Shifting Work and Retail Trends: Focus on Remote Connectivity

The need for smart edge monitoring to enhance the digital end-user experience across branches and remote locations is growing.

Shifting Work and Retail Trends: Focus on Remote Connectivity

Workers and shoppers alike have embraced the growing trend toward remote connectivity sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report projected that ecommerce sales will increase from $4.9 trillion in 2021 to $6.4 trillion by 2024. And the workplace, which is currently in flux, is likely to shift toward more of a hybrid model with employees splitting time between working in the office and in the home going forward.

A survey published by CNBC found that 77 percent of companies believe their workforce will use a hybrid model in the near term, which dovetails with a McKinsey report earlier this year that predicted 20 to 25 percent of the workforce in advanced economies would likely work remotely.

This increased reliance on remote work and online shopping has put the burden on IT to ensure connectivity is reliable and secure in order to deliver the best digital end-user experience. The complexity of this challenge is significant, especially with so many applications having moved to the cloud, and many back-office applications now being accessed through a VPN gateway.

End Users’ Growing Reliance on Remote Connectivity

More and more workers and shoppers are relying on remote connectivity to conduct business, make purchases, or interact with retailers. For example, when a customer swipes a loyalty card in a store location, that device must seamlessly connect to a central data center in order to authorize a discount. Any disruption can impinge on the customer’s expectations for a smooth transaction and could end up jeopardizing the sale.

Similarly, if a customer is trying to connect with a call center, perhaps using a data center-based unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) application, customer satisfaction may hinge on the quality and reliability of the call. With many call center employees working remotely, having services accessible at their home workstation, such as inventory, order processing, order status, and shipping status, is imperative. And if the call is dropped or the connection is poor, no doubt the customer relationship will be harmed or at the very least diminished.

Another good example is a customer using a mobile banking application to execute a deposit, funds transfer, or other transaction with a branch location. The connectivity between the customer, branch, and central database are vital to the completion of the transaction. Anything less than flawless connectivity is unacceptable.

These days, reliance on connectivity extends to virtually every industry. In the case of manufacturers, engineers might utilize an application to access an automated assembly line, or office personnel might rely on a headquarters application to remotely order raw materials or piece parts from a supplier. Factories must have seamless communications with data centers to conduct inventory management from a remote location through the distribution center to headquarters—enabling the company to maintain productivity in today’s challenging supply chain environment.

Deciphering the Edge

The extensive combination of underlying technologies being utilized by enterprises of every type is putting pressure on IT departments to gain visibility into the services being delivered, so they can adequately manage and secure them. As workers and shoppers increasingly rely on remote connectivity with branch offices and remote locations, the need for metrics that reveal the digital end-user experience is vital so that IT can rapidly analyze and evaluate availability and reliability issues in today’s edge computing environment.

IT faces any number and variety of potential edges for any given application service—from client to network to data center/cloud service edges—creating potential gaps in visibility. As a result, IT needs to identify key instrumentation vantage points to monitor and quickly troubleshoot issues as they emerge to reduce mean-time-to-knowledge (MTTK) and mean-time-to-restore (MTTR) numbers.

For example, monitoring packet data can reveal details related to problems observed at visibility vantage points such as the network and data center/cloud service edges. This information is powerful, because it helps put critical evidence into the hands of the right IT group or third-party vendor to speed up resolution of any disruptive issues.

Combining Packet Data and Synthetic Test Technologies

The key for comprehensive visibility is to combine packet data and synthetic test technologies for monitoring at the many edges of complex, multicloud environments, particularly the client edges—in short, smart edge monitoring. Synthetic testing that includes business transaction testing capabilities allows IT to simulate the many different types of interactions an end user has with applications across a business environment. And because these tests can be conducted during “off” hours when users aren’t utilizing these services, IT can ensure everything is working properly, or be alerted to a problem and often resolve it before the user is impacted.

NETSCOUT is a leader when it comes to smart edge monitoring. Our Smart Edge Monitoring solution delivers borderless monitoring and visibility. This next-generation solution is geared to provide visibility across all of the edges of an enterprise’s infrastructure, allowing IT to deliver the best digital end-user experience across any application.

To learn more about how the combination of packet data and synthetic test data can improve performance assurance in complex, multicloud environments, this white paper can help.

Read the white paper.