Metrics make IT run. Service-level agreements (SLAs) help quantify nebulous concepts like uptime and application performance — combined with agile monitoring tools, many tech teams now enjoy “green” dashboards all day long as metrics report networks in tip-top shape.

The problem? Your employees are seeing something else. Consider software migration; as noted by Computer World, IT may consider the move to Windows 10 a success once monitoring tools report that all workstations and devices have been updated. All green across the board. But what about staff? Are they encountering performance issues? Usability problems? If so, how do they report them? How do they show IT staff what they’re seeing and have it fixed before it tanks productivity?

The Many Consequences of Ignoring End Users

According to CMS Wire, more than 70 percent of all IT projects fail. Only 6.4 percent of IT projects with labor costs of at least $10 million were a success. A failed IT project is a project that goes over budget, is not delivered on time, or does not offer the functions they were promised or expected. Common issue of failed projects is that they don’t involve the perspective of end-users in the enterprise until it’s time for them to start using what has already been implemented. This leads to highly negative consequences besides the budget and timing failures:

  • low and slow adoption from employees on a new solution not designed in the right,
  • and difficulties to drive changes in the way of working with new tools and processes.

Seeing Isn’t Believing

The evolution of SLAs and monitoring tools offers clarity for IT teams: For the first time, they can monitor from the inside-out and quickly uncover any problems with datacenters or cloud services. Even better? Providers bound by service-level agreements step in when rows of green dashboard lights turn to red — and fix problems ASAP.

But this clarity blinds IT to the other half of network necessity: Employees on the digital perimeter. Staff are struggling with slow computers, application crashes, network access and incompatible local settings that make it difficult (or impossible) to do their jobs. The result? IT sees one thing, staff see another and nothing changes.

Digging Deeper Just Makes Bigger Holes

Companies are willing to spend on the cloud, invest in better analytics and dig deeper into network and datacenter issues, with many hoping that more detailed insight will somehow solve the problem of shadow IT or convince users that their perspective is somehow misinformed.

Instead, they’re just digging bigger holes. When John the HR manager or Mary the sales team lead comes up against an IT problem they’re not turning to IT — who are more focused on looking in than out — they’re interrupting other staff members at work, finding their own solutions online or inventing workarounds that bypass the technology in question. From IT’s perspective, nothing is wrong since staff haven’t caused network failures and aren’t reporting any issues. Employees, meanwhile, spend less and less time doing their jobs and more time fighting with tools that should be making these jobs easier.

Building Better Insight

So what’s the solution? How do IT and employees start seeing eye-to-eye? Tossing SLAs won’t solve the problem; instead, companies need to develop experience-level agreements (XLAs) that focus on improving employee satisfaction, digital workplace integration and overall connectivity. Wondering how to get there? It starts with:

  • Evolved metrics — You need a way to gather and measure employee feedback just like datacenter performance and cloud uptime. Advanced, real-time end-user monitoring solutions provide baseline insight about what’s working and what isn’t for users.
  • Beyond tickets — Just 50 percent of IT issues experienced by staff are submitted at tickets. This isn’t good enough. But more tickets aren’t the answer, since this still leaves employees frustrated while tech teams sort through the ticket queue. Companies need the capability to proactively detect issues in their infancy instead of after they’ve sabotaged employee performance.
  • Keeping IT Sane — Your IT teams can’t do it all alone. Recent data shows that average end-user to tech support ratios are 85:1 — organizations would prefer something closer to 53:1 but may not have the budget or available personnel. The result? Your teams are already overworked; adding 50 percent more tickets only makes their job harder. The solution here is intelligent automation, tools capable of discovering issues without IT assistance and then taking steps to mitigate their impact.

Bottom line? Technology no longer defines IT;  end-user experience is now the IT benchmark. While SLAs offer much-needed visibility for technology teams, seeing eye-to-eye with end-users means embracing XLAs and implementing the tools needed to improve employee experience as it occurs. Read more from NetworkWorld how Nexthink helps organizations to address employee digital experience management to gain back 100 hours of productive time per employees every year!