The Business Imperatives Behind Quality of Experience (QoE)

As far as solutions go there are many different types. Services such as Gomez and Keynote have helped to make QoE (or User Experience Management) more and more of a household name. But there are many solution providers ranging from broad applications management platforms such as Compuware and Quest, to more Web-centric solutions such as OpTier or Coradiant. Then there are those actively supporting Web2 and SOA such as Symphoniq, to networking solutions such as NetQoS, NetScout, OPNET, and Mazu. Those focused on end-user productivity include Knoa. These are just a few examples. The list is far from complete. The major management platforms also have capabilities for QoE. EMA has a solution center available to help you select QoE products

When we asked our respondents what they would have done differently in their QoE initiatives, they underscored the growing importance of QoE by singling out “starting sooner” as their No.1 choice. Second and third were “better coordination between IT and the business,” and “better coordination across groups within IT.” Paying more attention to processes and best practices came in fourth. I think these are not only good descriptive “lessons learned” but worth keeping in mind for you CIOs who, in 2009, need to optimize IT performance and show business value in measurable and meaningful ways.

Where to Start

There are a lot of ways to begin a QoE initiative, if you haven’t already. Start by targeting one or two critical business applications. Make sure that you reach that decision not in a vacuum, but in dialog with relevant line of business exec’s. Make it a joint effort from the start. Or, you may find (and this is often the case), that they are doing the driving. This is a less optimal way to begin, but believe it or not it’s the most common. After all, QoE is about furthering business values through IT services.

You may wish to create a “User Experience Management” team appropriately aligned to the task at hand. Quite often this includes application developers, especially if in-house-developed Web or custom vertical applications are where you need to begin first. But be sure to include the right mix of applications and infrastructure management skills to support a multi-dimensional view of QoE. In some cases, VoIP or even media and video conferencing require their own QoE groups.

If you can make QoE one of your executive priorities in 2009—focused on one or just a handful of business-critical applications—you’ll not only improve your business alignment, but in have a measurable and compelling way for deciding where you can optimize and cut costs.

Dennis Drogseth is vice president of Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates (, an industry research firm focused on IT management. Dennis can reached at [email protected]