Failure Is Not an Option: Keeping the Hybrid Workforce Connected
Why IT needs real-time, vendor-independent, packet-based monitoring of UC&C performance to assure collaboration tools
“Is there anybody out there?”
In addition to being lyrics to the haunting Pink Floyd song of the same name from the album “The Wall,” who among us hasn’t uttered those words while waiting anxiously to connect to an important video conference? Thoughts inevitably run through your mind: Will I be able to connect? Will glitches in audio or video make it impossible to participate in a meaningful way? Is anyone else having the same problem?
Businesses today increasingly are adopting a hybrid model, with many employees working partly remotely and partly in the office. A recent report found that 74 percent of U.S. companies are using or planning to implement a permanent hybrid work model. And 63 percent of high-growth companies have embraced a “productivity anywhere” hybrid work model.
Real-world Challenges with UC&C
This expanding reliance on hybrid work models has made unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) tools all the more essential. But with that reliance comes reliability challenges. The recent NETSCOUT Unified Communications & IT report found that for enterprises with thousands of employees across multiple geographies, disruptions, and performance issues with collaboration tools could negatively impact the business. In fact, 93 percent of IT leaders surveyed for the study were concerned that UC&C-related challenges may temporarily hinder productivity.
A good example of these challenges can be found in the case of a regional healthcare insurer highlighted in the report. The organization had to transition nearly 5,000 employees from on-premises locations to work-from-home environments, and with increased dependence on collaboration via the company’s unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) tools, the IT team was under pressure as outages increased and help desk tickets took longer to resolve. These issues began affecting claims-processing activities, which adversely impacted subscribers and opened the door to potential revenue loss.
UC&C and UCaaS issues are pervasive across nearly every vertical. Whether it’s call center employees trying to access vital network systems from home, a pharmaceutical business connecting with geographically dispersed vendors, or a hybrid team for a law firm discussing case strategy, all face challenges related to delays in joining UCaaS video or audio conferences, poor audio quality, poor webcam/video quality, or an inability to log into UCaaS services. And these problems are experienced on platforms across the board—not just one. Once investigated, IT often finds issues related to latency, packet loss, quality-of-service (QoS) misconfigurations, poor mean opinion score (MOS) ratings, and jitter.
The Need for Vendor-independent, Packet-based Monitoring
To deal with the complexities of today’s UC&C and UCaaS platforms, IT teams need improved visibility and real-time snapshots into technology performance, user experience, and subscriber-facing applications in order to reduce outages and improve service reliability. Although the platforms often offer dashboards and reports for performance and use of their own service, they are singularly focused on their application service, not on the overall communications paths of the users.
NETSCOUT can address these urgent challenges by providing vendor-independent, packet-based monitoring of performance throughout headquarters and regional offices, as well as that of distributed users, for individual user experience analysis with synthetic testing.
The comprehensive nature of NETSCOUT’s performance management solutions offer deep visibility into network, voice, and application services systemwide with a single-pane-of-glass view. NETSCOUT solutions track and trend key utilization metrics, which can provide early warning of emerging problems that are causing interruptions or degradations of service, allowing IT teams to begin to troubleshoot issues more quickly and reduce time to resolution. The information discovered not only helps pinpoint the root cause of the problems but can also be shared with third parties, including the UCaaS platform vendors and wide area network (WAN) providers, in a joint, cooperative approach to meet the needs of the user community.
Ensuring that collaboration tools are working flawlessly and today’s hybrid workforce can remain connected no matter where they are located is absolutely essential. Having the right visibility is key.
Learn more in our comprehensive report on UC&C.