All in all, the Branch of One Summit was a huge success. Hundreds of technologists from around the world tuned in, with many of the participants being business leaders and IT decision-makers. The overwhelming interest in this event is proof that distributed workforces are here to stay.
The Summit provided a wealth of knowledge from some of the world's leading experts on distributed workforces. And we're pleased to announce that recordings for each session are now available in our Resource Center for those who missed out or want to go back and review their favorite speakers!
But for those who prefer an executive summary, here's a recap on the essential highlights of the day.
Challenges on the Path to Hybrid Work
The shift to remote work left many organizations blind to their employees' digital experience. After the pandemic-induced move to work from home, organizations had little to no visibility into network issues affecting employee connectivity or the performance of critical applications. Without this information, they couldn't determine whether poor application performance was caused by issues with the public Internet or problems within the enterprise network itself.
Furthermore, existing troubleshooting techniques could not help them diagnose issues in distributed environments because they were designed for office-based workers. As a result, organizations had very little visibility into endpoints outside of corporate offices—even though remote workers relied upon the Internet more than ever before to access business-critical applications.
At the Branch of One Summit, we heard from several customers tackling these challenges and making effective distributed workforces a reality. We also provided insights into how IT teams can use ThousandEyes to ensure that employees can respond to customer needs without incident while working remotely.
Digital Experience Reigns Supreme
Mohit Lad, ThousandEyes’ co-founder and GM, opened the summit with a brief history of how IT has evolved in recent years. He pointed out that cloud is now the new data center, SaaS is the new application stack, home is the new office, and the Internet is the new enterprise network.
A Ph.D. expert on the subject, Mohit noted that the old approach to networking no longer applies because it was designed to support employees in a physical office. IT today has shifted focus to hybrid workers who are using different apps from various endpoints across the Internet and corporate environments. This approach requires complete end-to-end visibility to understand performance from the end-user perspective, across all the critical dependencies.
Most notably, he reminded us that digital experience is more important than ever. Hence why there's been an exponential rise (30x) in demand for End User Monitoring from ThousandEyes since January 2020.
Innovations to Empower Frontline IT, Customer-Facing Roles
At Branch of One Summit, we unveiled two innovations to empower frontline IT and customer-facing roles. These include:
- Automated Session Testing – Instant insight into the dynamic dependencies of each collaboration app session for rapid, precise pinpointing of issues
- Agent View – All-in-one insight into the health of user experience—across device, app and network—simplifying problem isolation for frontline IT
By combining these innovations, ThousandEyes can help your frontline IT teams solve issues in minutes instead of hours. Watch the video below to see the full announcement.
Improve UCaaS and Collaboration App Performance at Scale
When HP Inc. began deploying ThousandEyes Endpoint Agents, the company did so to support executive staff with troubleshooting performance issues. Soon, however, their IT department adopted End User Monitoring throughout the organization as its dependence on UCaaS and collaboration app performance became business-critical during the pandemic.
In our Branch of One Summit session with Tarek Sabry, Global Lead, Automation & Monitoring, at HP Inc., he shared his reflections on changing workflows in recent years, particularly for contact centers. Contact centers are one of the lifelines for HP Inc.'s business. And since everything about their work is customer-facing, there is a higher level of sensitivity when issues arise.
Historically at HP Inc., most contact center agents were on-premises. But over the last two years, the vast majority have gone remote. This transition has changed a lot of fundamental processes that previously relied on an in-person help desk agent, moving them online.
Fortunately, with the visibility gained from ThousandEyes, the company is creating and improving processes that allow for fewer tickets and faster resolutions for this integral part of its distributed workforce. Watch the video below to get the inside scoop on HP Inc.
Access Better Talent With Proactive Monitoring
Proactive monitoring helps enterprises access better talent. During this Branch of One Summit session, Ted Sanfilippo, Associate Vice President Global Network Services at Sutherland, spoke to that new reality. Ted's team supports 44,000 employees across the globe—and 33,000 of those employees work from home.
When hiring for a remote role, Sutherland will test the candidate's connectivity from home to see if it meets performance requirements. If they can't meet those requirements, the enterprise will ask the candidate to come into the brick-and-mortar location instead. The company can also assess regions for WFH potential based on provider performance in that area.
Watch the video below to see our interview with this Sutherland leader and hear why Ted thinks "the hybrid model is the best way to get talent."
Consistent User Experiences Across the Globe
When your healthcare company supports 45,000 users spread across the globe (or 90,000 users if you include contractors), it can be cumbersome to ensure that they all get a consistent digital experience. For one Fortune 100 healthcare company with 450 offices just a few years ago, the initial shift to work-from-home presented John Samuel, Director of Network, and his IT teams with scaling and visibility challenges to overcome.
Years later, this healthcare company's offices have reopened. But instead of forcing employees to return onsite, the healthcare company that John's team supports has embraced hybrid work. Part of that requires providing associates with the same digital experience whether they are working from home or in the office. And according to John, "ThousandEyes was a big part of that strategy."
During his Branch of One Summit session, John shared how his organization uses ThousandEyes to understand how its network is performing and how its users experience it. He also expands on how his team uses leading indicator data, such as packet loss and latency, from the ThousandEyes platform to proactively address issues in the company's tools and ecosystem.
IT leaders like John Samuel know that performance impacts user experience and productivity. Watch our session with him to learn how he's optimized all three at a Fortune 100 healthcare company.
Black Hole No More
Wacker Chemie is a chemical manufacturing company with 15,000 employees and more than 60 sales offices worldwide. In 2019, Wacker changed its strategy to "anywhere, anyone, on any device." This shift marked a pioneering change in the enterprise’s approach to remote work and unknowingly helped it prepare for the complications of the pandemic.
Even so, Wacker Chemie IT initially received a lot of tickets. They simply had no ability to look at the local Wi-Fi or investigate the traffic going from A to B outside the corporate perimeter.
"It was a black hole without ThousandEyes," Jens Uhle, Unified Communications, Wacker Chemie, said during his Branch of One Summit session.
His enterprise now uses ThousandEyes to ensure teams worldwide can continue collaborating, no matter where they're working from that day. Watch the video to see why Jens predicts hybrid work will be here to stay for years to come.
"More Eyes" for Troubleshooting
Deutsche Börse is an international exchange organization that creates trust in the markets of today and tomorrow. In our session with Vojtech Fiurasek, Head of Endpoint Device Operations, Deutsche Börse, he shared that his unit's primary goal was to provide the best user experience to employees.
Before COVID, Deutsche Börse employees were not accustomed to working from home. But, with cooperation from regulators, they were able to make the transition. The change required supporting a broad range of home equipment, Wi-Fi, and ISPs, which was initially a struggle. But, with ThousandEyes, they could get more eyes on troubleshooting those issues.
"Nightmare" Scenario Avoided With ThousandEyes
Next, we interviewed Gururaj Kannarpadi, General Manager, IPED, Cloud and Connectivity Engineering, Vodafone _VOIS. He shared how ThousandEyes helped his enterprise weather the sudden change that occurred at the onset of the pandemic when 100 percent of employees transitioned to working from home.
Kannarpadi shared that there wasn't a plan at the time to have 13,000 workers connecting to the VPN. And though the company had good monitoring infrastructure at its data centers, it lacked that in its workforce's distributed environment.
"We got lots of tickets from employees who could not hear customers," said Kannarpadi. "Without ThousandEyes, it would have been a nightmare."
Summit Emphasizes Visibility Benefits for Distributed Workforce
Our dependence on the Internet for communications, operations and even basic functionality has reached a point of no return. Enterprises are no longer just monitoring dozens or hundreds of branch offices in their WAN. Most are now supporting tens of thousands of workers at individual home offices across all continents and time zones. When issues occur in the Internet-based infrastructure serving these locations, enterprises are left with limited abilities to diagnose and troubleshoot the issue without end-to-end visibility.