Does Your MNS Provider Improve Your End-User Experience?
Does your MNS Provider Improve Your End-User Experience?
Managed network services (MNS) are networking applications, functions, and services outsourced by enterprises. They are remotely operated, monitored, and maintained by a managed service provider (MSP). According to Gartner, the MSP delivers the operational support to monitor and manage the infrastructure that provides the business services that your enterprise users and your end-customers depend on.
What is End-User Experience?
And there lies the crux of the matter. The satisfaction of your customers (known as CSAT), what they experience as customers (the customer experience, or CX), or users (the user experience, or UX) depends primarily on the ability of your MSP to deliver a superior service. For both, the goal is to derive the benefits of increased service assurance and network uptime.
So, what are some of the challenges the MNS provider faces to improve end-user experience? Let’s examine it from a couple of angles. First, let’s look at the infrastructure estate under the management of the MNS provider.
The infrastructure estate is the IT infrastructure that supports the delivery of services to your customers and users. It follows that its composition and operation are of paramount importance when it comes to maintaining and managing it. This directly affects CX and UX, not to mention the implications to the overall business when affected by degraded performance or outages.
It’s fair to say that your infrastructure probably includes a blend of legacy and new tech – and is likely hosted in a hybrid environment with some elements on-site and others on the cloud. The key challenge for the MNS provider then becomes monitoring all of your assets equally.
For example, there may be services that are migrating to the cloud and these need to be monitored just as efficiently as when they were hosted in-house. Giving up control of the backend of a function moved to the cloud means that you now have to level-up on the ability to monitor the operational performance from the end-user’s perspective.
While there are subtle differences between CX and UX, your infrastructure performance impacts the experience that people have when interacting with your business and services.
End-user perspective matters. For example, one community of users may have different experiences using the same service as another community. A sales team located in a remote location may have a completely different experience than a team that is located on-premises. But such insights are difficult to glean without having a mechanism to articulate the experience.
Key MNS Provider Capabilities
With these challenges in mind, let’s look at the capabilities your MNS provider should offer to improve your end-users’ experience.
- Infrastructure Monitoring. To address gaps in oversight, your provider should be capable of infrastructure monitoring that goes beyond the basics and provides a level of insight into all aspects of the service delivery chain. That means monitoring assets equally, whether they are on-premises, cloud-based, or a blend of the two.
- Business Intelligence. It’s essential that the monitoring platform provides some level of business intelligence to sift through the avalanche of incoming data, allowing IT operations teams to highlight information that matters. This enables them to prioritize remediation actions according to the business service level impact of each component in the infrastructure.
- Dependency Models. The service provider needs to go deeper than simple parent-child relationships between services and the infrastructure elements. A dependency model is required that takes into account resiliency and single points of failure to understand the true state of the service and the technology delivering it. In other words, some form of business impact modeling.
If your goal is to improve end-user experience, you need to articulate it in a measurable manner to ascertain how it is affecting the CX and UX. One way MNS providers do this is through synthetic monitoring. This is done by embedding lightweight synthetic transaction processors in a distributed fashion across the user community.
With these additional perspectives, it becomes possible to simulate the user experience from a particular corner of the campus, remote location, or type of location, i.e. sales vs. back office. Synthetic processors provide metrics to measure the user experience and performance of the services these communities of users leverage.When this is done on an ongoing basis, and enriched with path analysis and transaction scores, the result is the ability to spot subtle trends in usage patterns that can point to areas of the network that are underperforming. By extension, this could lead to proactive monitoring and remediation before an outage or degradation occurs. After all, availability is the bedrock on which end-user experience and CSAT rest.