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May 19, 2015updated 22 Sep 2016 11:50am

Fluke Q&A: ‘To the cloud, in the cloud, for the cloud’

CBR sat with MD Doug Roberts for Enterprise Business at Fluke Networks to discuss the company’s cloud strategy and the recent launch of TruView Live.

By Joao Lima

Fluke Networks, a sister organisation of Fluke Corporation, is constantly looking at new ways of embracing cloud.

The company has launched TruView Live, a SaaS product that adds cloud application monitoring to the industry’s network and application performance management. At the same time, it has unveiled a Borderless Enterprise Product Strategy that aims to help IT leaders improve end-user experience and open ways for new business value.

CBR spoke with the company’s Managing Director for Enterprise Business, Doug Roberts, to discuss these solutions and the importance of cloud within the enterprise network.

CBR: Could you explain what TruView Live is, differentiating it from TruView?

DR: TruView is an on-premise product, built for self-managed, self-contained enterprise networks. TruView Live is a product built in the cloud, for the cloud. It just so happens that they can both work together or independently.

It is up to the users how they want to utilise them. The dynamic and the problem we are trying to solve is enterprises customers who are migrating to cloud based services.

When costumers make a decision on cost factor, did they think about the end user experience? What if that application or service that they have just collocated, or made a service, is a consumer or customer facing service?

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This whole dynamic of end user experience problems has developed a whole new meaning, because the cost savings that enterprises experience from an operational budget doesn’t mean anything if they have 50% of customers dropping the program due to the customer experience being so poor.

CBR: Could you give an example of a customer that uses Fluke Networks’ services?

DR: For example, in the manufacturing industry, we have a large-scale organisation, which manufacture things from high tech devices all the way to light bulbs and everything in between. It is a global manufacturing company, which outsourced large portions of their ERP applications mainly for inventory management.

They signed up for a SaaS based ERP application and although it delivered the cost savings expected, it did not deliver to the performance required. They used to have an on-premise ERP based presence and as soon as they went to their SaaS based ERP implementation they faced major problems.

Unfortunately, there are so many different SaaSs out there which are not forced to give their customers SLAs.

We got in contact with this specific manufacturer throughout the data stage of TruView Live. After we implemented TruView Live we were able to isolate the issue and found that it was not an application problem with their provider.

TruView Live was able to get down to a particular function within that application that was causing all the problems.

CBR: So in your opinion what is important to measure?

DR: Traditional things like availability and latency are measured, but probably most importantly is measuring what we call the end user experience. There is a huge difference in the end user experience and network latency, or just generic response times.

Generic responsive time means: I have point A and point B, how long does it take to get from point to point? That is just the latency measurement. End user experience is when a user logs in into Outlook and accesses the calendar, inserts a new appointment and logs out of Outlook. How long did that take? How long does it take the screen to render and get out of the loading stage until it is finally done? That is end user experience, and that is what we measure.


CBR: What were the development stages of TruView Live?

DR: TruView Live started with a conception stage. The big problem we saw was that a lot of cloud migration decisions were being made by business people – IT was not even involved. Business people would make a decision to go to a SaaS provider which would eventually lead to a problem. Retroactively they would have to go back to IT and tell them that there was a problem, IT would respond to say that they did not even know the organisation had that application.

The conception phase of TruView Live started about two years ago with a business/network operations focused tool for helping customers migrate as they go from a private cloud, to hybrid use of cloud and to fully public external use of cloud based technologies. Fluke Networks went through a couple of different generations of product prototyping, over the following four to six months and then we built our first version of the solution about a year ago.

We then put it into a trial, that we call Alpha Stage, where we exposed it to ten strategic types and kinds of customers who then gave us feedback. The company did this for the next six months, and that takes us to six months ago. Since then we have been working on full long data, focusing on the product we would like to deliver as a version 1.0 to the industry.

CBR: Do enterprises need to be educated on how to make decisions in order not to affect customer service?

DR: Yes. I think that’s the toughest challenge, because many enterprise organisations have not necessarily quantified what the end user experience means to them.

Tones of enterprises can tell down to the minute, down to the dollar what is going to happen if a circuit goes down, if a server is no longer available, or if a certain application cannot be accessed. From an availability perspective, businesses and IT have done a good job at predicting what the impact is going to be. Although, what people have not really figured out is what will the impact be to the end user experience.

In ecommerce for instance, if I want to buy an eBook, I go online, go to ecommerce vendor A, I add the book to my cart, I go to the checkout and hit next step for the credit card. If the system doesn’t work fast enough, then how long does it take for me to ‘Alt+Tab’ and go to ecommerce vendor B? Do the same process or use my PayPal account and buy the book from them instead. That just cost ecommerce vendor A the purchase price in their percentage margin on that book.

That is the user expectation world we live in, but people have not quantified what that means from a business value viewpoint.

Continuing the above example, what it means is ecommerce vendor A just missed out on a book. How many times a day does that happen to their competition? No one knows because they do not quantify it.

That is what we trying to do: educate the market, to tell them that it is much more than just availability. It is about the end user experience, and more importantly, it is about end user expectation. And expectations have changed over the years.

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