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This syndicated post originally appeared at Network World Zeus Kerravala.

Nyansa uses analytics algorithms, cloud computing and
machine learning to measure every end-user network
transaction, providing proactive problem detection

The concept of user performance management (UPM) is easy to understand but very difficult to implement. The Holy Grail of UPM would be a single, unified dashboard where IT operations would be able to “see” the status of every user. If a website were taking too long to load or an application were performing poorly, the operations staff could click on that user and immediately see where the problem is. 

One challenge for IT departments is that today’s user isn’t always a person. Thanks to the rise in the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, “headless” clients that provide critical services to users now pump data through the network. For example, medical devices deliver time-critical information that can be the difference between life and death. Getting a grip on how these headless devices are performing on the network has become a daunting task for IT staff.

Delivering a true view of user performance is something the industry has been working on for decades with big shifts coming from start-ups that take a different view of the problem.

Nyansa, a Silicon Valley–based startup, is one company leading innovation in the area of UPM. Its technology leverages sophisticated analytics algorithms, cloud computing and machine learning to measure every user network transaction, yielding insights, patterns and trends that can be used to quickly understand the impact of any infrastructure anomalies affecting end-user performance on the network. One area of IT infrastructure that Nyansa has focused on is understanding enterprise access and the impact it has on user performance.

Seeing and resolving end-user experience problems

Enterprise access has lagged in the era of digital transformation. More specifically, the ability to gain deep visibility and actionable remediation into user network performance issues has become increasingly difficult as enterprise access has become more BYOD-driven, meaning IT no longer has the tight control it once did. Also, company resources are no longer stored in a single, physical location, such as a data center. Rather they are scattered all over the cloud and are now virtual.

Although this accomplishes the goal of getting the enterprise the best apps possible without the dreary task of constantly ensuring the apps are patched and loaded on everyone’s PC or mobile devices, it adds a significant layer of complication to the task of doling out credentials and keeping them updated and secure. Therefore, it’s long past time that enterprise access takes the lead rather than following the crowd. It should work like the rest of the business.

Access is a critical aspect of the IT infrastructure, and it’s one that is noticed only when it does not work the way it should. If it’s working and humming along, an employee, customer, partner or vendor won’t notice it at all. But when it takes too long to load data, make a connection or conduct a transaction, IT is put in the crosshairs. With all the complications involved in access, it’s time for an IT rethink.

IT needs to be more proactive and move from an incident-based world to one that is driven by predictive analytics and can use technology to anticipate problems and issues before they occur. But what does that mean, and how can an IT operation pull it off? Data and the ability to analyze it are both keys to solving this challenge. But the access layer generates massive amounts of data, often too much for IT to deal with.

Unlike traditional enterprise management and monitoring systems, Nyana’s UPM solution focuses on quantifying end-user performance and redefining traditional IT workflows through big data analytics techniques applied directly to infrastructure data.

This technology focuses on helping IT to get a better grip on actual end-user performance and redefining IP workflows. Machine learning algorithms are used to process massive amounts of data to learn what’s actually happening within the network for any device at any time across the entire OSI stack,giving businesses a way to approach UPM that is proactive in nature without having to go through the tedious and cumbersome process of collecting the data and manually analyzing it.

The new Voyance cloud platform from Nyansa gives organizations a flexible, controlled way to utilize the best aspects of the public and private cloud environments without the need for additional client software, agents, sensors or other intrusive network hardware.

In a private cloud context, businesses can deploy the Voyance back-end analytics enginein their data center, either as a physical appliance or within their virtual environment. Enterprises can also use the public cloud version of Voyance, which has the same user experience view and delivers frequent updates and reliability.

As digital transformation takes hold of businesses, the impact is profound across effectively every industry. Consequently, companies must rethink the role and use of new technologies to help smooth the digital transformation process.

Emerging UPM and network analytics solutions, such as Voyance from Nyansa, are essential for helping to solve the rash of new problems that digital transformation creates. These solutionsnow enable IT operations to understand the performance of applications, devices and network services from the user perspective, providing insight intothe quality of the end-user experience.

The goal of these products is not only to analyze network traffic, applications and WAN performance in order to facilitate outage and degradation resolution, but also to identify performance optimization with the ultimate goal of using this new data source to provide new business intelligence that positively impacts the bottom line—transforming traditional IT operations from a cost center into a profit center.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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