ITSM meets EUEM: One step ahead of the IT disruption

ITSM meets EUEM: One step ahead of the IT disruption

Trouble-free digital workplaces need predictive incident and change management. The decisive factor for this is the connection of IT Service Management (ITSM) systems from the backend with the End User Experience Monitoring (EUEM) of the IT helpdesk. […]

If the IT helpdesk can only suspect the reasons for a malfunction, backend administrators can only guess from IT system analyses what consequences can be expected for individual workplaces, and users fluctuate between self-help, tips from colleagues and inquiries at the helpdesk in the event of IT problems, one thing becomes obvious: the three worlds need a closer connection – technically as well as communicatively. At the latest from company sizes of 3,000 employees, digital experience Management has a considerable influence on productivity and costs in terms of the quality of support.

It is not so easy to answer which IT adjustment screws have to be turned in order to ensure trouble-free work in the most efficient way possible – it takes context and coordination from the overall perspective of IT performance data – from the cloud service to the server to the processor in the laptop.

An integrated approach to EUEM has five development steps with strategically relevant side effects in terms of budget deployment, compliance and efficiency through automation of troubleshooting processes – according to Nexthink’s experience with digital experience management projects.

Without integration, possible sources of error are tracked cascading individually in case of fault messages at digital workstations, correlations are searched manually. An intelligent, comprehensive real-time data system that correlates performance values at the application and hardware level with data from ITSM systems from the user’s point of view accelerates the clarification of the actual background of problems. Big data analyses and machine learning for comprehensive system analyses from the server to the user make it clear at a glance which phenomena are related via dashboards. This leads to a quick solution and shows what may need to be fundamentally adjusted.

If analysis data is continuously compared, trends and patterns help to prevent impending disruptions preventively.

Slow VPN connections, jerky video conferencing. This and much more is often seen by employees as inevitable and in the home office they like to push network providers or weak Wi-Fi connections – which creates no less frustration.

The question of expanding VPN capacities or alternative conference solutions is being raised. But do the investments really remedy the situation? An integrated analysis clarifies this question: have too many users switched on the VPN by default and are blocking capacities unnecessarily? Perhaps incorrect settings or high CPU usage on laptops are the cause? Do the malfunctions show a temporal connection with updates or patches? Are adjustments to proxy settings or the respective cloud applications necessary to ensure trouble-free services?

The precise error analysis therefore provides essential decision-making aids where IT investments should be prioritised.

Many compliance and security requirements are among the predictable sources of disruption that can be avoided with analysis capabilities. This already starts when hard drives are running “full” on end devices, as a result of which security patches or software updates can no longer be installed. If Windows computers run for a long time, they become unstable and necessary patches are not activated by the missing reboot. Things like this are recognizable in advance and can be easily solved via targeted notifications to the affected employees in conjunction with a remote maintenance script (remote Action) before disturbances arise.

Shadow IT: Instead of strict regulations, an analytics-based approach enables a differentiated approach. On the one hand, clear regulations can be implemented according to which services on the prohibited list are blocked in access or deleted as a local application. On the other hand, IT can allow unlisted services and applications and then analyze whether they are included in the company catalog. However, it can also refer the user to existing solutions and thus position itself as a real sparring partner.

The empirical values that can be derived from analytical transparency are also a good benchmark for the implementation of IT compliance requirements. Security levels and degrees of freedom can thus be balanced in conjunction with training and education for a high level of acceptance.

The combination of individualized feedback mechanisms and the consideration of quality metrics for hardware, software and web applications paves the way for automated troubleshooting.

For example, if central applications crash, service tickets with relevant data for the IT service desk can be automatically generated and affected users can be informed at the same time – up to the activation of stored automated solution procedures for known problems.

The previous stage is already helpful: if the IT helpdesk increasingly detects application problems and blue screens in individual employees, measures such as configuration changes or computer replacement can be initiated directly in addition to a proactive dialogue – system–controlled and based on the analysis data.

The effective elimination and prevention of disruptions in the digital workplace is not least a question of communication. If the IT company uses a proactive solution to inform affected employees about disruptions in a targeted manner, this enables better support coordination with users, especially for three requirements:

  • Error prevention and guidance: Let’s stick to the VPN example: In the event of impending capacity bottlenecks, an automated notification can be sent to user groups to switch off the VPN for non-security-relevant applications, combined with the necessary instructions on how to best implement the handling of the VPN.
  • Planning: If, for example, software roll–out configurations on end devices are necessary, remote adjustments can be proactively planned by the IT helpdesk directly with the user through personalized messages, instead of waiting for tickets for the already foreseeable problems.
  • Warning and workarounds: If disturbances have occurred acutely, displayed messages to all possible affected people help – before you fall into the trap. If this message also contains the duration of the fault and possible workarounds, this saves many users from being blocked by an indefinite waiting time. Helpdesk employees also benefit from not having to explain the same problem to all callers and instead focusing on solving it.

The core of Digital Experience Management or EUEM is about improving the IT experience for the employee and ensuring that he can productively consume IT services – from the end device to local software to web applications.

This only works system-supported and with real–time data – i.e. with the knowledge of relationships at the application, hardware and network level. This enables predictive action instead of remaining in firefighting mode. It makes a decisive difference to be able to answer the “why” immediately if an IT service is disrupted, a terminal is faulty, a user is dissatisfied. Only with context can anti-interference processes be automated and continuous improvements achieved. An approach that has a far-reaching impact on cost-efficient IT operations and increasing productivity in the company in equal measure.

*Holger Dörnemann is Solution Consultant Director Central EMEA at Nexthink.

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