By Dick Stark
You’re making a purchase over the web and experience a significant delay…
Should you stick it out or go to a competitor’s website?
That is the question that BMC’s End User Experience Management (EUEM) guarantees that your customers won’t have to ask.
On Wednesday, RightStar hosted a webinar with BMC and Northwestern University. The topic: EUEM, an application performance management offering from BMC. When I asked Dana Nielson, Director, Monitoring and Management Systems, Northwestern, to describe the value EUEM provided, he stated that no other solution that he has purchased has ever seen such a rapid return on investment as EUEM.
This was refreshing news as RightStar is accustomed to working with service management customers that tend to view their service desks as cost centers, and ITIL consulting and service management tool implementations as unavoidable evils. (In reality, a well-managed service desk with fine-tuned processes can offer considerable value over a less mature service desk with outdated toolsets and processes.) What caused Northwestern University to rate EUEM so highly? Dana explained that the need for improved performance was the main factor driving EUEM adoption.
- Like most large academic institutions, Northwestern’s IT Department supports many university wide web based applications on servers hosted in university datacenters. Indeed, Northwestern has three primary mission critical applications: HRIS, Student billing and enrollment, and Course Management (Blackboard). These applications require 99% uptime, especially during peak periods such as student enrollment.
- Blackboard has quickly evolved into a more mission critical application. Students and professors rely on Blackboard for scheduling homework assignments, and paper submissions. Blackboard “must” always be available.
- Northwestern’s other performance management tools didn’t provide any information from the end-user or student perspective. A network, application or database error, for example, doesn’t always correlate with a bad user experience.
At Northwestern, the selection process included a proof of concept, and Northwestern was able to install EUEM in a matter of days. Today, benefits include real-time access to web applications and University access to performance and availability data. Additionally, EUEM provides a better means of watching BlackBoard. EUEM helps Northwestern predict usage over the quarter, day to day, and hour to hour, and helps see current problems and usage. There are drill down capabilities that provide performance data (how often users can view the website quickly (eight seconds or faster) or availability (how often the user can view the website without any errors). Dana can drill down to look at specific errors such as “content not found,” “client timed out in mid-request,” and “network retransmission.”
Dana summed things up this way: “Instead of relying on anecdotal information, we have a baseline for an intelligent conversation about performance. Having a true measurement of what’s happened has increased our credibility. We can show that our systems are up 99 percent of the time. All of that has been tremendously helpful.”