Tag Archives: End User Computing

Digital Experience Management and Event Correlation with SysTrack

SysTrack provides the ability to score an environment’s end user experience using digital experience management metrics. The resulting end user experience score provides a clear view of the end user’s experience in that environment and is composed by a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs are structured to provide direction to any problems in the environment that may affect the end user. The key to the philosophical approach with SysTrack, though, is the joining of this scoring to event correlation and analysis through the use of proactive alerts. These proactive alerts tie that overarching score to triggered, targeted events to provide a fuller and easier to understand portrait of the IT environment.

This starts with our end user experience score, and it’s best thought of as a simple grade. Basically, the score comes in a range of 0 to 100, with a score of a 100 implying the environment is providing the best end user experience. The score is composed of 13 different KPIs that represent aggregate data points on potential sources of impact. These  roughly fall into the categories of resource issues, networking problems,  system configuration issues, and infrastructure problems. This results in a great, normalized score to understand across a broad set of different systems what kind of performance issues are occurring. Even more importantly, it provides a platform for long-term analysis for trending to see the trajectory and evolution of that experience over time. The image below displays an overall view of the end user’s experience of the environment and the ability to monitor the evolution of those impacts over time. 

For more operational items that require an immediate response the alerting mechanism comes into play. Alerts are an active component that are triggered by events generally correlated with negative impact. Alert items roughly correlate with the end user experience score KPIs to help further IT administrators’ direction towards resolving problems. The image below demonstrates an environment with active alerts.
The key piece is correlating these items to that impact in a meaningful way. So, the big question is this: how do they work with one another?

One of the most common ways alerts and user experience scores are used in conjunction is through a feedback loop.  An administrator determines which KPI is causing the largest source of impact and continues to drill down providing a clear view of placed and potentially triggered correlating alerts. The alerts will direct the administrator towards the underlying causes of the problem and finally to the potential source of impact. After the resolution the administrator can track the increase in user experience as a result of their improvements to see how successful their changes have been.

End user experience scores provide an overall indicator of the quality end users are experiencing, while alerts provide immediate information on the source of impact. The integration of both tools provides an easy and clear way for IT administrators to discover the source of a system’s impact. To learn more on this topic check out our white paper, Utilizing KPIs and Alarm Methods!

VMware’s new cloud-based assessment service based on SysTrack

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It’s an exciting day here in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (not because Spring has come – that hasn’t happened yet). Today sees the culmination of many months of work and years of experience.

You may have noticed that today VMware announced a new cloud-based desktop assessment service called “SysTrack Desktop Assessment.” Many of you have long known us as “the assessment company” – but this offering takes our capabilities to a new level by removing the operational requirement of standing up a SysTrack server in your infrastructure, and putting it all in the cloud.

We believe continuous assessment is the most important component of ensuring EUC success – first, assessing the needs of your users in order to provide them with desktops and endpoints that keep them productive, and then ensuring that those desktops continue to meet their needs as operating systems are patched or upgraded, and applications are added or updated.

SysTrack end user computing assessment technology running on top of VMware vCloud® Air™ helps optimize VMware Horizon® installations, and continuous assessment keeps Horizon desktops running smoothly.

systrack_desktop_assessment_chartBetter Plan, Optimize and Deploy

Available directly from VMware, SysTrack Desktop Assessment is our free cloud-based assessment solution that enables customers and partners to capture detailed metrics and user behavior data from diverse and evolving environments. Built upon nearly two decades of end user computing assessment experience, this assessment tool provides you with a self-service platform to assess and quantify user, application and infrastructure requirements to better plan, optimize and deploy virtual desktops and applications. Our goal is to help you accelerate time to value and ensure that your environments are right-sized to best meet the requirements of your end users, and keep them productive.

Use Before Your Horizon Migration

Moving to virtual desktops and applications such as VMware Horizon lets our customers manage their desktops from a central location while allowing users to access applications from any location and any device. But developing a strategy for deciding what users fit where requires information driven insights that can be significantly challenging without the right tools for continuous user and system data collection. We want more people to be successful, so we made initial desktop assessment easy and free.

The SysTrack Desktop Assessment gathers baseline performance data to fully understand all end user computing requirements and help you determine which platform is best for your corporate environment and users: Desktop as a service (DaaS), a hybrid managed physical deployment, or on-premises desktops and applications. We’re already seeing approximately 20 new assessments kick off every day.

Dynamic Reporting and Metrics

The custom report you’ll receive will contain:

  • System level build and configuration reports
  • User behavior
  • Recommendations
    • Managed physical vs. virtual
    • Horizon product selection (on-Prem vs. Flex vs. Air)
    • Horizon Air Desktop (Standard vs. Advanced vs. Enterprise)

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It’s easy (and free).

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Visit the SysTrack Desktop Assessment launch page at assessment.vmware.com to learn more and get started with our solution – and keep coming back. In the coming months we’ll be adding additional features to help you gain visibility, understand deployment options, manage costs, and make better EUC decisions.

Creating a Data-Driven Workforce Model

In most companies workforce costs average about 70%. These costs are the single biggest expense of any company and companies have struggled, particularly in the economic environment of the last few years, to gain workforce efficiencies. Many of them have used the sledge hammer approach – hiring freezes, layoffs, company reorganizations – because they’ve lacked the visibility and the tools to effectively manage and optimize their workforces.

Companies have financial models, and models of key supply side and demand side processes, but what they have struggled with is creating credible workforce models. By aggregating SysTrack data with data from other workforce applications including HR, Finance, Operations and Business Unit data, we see the opportunity to create a data driven workforce model.

By undertaking this effort, we believe companies can systematically assess and gain visibility to workforce patterns and insights. We see this as a game-changing opportunity to solve workforce problems that have remained allusive due to a lack of complete worker information, as well as an opportunity to better align company strategy with workforce plans. The immediate results would be better decisions, improved productivity, reduced cost, and a more competitive company. We further believe the costs of integrating the data and doing the analysis will pale in comparison to the benefits gained.

Here is just a sampling of the questions that could be addressed by this effort:

Demographics

  • What is my mix of full time, part time, temporary and contract workers?
  • Where are my workers located?
  • How mobile are my workers?

User Experience

  • What is the user experience of my employees, contractors, temporary workers?
  • Which employees are most impacted by user experience issues? How does their user experience compare to those of the most productive workers?
  • How are my workers using the web? Which web applications are most used?

Roles

  • What are my most critical job roles?
  • Who are my innovators, knowledge workers, mobile workers, process workers, and executives?
  • What distinguishes their work?
  • How do employee work styles compare to their formal roles?
  • Do we have role duplication?

Competencies

  • What are the competencies of each of my employees and where are those employees located?
  • Do we have the right competencies in the right place?

Productivity

  • Who are my “known” most productive workers, (i.e. workers whose work and output maps to their role)?
  • What are the work patterns of my most productive workers? How long do they work? Where do they work from? What applications do they use – from where and when?
  • Based on those patterns, who are my “unknown” most productive workers (i.e. workers whose work and output exceed their roles)?
  • How productive are my workers based on type of site?
  • From an IT perspective (h/w, s/w, network, apps) how are my most productive workers equipped versus my least productive workers?

Collaboration and Communication Flow

  • What collaboration devices and applications are productive teams using? How are my workers using email, messaging, Unified Communications, the portal(s), project management, document management, video conferencing, web conferencing, calendaring and other collaboration tools?
  • What collaboration devices and applications are my most productive teams equipped with versus my least productive teams?
  • How and when do they use they tools?

Compliance, Risk Management, Security

  • How does knowing who my employees are, how they work and where they work impact existing business continuity plans and what needs to be changed?
  • What security issues exist within my worker environment?
  • What external applications are my workers using?

Workplace

  • How do flexible hours and alternative work places affect hiring and retention of employees?
  • Based on work styles which workers could productively work from home and how would that impact my existing real estate costs?
  • How much power and energy does my workforce consume and what are my savings opportunities?

Furthermore, we believe there is a game-changing opportunity to use SysTrack, in combination with other databases, to build a data-driven workforce model resulting in significant competitive advantage for the enterprise.

Check out our new white paper and learn how a CIO can escape the “80/20 trap” by freeing up funding heretofore locked within the run budget and use the freed up funding to not only innovate within his/her own organization but also foster innovation across the enterprise.

SysTrack 7: enhanced visualizations, greater customization, more data, more analytics, more real-time visibility

I’m excited about Lakeside’s announcement today of the release of the latest major version of its SysTrack product: SysTrack 7.

SysTrack 7 represents a significant advancement in the creation and utilization of Big Data to enhance end user computing, and a major milestone in the evolution of SysTrack.  In its essence, SysTrack provides IT with the data they need to better visualize their workforce environment and deliver operational excellence.  SysTrack 7 is easier to use, web-based, highly customizable, much more visual, and provides significant new real time capabilities.

For example, you can create a custom dashboard that you publish through your enterprise portal where an executive could, in a glance, see the real time health of the enterprise’s end user environment. SysTrack 7’s dashboards can also integrate data from non-SysTrack sources. Through its distributed data architecture, SysTrack scales to hundreds of thousands of monitored systems in a single deployment across the entire spectrum of physical and virtual desktops and servers. 

SysTrack allows IT leaders and business owners to gain deep insights into their workforce, pinpoint application and system issues in real time, and accurately scale and size virtualized environments based on actually observed user behavior.  Because today’s knowledge workers are interacting with a compute environment almost 100% of their working time, SysTrack’s data allows forward thinking organizations to gain insights into their workforce’s needs and behaviors, allowing you to solve previously unsolvable workforce problems. SysTrack 7 will allow you to make better decisions whether they are planning decisions, project execution decisions, or decisions around managing your day to day operational environment.

In short, Version 7 extends SysTrack capabilities along multiple dimensions – dashboard customization, data visualization and reporting, root cause analysis, virtual infrastructure monitoring, and more:

  • Dynamic Content Construction – A new dashboard web application provides a dynamic method to construct customized views of any data in SysTrack.
  • Real-Time Graphing – Real-time reporting capabilities have been extended to allow for more advanced data presentation for individual endpoints, groups of systems, and across the enterprise.
  • SSRS Integration – Advanced reporting leverages Microsoft(R) SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to provide detailed software inventory analysis, system configuration, virtual infrastructure, and other important environmental information.
  • Comparative Analysis – A new comparative analysis engine provides quick comparison of an individual system to sets of other systems in the enterprise for most key performance metrics.
  • Real-Time Application and Health Reporting – A new, extremely efficient process feeds real-time application and health data from a child system to the master system.
  • Host Performance Analysis – A new tool – SysTrack vScape – specifically for monitoring virtual infrastructure and identifying sources of environmental issues allows for partitioning health into a guest operating system view and an infrastructure view.
  • Host Reporting Dataset – A new dataset provides a wealth of information about the virtual infrastructure; summarizing the topology with datacenter and virtual machine manager references as well as detailing the host configurations and utilization, this dataset provides an at-a-glance reference to identify infrastructure components and oversubscription.

Check out Lakeside’s new white paper “New Features in the SysTrack 7.0 End-User Analytics Platform” to learn more about these and other new capabilities in SysTrack 7.