This is the first blog post of a series into the Liquidware products after joining the Liquidware Tech Insiders program and have Liquidware be a blog partner. A little disclaimer though, opinion(s) expressed on this blog are mine.
I want to take you on a walkthrough for one of the critical components of a digital workspace, User Experience. In this series I will discuss the why’s and whats (this part), and the how Liquidware Stratusphere UX can be of great help by showing you how the product works and how to look for influences on UX versus the configuration and security of the digital workspace, and to measure this (the following parts). Now let’s start with some basic define the definition.
Why and what is that User eXperience (UX)?
UX, or better User eXperience, is the most important part for the success factor of a digital workspace environment. And to make things more complicated, the biggest part is managing human perception and expectations. If there is a penalty that worsens UX experience when not expected, its pick-axes, torches and you got a revolt at your hands. Farewell productivity. End-users expect the same user experience than that of working directly on the high-end device (like the ones they buy for personal use), the one-to-one mapping or fast interaction and performance. Digital workspace UX from the user perspective is very simple, the end users need their digital workspace and applications look super duper awesome and respond in warp speed fashion while offering the highest hyper full-very high-K definition quality for graphics and audio…period. For businesses that brings some complications. Mostly the offset between needed investments for that superduper digital workspace and available budget. And something to make this measurable, so a) we know the KPI business can steer to/upon and B) know where possible bottlenecks occur or will occur in the near future. And maybe C) to prove that there is nothing wrong and running within parameters, but this is again a lot in managing human perception.
When hosting applications and desktops from a digital workspace (public, hybrid or privately hosted) there are a ton of metrics to take into account that can be measured for improving or decreasing UX, and in result adoption of your digital workspace platform. And there is no special metric called UX, its a ‘few’ combined. Part of the UX also comes from external sources, such as application backends, where we can only setup service levels according to our requirements. But how do you get those much-needed UX insights before having to deal with disgruntled end-users and lessening productivity?
Above is a little summary Tl;dr of my previous post about UX insights a way back in blog time, however still relevant. My definition and toolbox bit can be found here: https://www.pascalswereld.nl/2017/02/15/euc-layers-user-experience-calling-insights-is-anybody-home/. The importance of insights in the assessment, design and validation phases is very important. Was, still is and will be for quite some time. Operational insights should be added to that blog posts list as well.
When you are a returning reader to this blog you would have noticed by now that my poison of choice is the VMware EUC stack. If we look at the VMware EUC stack there is a monitoring product, vRealize Operations for Horizon aka vROPS for Horizon or V4H for short. This is a great monitoring solution for getting that needed insights for the infrastructure components that make up the EUC stack. It gets better and better with each iteration. And vROPS perfectly fit the virtual infrastructure administrator needs. However to monitor specifically UX you should have more insights into the desktop and user behavior. And in contrast to what some marketing slides and blogs would like to let you believe, V4H is currently lacking good information for most of those insights and thus correlating infrastructure to user behavior. So on to one of the other tools out there, and one that can reach the set mark. Liquidware’s Stratusphere UX. Let us assess this product a little further.
Assess the insights
Mining for insights, or gathering, KPI data takes time and therefore a chunk of project time, operational time and budget before results are in place. Unfortunately, with a lot of organizations, it is either unclear what these insights will bring and a permanent solution is not in place. Yes, there are sometimes point-in-time software and application reports that can be made from centralized monitoring solutions, but these often miss the correlation of that data to what is happening in the digital workspace and specifically what the user is actually doing or experiencing there. Secondly knowing what to look for in the mined data to answer the business questions is far from known. What will be the informational need and are there any specific objectives for the business they would like to see? If you don’t know what you are looking for, the amount of data these tools gather will be overwhelming and it will be hard to get some reports out. This the main thing we see in the field when customers have implemented vROPS. It is just too overwhelming, without anyone getting priority to do something with the product. Let us look for some products that can help here. Liquidware has the Stratusphere products.
Proving those tradeoffs in calculations, optimization and security
What will influence the UX? Get the assessment phase results and use these for the desired state architecture. And of course, the health of the environment as most digital workspace environment is deployed in a semi-brownfield infrastructure. Here most monitoring solutions will get you insights on the infrastructure state of the environment. And probably will give you some heads up on occasions. With the Liquidware Stratusphere products customers have the ability to look further in the desktop and user sessions, and specifically, use at:
- Assessment and capacity planning with FIT,
- Monitor, Diagnose and Service level assurance with UX.
Let’s take a look in how Liquidware Stratusphere UX provides this
Stratusphere UX uses a VDI UX Profile that the product uses to score those elements that have an effect on user perception of the digital workspace environment. The elements are combined in industry best practices and other metrics that influence UX depending on the requirements of the organization (application, login delay etc.). And important for you, this VDI UX Profile score can be customized to define where good versus fair and fair versus poor and define other weightings that best suit your organization requirements.
Both groups of indicators are those that will certainly be noticeable to the end-user. If you know the application landscape or your human’s behavior somewhat, you could optimize the weights some more to your own specifications. If not leave it at the defaults.
The result is presented in a score that is reported and trended throughout the product. This score, or UX profile, will be used to alert and prioritize user sessions (aka desktops or applications) that will require attention. Use Stratusphere UX for performance monitoring, help desk, platform design and optimization, security influences and in many other areas of digital workspace management.
Now that you have the required insight and ways to check required KPI’s, you will now have to have a power tool to a) help you in reaching the service levels and report about them, for example, b) help you and the powers that be decide on for optimization settings by proving their impact on UX and c) help you and the powers that be device on security and their impact on UX. In the next part, I will go a little deeper into the how by describing the required Liquidware Stratusphere UX architecture and take the product for a spin.
– Enjoy getting insights out there!