interface (CLI) versus the new, easy way using SD-WAN and network policies.

And there is Akshay Kakar’s, “SD-WAN: A Brief Introduction,” which outlines how SD-WAN saves the day with capabilities designed to simplify WAN management.

Each of these articles provides different perspectives on and insights into the important capabilities of SD-WAN and the solutions it provides.

But I wanted to take a step back and talk about SD-WAN from a potentially oversimplifiedstandpoint. I would like to offer two, real-world examples.

Networking at home

If you are the family “tech expert” (a hat I happen to wear), you will undoubtedly be asked to fix technology issues affecting the family. Visits to parents’ homes frequently are met with “our Wi-Fi isn’t working” or “the printer isn’t connected.” Or, perhaps, you have smaller kids and need an easy way to regulate their online time and activities.

 

Unfortunately, consumer devices and services seem to be well behind the capabilities available to enterprises when it comes to managing networks. There are individual or point solutions available for managing networks within a specific home. But again, wouldn’t visits to the family be much better if they were truly that? Visits and not tech support calls?

And wouldn’t it be nice to manage your entire family’s extended network, regardless of location, from the comfort of your browser at your own home? Oh, and while you’re at it, configure your kids’ Internet activities and policies?

Or what if your children have families of their own? Wouldn’t it be nice to ship them a device, have them just plug it in, and suddenly have those same rules and policies automatically configured?

This is what SD-WAN can do for companies. And it can do it now. Policy definition. Remote deployment of networking rules. Easy-to-configure-and-understand network and Wi-Fi settings. Ship and auto-configure networking devices. Single-pane-of-glass management of all connected locations. Remote troubleshooting capabilities. And that’s just the beginning.

Just think if this type of solution were available to consumers (and families). Visits become about people again. Precious time could be served in more advantageous ways and not rewiring and configuring systems. Ah, the good life.

Brick & mortar versus click & deliver

Another example comes to mind. And it talks to the evolution of tasks using technology in much the same way WAN management has moved from the old way of command line configuration of individual routers, to a new, software-defined approach of managing network topologies.

Online shopping has transformed how we manage our inventory of consumables. Let’s first think about the old way of shopping. Those who were efficient created shopping lists to make the physical journey to a store a more effective process. You defined the items you needed in a list, journeyed to that specific location where the goods could be obtained, purchased those items, and then returned home.

But, groceries could only be obtained at a grocery store. Similarly, you could only purchase consumer electronics at a retailer specializing in just that. Clothes at a department store. Or toys at a toy store. What that meant was different lists for each store and distinct trips to those individual stores.

SD-WAN. Oversimplified. - eCommerce

The “old” way of configuring networking equipment is actually quite similar. Instead of specific shopping lists, you have lines of code (issued via CLI) that need to be sent to specific routers in order for configurations to be changed or updated. Those individual routers are much like the individual stores. So, while in the end, you did get the job done (of buying the things you needed or configuring individual routers), it took a long time.

And what if you forgot to put an item on a list? That would require another trip to the store (or yet another configuration update on a router). Or what if you bought the wrong thing (lists can be erroneous or inaccurate)? That would mean you have to return the item (another trip back to the store). Similarly, errors in CLI updates can be potentially devastating to corporations and troubleshooting is equally complex.

Online shopping transforms this buying process, much like how SD-WAN simplifies the process of WAN management. From the convenience of a single portal, you can compile lists across a broader range of options. You can fine-tune those lists to your liking, regardless of the selection type, and then when you have double-checked everything, purchase it all at once.

The beauty of online ordering is, your specific orders are sent to the vendors in many locations for fulfillment. It doesn’t matter if your goods are coming from the next city, the next state, or across the country. And it appears at your doorstep in a set amount of time, almost magically. Want to cancel or change an order? Do it through the ordering portal. No need to make an additional trip back to a physical store.

SD-WAN works in a similar way, albeit, this shopping example is a bit of an oversimplification. Instead of individual routers, you define business rules to manage all routers in many locations. When making a change or update to a network policy, it is all driven by changes within the management portal which propagate out to all locations. If you make a mistake in your configurations, you can quickly issue a policy update to correct it across the organization. It is managed by software which allows it to be more dynamic and efficient.

You don’t care how your orders get to you. You only care about getting your actual orders (and without numerous trips to the store). Similarly, your networks are defined easily by software, not by individual, error-prone updates issued one-by-one. You manage your WAN through group policies that are automatically distributed across your infrastructure.

SD-WAN. Oversimplified explanations. Powerful solutions.

So yes, these two examples are a bit of an oversimplification of the true power of SD-WAN. There is tremendous control, flexibility, and ease-of-use built into the Riverbed SD-WAN solution. The examples above merely scrape the surface as a means of introduction to this technology solution.

If this type of WAN-management technology intrigues you or you feel it might be a good fit to your organization, I encourage you to dive deeper by reviewing some of our customer success stories or use cases, reading some white papers or analyst reports and, most importantly, asking questions. While this technology is rapidly evolving, it is also a key catalyst in the digital transformation businesses are undergoing.

Source: https://www.riverbed.com/blogs/sd-wan-oversimplified.html?utm_campaign=sdwan&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&sf110012914=1

Author: MICHAEL SHEEHAN

 


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Overcoming IT barriers to digital transformation

Category : Riverbed

The end user experience is essential to a successful digital transformation.

Today, the role of the CIO and IT department is more closely aligned than ever to business operations. This is because, in order to ensure a seamless digital transformation both CIOs and their IT departments have to be able to ensure that business objectives are at the centre of their strategies. In fact, this is critical if they want to drive innovation, deliver better customer satisfaction levels, increase workforce productivity, and reduce bottom line costs during a new project.

There is one element of IT delivery that is however often overlooked within all these considerations. This is ensuring excellence in user experience. It is the most fundamental measure of success, as without measuring this before and after any digital transformation programme, there is no empirical metrics to help validate claims of any clear change in the experience with confidence. And user experience often determines increase of productivity, employee engagement, cost savings and can also result in better customer service being delivered.

There are four common barriers to digital transformation initiatives. Below we explore how the enterprise can take to overcome them.

1. OPERATIONAL IN-EFFICIENCY

Business unit leaders and  IT professional, are often summoned to a war-room meetings to explain why an IT-related project or change aimed at improving business productivity or customer service resulted in so much negative feeling toward the initiative? Unfortunately, this is often because all parties are not aligned. More often than not, these situations can  easily be avoided by first starting at the vantage point of the end user experience to see how IT services are being consumed.

Both business unit leaders and IT professionals need to sit down together and map out objectives and KPIs for technology changes. The plan could be tested with a small group of end users. But ultimately if both parties know what the outcome must be, there is no room for confusion in delivery — and it can help both parties to get back to their respective roles in supporting the business.

2. SUB-OPTIMAL APPLICATION PERFORMANCE

Organisations are using hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications. New applications are constantly being deployed, whether new version are upgrades or replacements for old legacy applications. This all brings risk. Poor application performance can significantly impact competitiveness, and, in sectors such as healthcare, can directly affect patient care or put sensitive data at risk.

Application upgrades can be a key catalyst for issues that impact productivity. With so much variation in hardware, location, network, and user expectation across the business it becomes an ever bigger and more complex task to thoroughly test every combination of how an application could be consumed by different users. Data center monitoring solutions are partially helpful in reporting on the availability of centrally hosted applications, backed by reports and dashboards with lots of positive results. However, this information alone is rarely indicative of a positive experience for end users on the receiving end.

By contrast, effective end user experience monitoring allows benchmarks to be created over time which clearly show precise historic application performance metrics. Then, upon application upgrade or migration, any positive or negative deviation in performance can be viewed immediately with the analytics to show exactly where the change in response time and experience is occurring.

3. INEFFECTIVE CHANGE MANAGEMENT AND USER ADOPTION

Adoption is key to the success of products and services. Within Riverbed’s collective frame of reference , users tend to only embrace change when they feel confident and experience an incremental improvement in their interaction with an application or desktop.

Users need to be brought on the journey of change. Reasoning behind the changes need to be explained, and effective training put in place to make any change in strategy or a transformation as positive as possible. In addition, for future change initiatives, empirical evidence in the form of data from monitoring can prove invaluable. Businesses must be able to measure system performance against end user productivity over time to ensure there’s no real negative impact, but rather only improvement.

4. POOR VISIBILITY OF THE END USER EXPERIENCE

The three previous topics can easily be combined within the one single category of poor visibility of the end user experience: in other words —  the visibility gap. In short, this relates to the lack of insight into how IT services or change initiatives and digital transformations actually impact the experience of users, which ultimately impacts business performance.

The key thing to keep in mind is that any effect on end user experience can only be measured from the end user’s perspective of how they are consuming IT services — and with proactive alerting so when there is a deviation in performance, IT is notified directly, and doesn’t rely on the workforce calling their IT team or the CIO  to complain.

So what has enables organisations  to embrace IT change for the greater good of the business?

CLOSE THE VISIBILITY GAP AND OVERCOME BARRIERS TO CHANGE

The bottom line is that no enterprise business can manage or improve until it can measure. Therefore, the recommendation is equally simple. Measure and benchmark your business’ existing user experience and instantly compare any variations when a change is made.

To conclude, whether the business is looking to change a specific IT component or to enable full-scale digital business transformation (in a positive manner) CIOs, IT professionals and their business unit partners need to ensure the experience for their end users is optimised as part of the project — in effect, treating them like IT consumers. What’s more, no business can rely on IT end users as the primary source to the business to problems. To achieve this, the business needs easy access to real empirical user experience data that enables it to easily compare the before and after of changes. So the first step in this approach, and for your next IT transformation task, is to start with end user experience to help ensure a successful outcome.

Source: http://www.itproportal.com/features/overcoming-it-barriers-to-digital-transformation/?sf109199998=1

Author: Paul Higley


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Riverbed Improves ‘Digital Experience Management’ with Latest SteelCentral Update

Category : Riverbed

Companies of all kinds continuing to invest heavily in delivering the best digital business initiatives. That said, the ability to deliver a high-quality user experience for such projects remains largely a patch of challenging guesswork.

Riverbed Technology is looking to bring more science – and less black arts – to these tasks. The latest update to its SteelCentral digital experience management solution aims to let companies do better troubleshooting all parts of the digital experience.

SteelCentral comes with the ability to track and measure performance from the user’s experience on the device to the back-end network, infrastructure, cloud and application.

Mike Sargent, Riverbed’s senior vice president and general manager of SteelCentral noted the updates come as more organizations are making “big ticket, highly strategic investments in digital business transformation initiatives.”  Companies assume these investments will “drive customer intimacy and employee/partner productivity,” he added. Sadly, they are not always successful.

With the prevalence of cloud and mobile technologies, Sargent surmised that traditional tools are unable to holistically measure and manage a user’s digital experience.

SteelCentral is helping enterprises deliver a reliable and consistently high-quality end user experience. Sargent indicated that “with the breadth and depth of insight that [the solution] provides, down to the individual transaction level, we are taking visibility to a whole new level to help our customers achieve their strategic goals.”

SteelCentral’s latest release looks to fill in many of the gaps between digital experience monitoring and IT’s ability to capture, see and evaluate all the variables that go into digital experience, Sargent suggested.

Many in IT and business can probably relate to how frustrating this gap can feel.  SteelCentral product marketing director Erik Hillen explained it this way in a recent blog post:

Despite the focus on digital transformation, few companies are able to actually understand the digital experience of their customers or their workforce.  Customers complain about web load times, app performance, network speed, yet IT has no line of sight to the problem. Performance is impacted, customer satisfaction plummets and the IT’s reputation is seen as lagging the market.At the same time, IT has instrumented a great deal.  We monitor, apps, end user experience, networks, databases, infrastructure… all with a myriad of point solutions, but the tools don’t talk, the groups don’t talk and, most importantly, none of these elements help to manage the critical question: what is the end user’s experience?

SteelCentral aims to pull together capabilities to fill (if not eliminate) this gap, according to Sargent.  To support that mission, this upgrade adds several key features to let IT and business stakeholders better collaborate quickly and clearly – and deliver high-quality digital experiences, he added.

Among them:

Enriched ‘end-user experience monitoring’ and integrated visibility into digital experience: Under the covers, SteelCentral will incorporate the device-based view of end-user experience. This visibility will show both IT and business executives a deep and unified view – with a single-pane-of-glass – of performance and its impact on end users.

Reduced risk for application migrations to the cloud: As companies continue to migrate apps to the cloud, both IT and business are looking for better ways to overcome cloud’s ‘blind spot,’ and better understand and assess the impact on network performance.  SteelCentral introduces application migration planning and prediction and enables network planning and architecture teams to simulate and predict traffic behavior and impact on the network prior to application migrations.

Manage outcomes across the application lifecycle: As organizations adopt DevOps, developers, QA teams and IT operations are looking for ways to increase agility and quality of application releases. Often that comes with efforts to streamline, integrate and automate processes. SteelCentral looks to aid in those efforts by allow IT teams to more easily visualize and analyse performance insights and diagnostics across the full application lifecycle.

SteelCentral’s ability to provides all this deeper understanding of performance levels brings about end results sought after by both IT and business – including resolving performance issues and improving service performance.

The recipe for these results come from SteelCentral’s capability to blend a all the key pieces of instrumentation that goes into a digital experience – device-based end user experience, infrastructure, application, and network monitoring. Here are some notable details on the ingredients – and how they all come together:

End user experience monitoring: Monitor the actual end user experience of any local, cloud, web, or enterprise mobile app running on any physical, virtual, or mobile device. Proactively identify and rapidly resolve problems to ensure excellent customer service and workforce productivity.

Application performance management: Leverage application performance management and monitoring to gain real-time visibility into the end-user experience, infrastructure and applications. Diagnose application performance problems down to the offending code, SQL, web service, network, or system resource.

Network Performance Management: Monitor, troubleshoot, and analyze what’s happening across the enterprise network environment. With end-to-end visibility and actionable insights, users can quickly and proactively resolve any network-based performance issues.

Speaking of coming together, this latest release also sports noteworthy integrations between SteelCentral Portal, SteelCentral Aternity, and SteelCentral AppInternals. Sargent added.

“This integration means that SteelCentral users can now incorporate the device-based view of end user experience providing IT and business executives with a single-pane-of-glass view of IT performance and its impact on end users,” he said in a statement.

Further, the integrated workflow between SteelCentral Aternity and AppInternals provides an integrated monitoring system for the entire end user service and allows IT to rapidly troubleshoot business-critical applications across devices and applications. According to Sargent, this results in a one-stop-shop for the variety of teams involved in Digital Experience Management, from end user services, to app developers and operations, to IT and business executives.

In the new release, Riverbed is also introducing a new integration between NetProfiler and NetIM that helps network managers understand the impact of network infrastructure on network performance.

Source: http://www.idevnews.com/stories/7070/Riverbed-Improves-Digital-Experience-Management-with-Latest-SteelCentral-Update?sf107545718=1

Author: Yves de Montcheuil


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Are Your Apps Chasing Users Away?

Category : Riverbed

How to Deliver Superior Digital Experiences

Users expect flawless digital experiences when using your apps, irrespective of device or location. Miss the mark and you chase customers away or hamper employee productivity.  Meanwhile, complexity is skyrocketing with cloud technology and Agile development.

To succeed, IT and business stakeholders need digital experience insights to ensure that every business-critical application keeps customers happy and employees productive. This requires a comprehensive Digital Experience Management (DEM) strategy.

Join us as we discuss the:

  • Must-haves to rolling out successful digital experience management practices
  • Critical components of an effective DEM solution
  • Expected business results and outcomes
  • Pitfalls to avoid along the way

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