What’s your least favorite thing as an IT professional to hear when you first stroll into the office in the morning? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that, like me, many of you might say something like this:
“Everything is slow….”
Ughhhhhhh, if we had a dime for every time we’ve heard end users utter that vague and unhelpful statement over our careers, we’d have a boatload of dimes.
Across IT roles, this tiring theme seems to follow us wherever we go. I’d bet most of you have been on the wrong side of this complaint, or at least something similar.
In this blog, I’d like to address some of the unique challenges IT faces and how we, as engineers, can utilize available tools to make our daily lives less stressful. Subjective end-user complaints do not have to be the norm, but to overcome them we need to work smarter, not harder.
Before we dive into the weeds, let’s talk about some of the challenges facing IT professionals that lead to a poor end-user experience and dejected IT staff.
Yep, IT can be tough…
Being an IT professional isn’t easy and can oftentimes seem thankless. I’ve worked at several organizations where IT was considered a necessary evil until there was an emergency. My former boss used to say, “Being in IT is like being a plumber. Nobody wants anything to do with you until the toilet doesn’t flush. Then you are the most important person in the world.”
Every hot trend (cloud-first, zero-footprint, AI, automation, work-from-home, BYOD) inevitably falls on the shoulders of the IT department to deliver. Desktop and application virtualization technologies like Citrix and VMware, cloud offerings from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, and the various DaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and other acronym-heavy solutions are becoming ubiquitous across the enterprise. Unfortunately, the inherent complexity of those infrastructures, which often include dozens of different technologies, makes troubleshooting problems exponentially more difficult. And let’s face it, IT professionals’ challenges are only becoming more formidable each year.
Additionally, most enterprises require IT staff to do more with less, to wear many hats, and work across traditional silos of expertise. Today, IT “generalists” must maintain proficiencies in a variety of technologies and a deep understanding of the business and its challenges.
Expertise is hard to find
IT is complex and sometimes you need a specialist to properly do certain jobs. Unfortunately, the demand for IT specialists in EUC technologies far outstrips the available supply.
According to a recent study by the Citrix Ready team, the global supply of technologists that can manage Citrix environments is a small percentage of the demand for Citrix expertise. This is a problem universal across all EUC vendors. Unfortunately, those lucky enough to have this expert-level staff often cannot utilize them to their full potential.
Specialized technical experts can spend anywhere from 25-30% of their day troubleshooting end-user tickets. This is valuable time taken away from optimizing, managing, upgrading, and supporting the technologies critical to business operations. With the right tools, that work could shift to support level staff to free up the more experienced engineers to work on projects vital to moving the business toward its core goals.
There is a better way
Ok, so we’ve laid out two of the more significant problems IT professionals experience working in EUC.
- There is a trend toward IT staff becoming generalists rather than having the luxury of focusing on a single technology silo. In the EUC space, there will always be a need for experts, but the global supply of these technologists is insufficient to meet demand.
- EUC infrastructures are inherently complex, requiring seamless integration of different technologies and vendor solutions to deliver resources to end users.
To truly work smarter rather than harder and provide a positive experience for our end-users, we will need a way to overcome the problems described above. In woodworking there is a saying, “the right tool for the right job.” Sure, I can pound a nail with a rock, but a hammer will work much better! Enterprise IT is no different.
Troubleshooting and maintaining complex environments requires visibility into all the interdependent parts, and there aren’t many tools that are purpose-built for that task. Additionally, this data needs to be available and distilled automatically into a usable form, without all the noise traditional monitoring products provide. Data without context is essentially worthless, especially in a high-stress outage scenario.
Even more important, the tool must be accessible to team members of all skill levels without extensive training. Ultimately, we need a tool to democratize the vast amount of environmental data to prevent end-user experience issues before they occur and, if they do, empower IT to resolve them promptly.
To survive the constantly evolving landscape of IT technology, admins and engineers need more innovative tools. In our experience, the most promising approach is to leverage embedded intelligence coupled with automation tools designed to monitor an environment automatically, proactively find potential problems, and even automatically fix these issues before the end user even knows there was an issue.
Embedded intelligence and automation
Embedded intelligence and automation, when leveraged properly, can guide users on what metrics to monitor and how to watch them. It’s like having a team of troubleshooting experts with specific knowledge of all the IT elements that can impact user experience.
Automatically correlating raw data from a complicated delivery infrastructure and measuring that data against specific end-user experience metrics based on industry best practices provides an objective view of actual end-user experience rather than relying on subjective reports from end users. This functionality is invaluable to EUC engineers.
Admins can waste hours sifting through different monitoring tools, systems, logs, and other data to recreate specific details of an issue. This assumes that the data was captured, and the user provided an accurate investigation timeline. After all that work, the root cause of the user experience issue is often still a mystery. Without establishing the root cause of a problem, history is doomed to repeat itself, creating unhappy users and demoralized staff.
Problems occur regardless of how well IT professionals architect solutions. Downtime of IT systems can cost businesses a tremendous amount of money, and frequent downtime erodes the trust businesses and end users have in IT departments. Once that trust is lost, it’s tough to get back. Downtime is also just a tiny part of the picture. Today, the critical measure of a successful IT service is the end-user experience, which is tricky to quantify. Providing a fantastic end-user experience will help alleviate the stress of more work on fewer shoulders and help IT reduce or even eliminate that early morning “everything is slow” call we all love so much.
Software with embedded intelligence and automation is purpose-built to help you proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and document end-user experience issues regardless of your infrastructure, workloads, or users.
Look out for more upcoming blogs as we explore the ways Goliath incorporates embedded intelligence and automation into every facet of their solution to help your IT teams be proactive!
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