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Unmasking and Mitigating Five Top End User Computing Challenges

January 11, 2024 No Comments

By Joel Stocker, director of product marketing, ControlUp

The COVID-19 global pandemic forced us to adjust various aspects of our lives, including how we worked and where we did our jobs. Millions of people across the globe began working remotely. Since then, however, we have moved into a new phase in which many are being called back to the office to work. To accommodate this shift, companies are providing hybrid work options, where some employees are given a choice of working a select number of days remotely. This shift clearly demonstrates that the “work-from-anywhere” trend persists in many forms.

To support remote workers, organizations have developed virtual applications and desktops, including VDI and DaaS. These solutions provide enhanced agility, flexibility, and control, but organizations still struggle to create an employee experience that exceeds the office experience. This begs the question, “What are the most challenging problems in supporting remote workers?” A recent survey of over 450 end-user computing administrators attempted to identify the top challenges and the best way to mitigate these problems. This article will explore the top five challenges identified as part of the survey.

Challenge #1: Long Logon Durations

The problem cited most frequently by IT administrators supporting VDI and DaaS applications is addressing slow logon durations. Often, users believe excessive logons are normal. Some think lengthy logon duration is a bandwidth issue, while most will think it’s because they are using outdated and lackluster technology. In order to identify the real problem, administrators should consider the following questions:

– What factors affect the logon duration (e.g. logon script, profile, group policy)?

– How can logons be made faster?

– How does my environment compare to others?

Once these questions are answered, administrators can then look for solutions to help address the problem directly. For example, administrators that have access to detailed logon information can get a better sense of the entire logon process and pinpoint the root causes of the logon slow-downs. Once the root cause is identified, administrators can make the necessary adjustments to reduce logon times. In addition, historical reporting allows administrators to see how logons improve over time.

Challenge #2: Application Performance

Businesses run on applications. That’s why these applications must be available. Whether they are installed locally or are delivered through virtualization or as SaaS, user productivity is of utmost importance. Some questions administrators should consider regarding this problem include the following:

– Are my applications available when my users need them?

– Are my applications loading fast enough to meet business needs?

– Are my applications running fast enough to increase my productivity?

The best way for administrators to deal with this challenge is with application specific metrics, including application load time, performance, and user experience metrics. It’s also important to observe the availability of the application performance. Once administrators observe the performance and availability of an application, they can quickly fix issues with recommended remediation actions. In many cases, with the right tools, administrators can know when an application has a problem before their users open a support ticket.

Challenge #3: Home Networking

Supporting a work-from-anywhere environment poses challenges unique to each user. Some have access to a robust internet service, but experience issues because many people share the same connection. Conversely, some homes have poor internet speeds and a sophisticated high-speed Wi-Fi mesh. Some questions to consider are:

– Are there performance issues with the user’s home Wi-Fi?

– Are there ISP bandwidth or connectivity issues?

Administrators can expose home networking issues by monitoring the network from the physical endpoint. Some solutions monitor the end-to-end user digital experience no matter what device is used or how it is connected. For example, by capturing NIC speed, Wi-Fi signal strength and LAN latency, administrators can calculate total session latency. From there, they can determine whether a home user needs to move closer to their Wi-Fi router, upgrade their ISP bandwidth, or something else altogether.

Challenge #4: Unified Communications

SaaS applications, such as Slack, Teams, and Zoom can be the closest thing a remote worker has to interact with their teams. They are a virtual part of the employee experience. When those applications have problems, the user can be left feeling out of the loop. Some questions for administrators to answer are:

– Are my Unified Communications (UC) SaaS-based services available?

– Are my virtualization platforms optimized for UC?

Administrators should proactively test UC applications to ensure they run efficiently to deliver the best possible digital experience. For example, synthetic testing ensures UC applications are running as expected and will send proactive alerts when the services are unavailable. They should also confirm the desktop has the correct version of the UC application.

Challenge #5: Slow Virtual Sessions

When VDI and DaaS applications run slow, users get frustrated, and productivity slows down. Detecting and troubleshooting a slow virtual session can be an even greater hindrance. Some questions to consider are:

– Are my virtual neighbors hogging resources?

– Are my hosts or clients misconfigured?

– Are logon scripts and group policies slowing down my session?

Administrators need to determine an overall stress level of a user’s digital experience and drill down into the process level to see exactly what is affecting it. In some cases, machine learning-based virtual assistants can help find the root causes of problems and provide a recommended action to quickly fix it. All this happens on the backend so that a user’s digital experience is problem-free.

Work-from-home and hybrid worker trends are here to stay. The best way for organizations to deal with them is to solve the topmost reported problems when supporting remote workers that are specific to their organization. This article took a look at some of the top challenges and potential solutions, but there are surely more, and every organization should work towards identifying which challenges affect them the most. Once they identify the main problems, they can put the proper practices and solutions in place to ensure their users stay happy and productive regardless of where they do their jobs. In the end, keeping workers happy and productive is what working remotely is all about.

Joel Stocker is a technologist’s technologist. Director of product marketing for ControlUp, he is an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in End-User Computing (EUC) who has also held numerous technical field sales and product roles at Citrix. Never one to settle, Stocker always seeks to unlock the super powers of ControlUp technology to help customers and partners improve their EUC infrastructure and deliver stellar end-user experiences.

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