A CEO’s Perspective: Ensuring User Productivity in the Age of Cloud Tools

A CEO’s Perspective: Productivity and the Elevated Role of IT in an ‘as a service’ World As a CEO or any business leader, one of the most important KPIs you need to understand is the productivity of your team. You have invested in your employees and you have invested in the tools they use, with the expectation that your people will be as productive as possible. Today, that probably means an investment in cloud software tools that can be accessed from anywhere – but how do you know whether these tools are delivering an experience that makes your users productive? This is a key theme that I am hearing over and over again from clients. While this was always the case, the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated this concern for the user experience from something that is important to IT, to something that matters to the C-Suite: according to Gartner in a July 2020 report: 

“For many organizations, COVID-19 elevates digital workplace strategies from nice-to-have to must-have status, and it makes workforce digital dexterity a C-suite issue. A recent Gartner digital workplace leader survey showed that 68% of respondents agreed that “since COVID-19 more C-level execs have expressed involvement in a digital workplace.”

Have you asked your CIO and/or IT team, what is the experience and associated productivity we get from these tools we have bought?

That Was Then, This Is Now

If we go back a few years, the IT team directly controlled the tools and applications being used, the environment that those tools and applications were delivered from, the network they ran on and the endpoint environment. This has changed considerably for the vast majority of organizations today, as more and more companies look towards “everything” as a service (EaaS). This might have started with SaaS, but has continued to evolve at a rapid pace, so much so that the role of the CIO and IT team has changed. No longer responsible solely for running the IT ecosystem, this team has become accountable for the delivery of critical business services – and by extension the productivity of users. 

This is not a bad thing, for anybody. If an IT team is down in the weeds maintaining a server, for example, they aren’t very high in the value chain of delivering business services. In this example, maintaining a server requires little business context, so it can be done by a less costly and less skilled third party. When you move up the value chain and can apply key business mandates into the provision of services, even by a third party, it is a much more important role that delivers considerably more value.

Solving for User Productivity in an ‘as a service’ World

As more and more organizations look at flexible or hybrid work environments, they are dealing with much greater complexity than before. What used to be 5,000 or 500 employees working from 5 locations is now 5,000 or 500 employees working from 15,000 or 1,500 locations. They need to be productive from home, in the office, or anywhere else. The IT team, with a mandate to deliver ‘as a service’ business tools across this entire workforce in all locations, at the same time no longer has control of the application, the environment (i.e. Data Centre), the network, and with the push to work from home, they don’t control the endpoint environment (i.e. the home network).

I was talking to the IT team of a 300,000-employee company recently. They used the term “entitled executive” to describe the person who contacts the help desk and says: “my business application doesn’t work properly at home”. In this case, it was Microsoft 365, but it could have been any business application. The IT team, which is also working remotely, has to troubleshoot an IT ecosystem where they have very little control or visibility into the user’s actual experience of the application, and the factors influencing it. Trying to find out if it was the endpoint (laptop, iPad, etc.), the executive’s home network (overwhelmed by other family members watching Netflix or on Zoom calls), the ISP, or the SaaS provider, can be a difficult and time-consuming exercise.  The cost of this problem adds up quickly: the time spent by costly IT resources in troubleshooting the problem, but also the decreased productivity by the executive.

So, from the perspective of the CEO, how can you ensure the productive use of ‘as a service’ business tools for which IT has little operational control without measuring the User Experience? It’s simple – you can’t. That’s why Gartner says that ‘organizations that implement digital experience monitoring (DEM) tools can not only benefit from better application performance and improved user experience, but also ultimately improve business outcomes in support of digital transformation.’

About the author: 

John Proctor


John Proctor

As President and CEO of Martello Technologies, John oversees corporate strategy and the company’s merger and acquisition activity, to grow the business and ensure the company’s position as a global industry leader. John led Martello’s debut as a public company on the TSXV.

A respected senior ICT executive, Mr. Proctor brings more than eight years of experience driving strategic initiatives that build businesses. Prior to his work in the private sector, Mr. Proctor served for more than twenty years in the Canadian and British Forces. On entering the private sector he has served in multiple roles, including Vice President, Global Cyber Security at CGI, where he was responsible for the company’s strategic vision on Cyber Security. John is also a very active member of the ICT community, including sitting on the ICT advisory board for Government Affairs Canada.

About Martello:

Martello Technologies (TSXV: MTLO) provides digital experience monitoring (DEM) solutions. The company’s products provide monitoring and analytics on the performance and user experience of critical cloud business applications, while giving IT teams and service providers control and visibility of their entire IT infrastructure. Martello’s software products include Microsoft 365 end user experience monitoring, unified communications performance analytics, and IT service analytics. Martello is a public company headquartered in Ottawa, Canada with employees in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region. Learn more at http://www.martellotech.com

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