The market for network monitoring tools will “escalate at a rapid scale” over the next five years as companies search for ways to improve the consumer experience while simultaneously addressing internal performance issues.

The problem? With viable vendors and solutions on the rise many businesses are faced with fragmented IT monitoring deployments, making it difficult to obtain both the high-level and granular views necessary to derive actionable insight. According to research firm Gartner, “teams often struggle with multiple uncoordinated dashboards that fail to optimally aid proactive monitoring and root cause analysis.” How do businesses build a better monitoring mousetrap?

Solving for “How”

Designing better dashboards means recognizing where current systems miss the mark. For example, many IT pros report the need for “swivel-chair” monitoring, which forces them to enter data into one system and then quickly “swivel” to enter the same data into another application. Meanwhile, the explosion of available tools has many departmental silos overwhelmed (and under-staffed) – and since these tools fail to deliver comprehensive views or favor fine-grained detail over intuitive workflow and navigation it’s no surprise that C-suite members and admins often fall prey to the “blame game”, pointing fingers at each other instead of the real problem: Poorly-built dashboards.

Gartner argues that effective performance dashboards must combine application performance monitoring (APM), network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD), IT infrastructure monitoring (ITIM), artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) and digital experience monitoring. Ideally, this takes the form of a five-level dashboard hierarchy which includes a top-level dashboard, triage board, dependency mapping tools, infrastructure drill-down and access to raw data.

Put simply? The first step to a better dashboard is recognizing that “how” needs to change – piecemeal data collection that focuses on fine detail over big picture and demands multiple solutions to achieve a single aim is no longer a viable option.

Accounting for “What”

The other issue faced by performance monitoring dashboards? Deciding what to collect and analyze. What data matters? Which information is relevant but not immediately useful? Companies know the value of customer experience monitoring, but as noted by Forbes there’s an emerging focus on the employee experience. This isn’t simply a reflection of employee satisfaction but rather a focus on digital employee monitoring to reflect the true experience of business users.

Consider this: IT might install a new solution and describe how it should work. Consumers only interact with this solution occasionally and may not report problems. But staff encounter network issues and idiosyncrasies Every. Single. Day. Their experience is the most accurate and timely reflection of what’s truly happening on corporate networks. The challenge? 87 percent of businesses say they face hurdles when trying to improve the worker experience in meaningful ways. The solution? Implementing end-user monitoring platforms which both encourage employee feedback and provide real-time collection of end point data to discover exactly how staff are interacting with network services.

The goal when both “how” and “what” are addressed? According to Gartner, dashboards that can effectively depict current conditions, perform root-cause analysis, provide contextual access to historical data and deliver actionable insight and prediction.

Want to build a better dashboard? Figure out where “how” isn’t working, and make sure “what” you’re collecting offers the best return on investment.