A lack of visibility in IT leads to very poor decision-making in the enterprise. Time for a change

Enterprises have got a problem. “They’ve got next to no visibility of what’s going on,” says Mark Boggia, director global pre-sales and partner learning and development at Nexthink. “They really do not understand what their users are doing. They don’t understand what their users are thinking about IT, they don’t know what they’re using and they don’t know what they think about it.”

A lack of visibility: information and users

Siloed data, multiple levels of IT and an uninformed c-suite contribute to a lack of visibility in the enterprise. This lack of visibility manifests itself into very poor decision-making.

Simply, businesses can’t clearly manage what they don’t know or can’t measure.

Shadow IT plays a role in this confusion, especially around compliance. But, this lack of visibility surrounding information and how people make decisions manifests itself in lots of other areas that are present a challenge to the business.

According to Tech Target: ‘Shadow IT is hardware or software within an enterprise that is not supported by the organisation’s central IT department. Although the label itself is neutral, the term often carries a negative connotation because it implies that the IT department has not approved the technology or doesn’t even know that employees are using it.’

From a compliance standpoint, organisation risk will increase if employees are accessing information that is not supported by central IT. “I think everybody understands that and everybody wants to try and control that,” says Boggia.

The wider challenge surrounds digital transformation. Digital transformation sounds great on paper, everybody is wanting to do it, but the challenge is that managing and delivering that innovation is incredibly disruptive. And it’s almost disruptive to the point that it’s actually increasing risk for the customer.

An example you say? Boggia refers to one of Nexthink’s clients who embarked on a digital transformation project; they refreshed their desktop estate. When they went through that process, it created such a disruption and storm inside their environment. “What actually happened,” says Boggia, “was they outsourced their service desk to a third party provider on a per ticket basis, and they were going to run out of money. It was that expensive. And it was all because they didn’t have information visibility as to what was really going on, so they couldn’t course correct quickly.”

It’s not just information about technology and how it’s performing that’s the challenge; it’s also about what users are thinking. The ability to give insight as to what people really think about what’s going on and garnering user sentiment is of vital importance — a satisfied workforce can make the difference.

“It’s all encompassing,” says Boggia, “an overall visibility gap and a poverty of information lends itself to a lot of poor decision-making. That’s really where we see a big, big challenge.”

Mark Boggia believes it's all about the employee, and gaining visibility into their pain points.
Mark Boggia believes it’s all about the employee, and gaining visibility into their pain points.

Measuring the wrong things

Typically, organisations will have an inventory, which tells them what assets they have in place. They can consolidate this asset inventory and understand what the book value of the company is, for example.

Generally, organisations have got good asset tracking solutions in place.

What they traditionally don’t have are ways of measuring what is actually going on. Usually, these businesses don’t have mechanisms in place to; monitor the experience of the end user, solicit feedback from the end user about how things are going on or understand specifically what that end user is doing and what they’re actually consuming.

Organisations are prioritising measuring their financial assets, rather than focusing on metrics that can help improve the end user’s experience.

This is where the challenge arises, “because they’re measuring the wrong things,” suggests Boggia. “They’re typically measuring the IT that they’ve provisioned them with rather than the service that they’re offering.”

Four steps to developing successful digital workplace transformation

There are several best practices that business leaders can keep in mind to ease their digital workplace transformation, says David Maffei, from Akumina. Read here

Employee experience

Employee experience should be tied to an organisation’s business goals. Most chairman or chief executive reports will now include an employee engagement index. This index is linked to lots of things around staff motivation and the ability to get things done, but it’s also about productivity and capacity — in other words, how productive are the employees.

“The employee experience we’re seeing at the moment is so bad. In some cases it’s estimated that 22 minutes is lost per employee per day because of their inability to get things done, because IT is in the way.

“And typically IT have no view of that being a problem, because they’ve got no way of measuring the employee experience.”

Sounds maddening!

So, the c-suite conversation should surround; what is the capacity of the organisation to get work done; how is the productivity being impacted by what we’re doing in terms of the innovation that we’re driving; what insight do we have; what actions and insight do we have about where that is and how we can resolve those situations?

Visibility: The formula for success in financial services

Ron Lifton, senior enterprise solutions manager at NETSCOUT discusses the importance of DevSecOps and continuous monitoring in digitally transforming the financial services sector. Read here

The solution?

Producing a digital experience score.

This score is built out of a collection from a number of metrics, including business applications and physical devices, for example.

“It’s almost like balance score card,” says Boggia. “It allows you to calibrate up the components of IT that contribute towards having a good or a poor experience, telling you where those hotspots are and therefore giving you levers in IT so you know that you can impact the business in a much more meaningful way by making the intervention in a hotspot that we’ve [Nexthink] identified for you.

“It could be something as simple as in the distribution centres, it takes people ten minutes to log on every morning. And that’s impacting your business in this way. We understand why that’s occurring. If we can reduce that to two minutes, that improves productivity and overall user satisfaction.

“It’s about getting people into the flow of work and making them productive.”

How can this be achieved?

Well, it surrounds providing irrefutable evidence about what’s really going on. To do this, organisations need to collect enough user experience metrics, while presenting them in a consumable and easily adaptable way. It’s about presenting the truth that can help drive change.

Case and point


“A really good example would be a healthcare provider that we collaborated with. They were going through a digital transformation. Part of their challenge was that they needed to understand which devices in their estate were fit for purpose versus those that weren’t.

“Traditionally people would go well, it’s finance-led, so every five years we just give you a new one. Is that the right thing to do? No.

“We augmented that discussion by saying here are the people in the organisation whose machines are performing the worst, based on the metrics. And, here are the machines that are performing really well.

“You can then have a much smarter discussion about where you’re actually spending money based on proper insight around where things are or aren’t performing.

“That organisation saw was a $1 million saving, because they made a smarter decision around how they were going to provision IT. It wasn’t based on a finance rule, but on what the users were actually experiencing.”

Desktop-as-a-Service in action: IGEL customer case studies

Information Age attended IGEL’s DISRUPT conference in Munich, were we learned about desktop-as-a-service and the future of end user computing. Read here

Customer view

“We had inconsistencies across our real estate which created a much wider problem, where what should have taken IT five minutes to resolve took hours,” says Daniel Darnbrough, IT manager, SEGA HARDlight.

“We didn’t know what software was running across the network. As a result, we were over licensed, and had an exceedingly large amount of executions taking place at the same time. This led to application and server slowness, and to our users experiencing login delays. Nexthink was the only tool that was able to give us the insight and visualisations we needed to reduce first line support issues and to proactively resolve them before they become apparent to our users.” Darnbrough added: “With Nexthink, it’s ‘game over’ for ghost IT. Now, rather than keeping issues to themselves, users will come to us to us for help. We now have the ability to detect slowness in a system and to provide a solution, be it through the need for new hardware, or through resolving the root cause of a software issue. We are now able to provide the best possible support for our studio, and IT has now become key to ensuring users have an enjoyable experience.”

Søren Wagner, IT architect, Topdanmark A/S, commented: “Our main goal at Topdanmark A/S is to help our customers take care of their insurance and pensions. To make this a reality, the IT organisation’s primary concern is ensuring employees have a top-notch digital experience. Prior to adopting Nexthink, a browser crash forced us to rethink our digital experience strategy. We realised that we should focus on monitoring the end-user experience for improved outcomes.” Wagner added: “Nexthink has changed the way we work as we are now able to leverage real-time data from its comprehensive dashboards early on in our conversations with the business. This has resulted in better service provisioning, as well as improved decision-making which is now based on facts instead of subjective input.”

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

Related Topics

Shadow IT