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How Adding SteelCentral Aternity to Your Monitoring Portfolio Helps You Optimize the Digital Experience of Microsoft 365

Are you providing Microsoft monitoring tools along with your Microsoft solutions?  Have you considered also providing Aternity?  This article provides insight to that question and explains how Aternity addresses different problems than the Microsoft monitoring tools.

Microsoft 365 enables your workforce to communicate and collaborate effectively and securely.

What’s Microsoft 365?

It’s a Microsoft offering that encompasses Office 365, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Windows 10, and Microsoft mobility solutions — all working together to achieve these goals. At a fundamental level, effective collaboration is all about what users see when they access shared content, or what they hear when they’re on a Skype for Business call — in other words, it’s about the end users’ experience. So ensuring excellent end user experience is the key to effective collaboration.

The good news: SteelCentral Aternity End User Experience Monitoring complements Microsoft’s own monitoring toolset to provide unique insights into how users fare when using business critical apps, like those in the Microsoft 365 portfolio. “If you’re in IT, what better way is there to verify that your Microsoft 365 rollout is reaching its potential than to look over the shoulder of the person who’s using the apps and see exactly what they see?” asks Riverbed Product Evangelist Mike Marks. “That’s essentially what Aternity does.”

Marks recently wrote a blog post about how Aternity can help deliver an excellent end user experience to Microsoft 365 customers. We spoke to Mike to go beyond the blog and take a look what Aternity brings to the table for IT staffers who are already using Microsoft monitoring tools to ensure excellent digital experience of Microsoft 365 apps.

Keeping an eye on things with Microsoft’s monitoring tools

If you’re a Microsoft shop, you probably already rely on a set of excellent Microsoft monitoring tools to address key use cases for Microsoft apps and devices:

  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) monitors the availability and performance of physical and virtual devices within your data center and networks
  • Microsoft Intune provides mobile device management and mobile app management
  • Device Health is the part of Windows Analytics that supplies insights into key performance and health metrics of Windows devices
  • Microsoft Office 365 Workplace Analytics gathers data from collaboration tools (calendar, email, IM, etc.) to analyze how your workforce is spending its time

Aternity doesn’t duplicate what these tools do; it complements them. It offers a unique set of functionality that works along with each of these Microsoft monitoring tools to ensure your Microsoft 365 rollout achieves its goals. SteelCentral Aternity is also certified as Windows 10 and Office 365 Pro Plus Ready, so you know everything will play nicely together. Let’s take a look at what Aternity brings to each of these areas.

Never mind the last mile — see what’s happening in the last meter. “If you’re in IT operations,” says Marks, “then your responsibility is to provide an end-to-end view of the entire IT infrastructure from the network to the datacenter to the cloud — and the applications running on all of it. SCOM can ensure that all these components are up, running and, delivering excellent response times.”

“But you also need to know what the end user, sitting at the edge of all that infrastructure, is looking at,” he adds. “And that’s where Aternity comes in, showing you exactly what happens in that last meter, as applications render on their device screen, so you can see exactly what your users see.” Aternity monitors the application response time of any type of application, as seen by the end user, so it provides that last bit of end-to-end visibility to complete the picture.

Visibility into mobile user experience is key to mobile workspace success.  Mobile administrators use Microsoft Intune for mobile device management and mobile app management — protecting, and setting policies for, the mobile devices and apps that the workforce use to conduct their work, whenever, and wherever they are.

“Device and app management are necessary for a successful mobile workspace initiative, but they’re not sufficient,” says Marks. “There’s no question that managing and securing devices and apps are the key first steps. But the next step — ensuring an excellent mobile end user experience — is also key to success. If you’re the person who’s charged with rolling out these mobile apps, and you need to know, say, why a sales associate is experiencing app crashes or hangs in the middle of a customer transaction, you need Aternity to show you exactly what the associate sees if you want to diagnose what the problem is.”

Augment device diagnostics with user experience. Desktop services teams can use Device Health within Windows Analytics to get insight into the key performance and health metrics of their Windows devices — to check hardware reliability, to see if the CPU and RAM specs match up with mandates, and to make sure the operating system’s up to date.

“All that’s valuable information,” says Marks. “But there’s a whole different set of data about what the user’s direct experience on those devices is like. What are end users actually seeing when they’re using their collaboration apps, or Skype for Business? That’s where Aternity comes in.”

Track the impact of IT performance on workforce productivity. Microsoft Office 365 Workplace Analytics provides aggregated insight into how the workforce spends their time and who they spend it with. “If you’re a line of business leader who wants to know how much time your team spends in meetings, or what tools they’re using to collaborate, Workplace Analytics gives you key insights,” explains Marks.

Aternity complements this data by assessing the impact of poor IT performance on productivity, measuring application wait time, crashes, hangs, and errors. “Maybe Workplace Analytics is telling you that your team’s days are getting eaten up with endless meetings,” says Marks. “Well, Aternity can tell you if the reason is that SharePoint is too slow to upload files, or if Office 365 is slow because of poor network performance or under-resourced devices.”

Don’t wait to get started

Want to see put Aternity through its paces and see how it adds value to Microsoft 365 monitoring? You can try Aternity running in our cloud environment by registering for Instant Access. You can also see Aternity in action for Office 365 by viewing this on-demand webinar on Speeding Office 365 Adoption.


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