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Extending Webex Visibility for the Ultimate Hybrid Work Experience

By Mike Hicks
| October 26, 2021 | 9 min read

Summary

Extend visibility of your Webex environment to include insight into the complete end-to-end connectivity and user experience for your hybrid workforce.


Introducing ThousandEyes Webex Agents for Extended, Bi-Directional Visibility

Webex® has long been empowering teams to collaborate and maximize productivity. Today, we are announcing a new partnership between Cisco® ThousandEyes and Webex that will expand service visibility into the user journey and empower network and IT teams to deliver the best Webex experience possible. Only ThousandEyes can give you the power to see all of the dependencies that impact your collaboration experiences that embrace impromptu chats and brainstorming sessions, pinpoint precisely where an issue lies, and work with your providers to resolve them. 

The Era of Hybrid Work Is Here, and Collaboration Is Key

It is an inescapable truth that workers’ habits, employee experience, and flexible work preferences have evolved pre-pandemic days. As a result, business leaders are implementing new work policies, and enterprise IT teams preparing for a return to office are investing in ways to support a hybrid workplace model that includes significantly more remote workers than before. In the era of a hybrid work environment, your people, apps and infrastructure will be increasingly decentralized and distributed, and workers will need to access enterprise networks and applications from wherever they are, including but not limited to office space or home workspaces. Workdays and workweeks will blur and work-life balance goals will be even more crucial for full-time employees. 

This includes collaboration applications, which have always played an important role in promoting employee productivity and flexible work arrangements. In the hybrid work era, however, collaboration apps have become more mission-critical than ever for promoting productivity and maintaining business operations as asynchronous communications get upended by real-time media-rich interactions. A recent Cisco survey found that 98% of all meetings are now expected to include home participants. This rise in criticality has coincided with a shift in the way collaboration apps are used. Typically, we’d see maybe two or three enterprise campuses connect to collaborate, but with the migration from traditional office operation to a hybrid work model, those two or three locations have expanded to include hundreds (or even thousands) of “branches of one,” each of which are connecting across the Internet via different providers with different environments. 

In Hybrid Work, the Internet Is the X-Factor

Underpinning the digital services and applications employees rely on, the Internet has become the connective tissue and final delivery mechanism for nearly all modern apps. Yet, the Internet was never built to be a business-class network. Between January 2020 and August 2021, as enterprises made the shift to sustained remote work, 95% of outages occurred within Internet and transit providers. Unsurprisingly, this creates unprecedented challenges for IT teams tasked with ensuring business continuity with prescribed workflows and always-on remote employee connectivity and productivity. And, while businesses may not own the underlying infrastructure of external cloud and Internet services, they are still accountable for the user experience, and are subject to the productivity impacts that come along with it.

Assuring the performance of collaboration applications requires a specialized approach. By design, collaboration apps function bi-directionally and, just like a traditional telephone system, operate conversationally. This differs from other client-server type applications that operate in a request-response fashion. This means that you need two vantage points, one on each end of that bi-directional flow, in order to gain the necessary insight into the bi-directional environment and underlying transport conditions, including if the forward and reverse paths are using different providers, to ensure the best experience for the collaboration application.

Figure-1-Webex-Bidirectional-Traffic-Flow.png
Figure 1. Webex bi-directional traffic flow 

Exceptional Collaboration Experiences Start with Exceptional Visibility

The success of your hybrid work model depends on your ability to deliver exceptional collaboration experiences. ThousandEyes and Webex have partnered to help you on this mission. ThousandEyes Webex Agents, now integrated into Webex data centers, provide extensive, bi-directional visibility into the Webex environment, giving your IT team a clear line of sight between user locations and Webex services. With this extended visibility, your IT team can see every network node along the forward and reverse paths that have the potential to impact user connections with Webex services, giving them the insight to optimize performance and ensure exceptional user experiences. 

Figure-2-Visualize-Forward-Reverse-Path.png
Figure 2. Visualize forward and reverse path in single view

Using ThousandEyes Webex Agents, IT teams gain insights into not only network performance factors, but also user experience metrics associated with collaboration app experience, such as Mean Opinion Score (MOS). In addition, with ThousandEyes visibility into your Webex environment, you can:

  • Visualize both forward and reverse network paths to isolate problem areas
  • Proactively simulate user experience using Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) Stream testing from end to end with the Webex Agent
  • Facilitate proactive remediation before significant broadcast events (e.g., investor calls, town halls, etc.)
  • Receive alerts based on custom thresholds of conditions that could impact user experience
  • Measure and track key metrics (e.g., Mean Opinion Scores [MOS], latency, loss, Packet Delay Variation [PDV], discards, etc.)
  • Rapidly identify problem domains (application, network, or third-party)
  • Generate reports and share data with your providers for faster Mean Time to Repair/Mean Time to Identify (MTTR/MTTI)
Figure-3-Webex-Service-Assurance-User-Experience-Metrics-MOS.png
Figure 3. Webex Service Assurance through user experience metrics, such as MOS

Since ThousandEyes’ inception in 2010, when our two founders took a bet on the Internet, we’ve pioneered cloud and Internet technology, empowering our customers to see these environments as if they own them. Expanding our Internet vantage points into Webex data centers is a natural next step in our integration journey since last year’s Cisco acquisition, delivering Internet visibility to as many customers as quickly as possible, as well as the next frontier in our constant pursuit to remove blind spots. 

The Visibility You Need to Deliver Hybrid Work

In a hybrid work environment, the cloud is your new data center, the Internet is your network and SaaS is your new app stack. The future of work is replacing real-time, face-to-face onsite interactions using virtual team connectivity with the realization that a one-size-fits-all work experience is not an optimum post-pandemic approach. Using ThousandEyes Webex Agents, you’ll have the visibility you need to deliver the hybrid work experience your employees expect and need to replace face time.

If you're interested in learning more about the ThousandEyes Webex Agents, reach out to your ThousandEyes representative or contact us.


Watch this on-demand demo today to see the Webex Agents in action.


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