How a Multi-National Investment Firm Prioritizes User Experience in their SASE Approach

With the shift to a hybrid, work-from-anywhere model, many organizations have seen a dramatic increase in the scale of remote workers and locations they support. With every employee depending on technology to be successful, digital experience has become even more crucial. In this post, we highlight how Palo Alto Network’s Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) for Prisma SASE empowered an enterprise with over 10,000 home offices provide an exceptional end-user experience for their employees.

For additional stories on how IT teams use ADEM for user experience monitoring, download this report from ESG Global

The challenge 

This Palo Alto Network’s customer, a premier global investment management organization, has 10,000+ employees in more than 50 countries worldwide. Over the past few years, like many organizations, their entire workforce adapted to working from home. Now more than ever, teams rely on productivity applications to collaborate with colleagues and get work done. Many of these applications are hosted in the cloud. IT and network teams become inundated with tickets from home-workers frustrated with inconsistent application performance. IT lacked the tooling for troubleshooting the cause of performance bottlenecks experienced by remote users, network teams are blamed for the problems, and productivity is lost across the business. 

Solution

This organization was already using Prisma® Access to securely connect its global workforce. To deliver an exceptional user experience, they added Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) capabilities for Prisma Access. ADEM helps resolve application performance problems before their remote users even experience them. By removing obstacles to productivity and empowering employees with the best experiences, the IT department has made a monumental contribution to their wider business and significantly reduced the time it takes to troubleshoot and resolve problems. 

Rolling out software to over 10,000 employees is no easy task that can typically require a lot of time and effort. However, ADEM was quick and easy to roll out through a simple click of a button. Since ADEM is natively integrated with GlobalProtect, they didn’t have to install any new software. With just a few clicks ADEM starts collecting user experience intelligence from devices, applications and networks.

Within minutes  IT, network, operations, and help desk staff have the insights to understand, troubleshoot, and improve the digital experience of their workforce. “Once I saw it, I knew immediately it’s what we needed. Every network manager needs to have this tool,” says their director of networking.

Proactive monitoring of productivity tools  

In financial services, certain times of the year are critical. When systems or applications are slow during these times it hinders productivity and puts even more pressure on staff. To get ahead of this, the company monitors all business-critical applications using ADEM. It gives operators a view into the performance of the entire service delivery chain involved in connecting users to applications. For example, is the problem with the first mile like the user device, WiFi or LAN? Or is it in the middle mile, which could be any node in ISP from user to application? Or is the problem in the last mile, with the application itself?

We have a complete view of the experience users have with Zoom, Office365, or any other app. We run synthetic tests to get ahead of any potential outages and slowdowns, and can communicate with the providers early on before our company’s productivity is hurt.”

ADEM provides end-to-end visibility into every segment from the user to an application. The IT team simply selects their business-critical applications (SaaS and apps hosted in private data centers) and ADEM intelligently starts synthetics on the following segments: 

  • Synthetics to local router at home, providing visibility into LAN performance metrics (latency, jitter and packet loss)
  • Synthetics to Prisma Access underlay and overlay network, providing visibility into hop-by-hop ISP and tunnel performance metrics (latency, jitter and packet loss)
  • End-to-End Synthetics to target application providing visibility into network performance metrics (latency, jitter and packet loss) and application performance metrics (DNS resolution, TCP connect, SSL connect, HTTP latency, time to first byte and time to last byte)

Results 

Before ADEM, it would sometimes take weeks to identify the root cause of an application issue reported by an employee, gather proof, and escalate to the right teams to trigger resolution. Since using ADEM, “What used to take us weeks has been reduced to minutes. We can isolate issues quickly and escalate to the appropriate internal teams,” says their IT manager. 

ADEM’s synthetic capabilities have helped IT be proactive, so they are able to resolve incidents before users notify them resulting in the reduction of ticket volume. ADEM’s real-time monitoring capabilities help operators diagnose employee application experience problems as they occur, reducing the time it takes for IT to find a resolution. “Our CTO was having trouble with Zoom. Using ADEM I could see that the problem was the result of the user’s device system CPU running high (because of too many apps running in the background consuming resources) and was able to help resolve the issue in real-time.”

What’s Next

With ADEM, where this enterprise previously had blind spots in their user and application experience monitoring approach, they now have visibility.  When users go back to the office, ADEM can extend the same user experience visibility to their branch locations.  And, as IT continues to be enablers of their business, they will expand their use of ADEM across the organization to help users remain productive and have the best possible digital experience with their applications. 

Learn more 

For additional stories on how IT teams use ADEM capabilities in Prisma SASE, read this report from ESG Global