How to Make User Experience Count

by Dennis Drogseth, vice president, Enterprise Management Associates

We live in an industry that seems to be governed by acronyms, which, though often confusing, represent terms and ideas which are themselves confusing and often misleading. Trying to clean up the mess would probably be only a tad easier than publicly legitimizing every CIA action since the beginning of the Cold War.

Using UEM to align IT

User experience management (UEM) (or end user experience (EUE) or real user management (RUM)) is a case in point. As the next-generation acronym to replace quality of experience (QoE) that reflects what goes on when real flesh-and-blood IT consumers are taken into account, it is also central to what I would call the “humanization of IT”– a richer and in my opinion more complete vision than the one captured in the phrase the “consumerization of IT.”

I would argue that UEM holds the potential to be the single most powerful lightning rod in aligning IT to business objectives once it’s understood in its full context. UEM is also becoming a guiding light in assimilating the benefits of cloud computing — including public and private cloud manifestations.

So the first thing I have to say is when you’re approach an investment in a UEM strategy, don’t fall prey to the erroneous idea that it’s merely a subset of application performance management (APM), which is itself a subset of business service management (BSM). This is a destructive and rather pointless misconstruction of the facts and puts a drastic straight jacket around an interrelated set of disciplines that, collectively, may hold more potential to transform IT into an extroverted value-aware organization than any other.

Okay, so what am I talking about when I talk about UEM?

Consider the following:

  • Monitor and optimize the effective delivery of business services to their end consumers in terms of performance and security concerns (latency, transactional efficiency);
  • Monitor and optimize the effective design and content of business services for their end consumers (navigation, relevance);
  • Monitor and optimize end user interaction with business services including the efficiency with which the service is utilized in support of business processes (for training, compliance and help desk support);
  • Monitor the frequency and other usage patterns with which users (by type or group) leverage IT- delivered business services ; and
  • Monitor and optimize the business outcomes of IT-delivered business services based on user interactions .

These may seem like quite a lot of things to bundle in one idea or acronym, but they’re all fundamentally related. The answer as to “Why?” goes back to the idea that the core value of any IT service — from SAP and Exchange to VoIP or HR self service — is to extend the range and capabilities of the human consumer in support of business-relevant objectives.

And who is that consumer? That can be as important to take into account as the network, system and application architectures underneath your service. I’ll take just three examples.

For the first, let’s picture a secretary who, suffering from irrational demands, chain smokes in response. In this case, she’s a college grad stuck in an interim job who, just to stay sane, needs simple, speedy, efficient and consistent access to the IT services that she depends on every minute of every working day. Latencies not only damage her output they may also damage her health and her emotional well being.

Next let’s imagine her cousin. She’s a super star in developing a global real estate consortium that depends on IT services to navigate properties, give tours of houses, and provide fast and efficient search capabilities to match prospective buyer requests with selected properties. Her needs as an IT consumer are far more complex, and likely to be more likely to change in a shorter period of time. She will want all the efficiencies of her cousin but orders of magnitude more access to information with far less predictable habits.

Now let’s picture a third figure: a network administrator faced with a hodge podge of point tools and “suites” or “platform tools” that promise the world but never seem to work. The very tools that claim to make his life simpler are doing just the opposite. And moreover, he’s expected to make changes in the way he works based on edicts from on high; all without anyone really taking the time to explain why or what’s in it for him.