In today's enterprise landscape, user experience (UX) and business performance go hand-in-hand. In order for a company to succeed, enterprises need all employees to enjoy the best quality of experience (QoE) possible on all business-critical applications and unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools.
UCC solutions include instant messaging, voice, video, screen sharing and file sharing tools that empower people to collaborate across the globe in near real time. This, in turn, helps organizations to limit spending on traveling and roaming.
Behind these UCC services are a myriad of technologies, devices and gateways. Because of this, when UCCs are implemented, a number of heterogeneous and dynamic flows impact long and short distance WAN performance. This can compromise other business-critical applications.
For example, Skype for Business uses 300 Kbps to 1Mbps per user, which is several times the average bandwidth provisioned on a typical WAN, which is usually 50 Kbps to 100 Kbps per employee. At the same time, some PowerPoint, Word, Excel, CAD or video documents can attain several tens or hundreds of Mbytes. As a result, in highly collaborative environments, we find concurrent flows competing for the scarce, long-distance bandwidth, which ultimately exarcerbates congestion in the WAN.
This phenomenon especially impacts UX of UCC applications and other business applications, which consequently slows productivity. To palliate this situation and prioritize other critical applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, many businesses restrict UCC services by blocking features like file sharing and video flows. This impacts the richness of media-sharing collaboration and UX on UCCs like Skype for Business, which ultimately hinders remote collaboration.
First align application performance with your business objectives
To improve UCC application UX, businesses should focus on application responsiveness by aligning the business priority with the network performance. UCC flows need to be steered with operators keeping the most important performance parameters top-of-mind.
These include guaranteeing the bandwidth of each individual video and file flow, protecting voice calls from jitter and enforcing low delay for instantaneous messages. The result is high network elasticity for making video, file sharing and instant messaging very fluid and audio calls clearer without affecting the performance of other critical flows.
Aligning application performance with business objectives requires that enterprises implement technology that:
- Enables very granular visibility and control of all application flows
- Matches flow business-criticality with real-time WAN conditions
- Streamlines traffic management
Accomplishing the above requirements is very challenging in complex and large networks where the UCC systems interact with multiple applications and network architectures that are continuously evolving. Only a system that naturally maps global performance objectives per application can reduce this complexity. Ultimately enterprises are urged to implement successful collaborative platforms and maximize the UX of UCCs across worldwide networks, all while maintaining the same QoE expected for traffic that only crisscrosses a local office.
To learn more about managing dynamic hybrid WAN access points, read our recently published whitepaper, “Guarantee Application Performance over Hybrid WAN.”