Monitor Microsoft Teams, Slack and Yammer
New collaboration tools demand monitoring connectivity, uptime and response. Try CloudReady to ensure posts, integrations and APIs are healthy.
New Tools: If You Depend on Them, You Need to Monitor Them
The recent rise of online collaboration tools like Slack, Yammer and Microsoft Teams has been a huge boost to productivity for teams large and small. Group chat is a growing tool in the arsenal for improving productivity for the enterprise. Integrated chat, channels, posts, bots and plugins – every organization can have a real-time digital hub for all of their collaboration and systems needs.
But the utility and value of these online tools is only as good as they are reliable and perform well. If a post or chat lands on a page is everyone seeing it? If a post falls in the woods, does anyone hear it? How long does it take to deliver a message? What’s the uptime and availability of Slack vs Microsoft Teams?
Widely Adopted by End-Users – You’re Still on the Hook
How does IT guarantee delivery and reliability of these collaboration tools? Users may have adopted these tools in the shadows (see Shadow IT) but often it becomes the responsibility of the Information Technology division to support and ensure availability of Slack, Yammer and Microsoft Teams.
Now, with the Exoprise CloudReady sensors for Microsoft Teams, Slack and Yammer applications, organizations can ensure that their integrated bots & plugins and interactive user & group messages are making it to their destinations! Make sure your users stay informed by ensuring the high availability and Service Levels of Slack, Yammer and Microsoft Teams.
CloudReady for Slack, Yammer and MS Teams
CloudReady supports monitoring Slack, Yammer and MS Teams with specific sensors, actions and crowd-data for these applications. Configuration is wizard driven, takes only a few seconds, fully tests each application and is easily deployed behind the firewall or out in Exoprise maintained public sites.
Collaboration Sensor Actions
Each CloudReady sensors for MS Teams, Yammer or Slack performs the following:
- Signs into the application utilizing guest or federated membership
- Single Sign-On solutions, if in place, are fully tested and executed
- Any network proxies and SD-WAN solutions, if in the data path, are tested
- Once signed in to the application, an Exoprise specific channel or team is tested for existence and optionally created
- The sensors posts a unique message to the Exoprise specific channel or team. Depending on the application, the User Interface is leveraged or an underlying API. In some cases both are utilized.
- The CloudReady sensor further interacts with the application and makes sure the receipt of the message takes place and is available within the application.
- The sensor then deletes and expunges the message
- Lastly, the sensor signs out of the application
High-Level Actions, Low-level Metrics
Along with these high-level actions across Slack, MS Teams and Yammer, the sensor records low-level details about each of the steps. You get aggregate response and error data for each one of the actions across the different servers, Content Data Network (CDN) providers, and hosts:
- Continuous availability and response data
- API and or interaction errors are captured and stored for 90 days
- CDN and server response times
- Always-on testing for ADFS, Azure AD and SSO provider interactions
- Always-on testing for SSL certificates and ciphers
The different teams at Exoprise have utilized many of these new communication and collaboration tools. Internally, they are used for our own development efforts as well as design and development of our CloudReady Sensors for Yammer, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. Here’s a brief overview of what each tool is good for and some of our uptime and availability experiences with them.
Slack excels at synchronous communications from many different environments. Team members can have group chat open all day and sit inside their most comfortable work environment like iOS, Windows, Linux, macOS. Besides being very group-centric, Slack has many different plugins or bots available for integrating other systems and forms of communications. We have many build processes, ticketing and exception handling integrated with our Slack channels.
Why Monitoring is Required for Slack
With the rise of Slack as one of the key digital hubs for smaller teams within an organization, a dependency on Slack develops – especially when different teams like Support, Engineering and DevOps start to integrate their processes and collaboration. In some cases, Slack becomes the system of record for their development and engineering processes.
When these critical processes and procedures have a dependency on Slack, its imperative to know that Slack is not suffering an outage, that Slack is not slow and performing well. If you connect a process to a Slack channel and disseminate critical information you must ensure that it is highly available and that the messages are being delivered in a timely manner. In our experience with Slack, we find it to be reliable but not perfect. There are brief outages which we believe to be during turnovers and code changes.
CloudReady Sensors for Slack can assist with measuring SLAs, uptime and potentially troubleshooting issues when they may crop up. The Slack sensors continuously exercise and simulate a user accessing Slack, posting channel messages and making sure those messages are received and available.
Yammer is designed to help people communicate more openly. While it can work for synchronous communications, it’s especially good for asynchronous communication. Yammer’s biggest competitor is email. Think of Yammer as more of an archive for relevant, important information and a wider audience. Compare that to Slack and MS Teams which is more suitable for quick question and answers, real-time group chat among teams of smaller sizes that are often used to working with one another.
Here at Exoprise, we use a combination of SharePoint and Yammer for archival and storage of information. For recording and communicating among engineering and Product Management, we use Yammer. This enables us to record and store different artifacts for the different sub-projects that we might be working on at a time. In addition, we capture the flow of edits, reviews, suggestions that occur as we are designing new features.
Microsoft Yammer Monitoring
Monitoring Yammer to detect outages is important when you have a large team that may be sharing information through Yammer. Especially if that team is spread out across the globe and accessing the Yammer sites from and through different network and Internet conditions. Yammer connectivity and response time will be different in each region. The asynchronous nature of Yammer makes it better suited to larger teams so monitoring Yammer from different points-of-access behind the firewall and out in the cloud (on Exoprise-owned POPs) is important if its use has been widely adopted across an organization.
Microsoft Teams feels and looks a lot like Slack but under the surface there are things that set the two apart. A hybrid mashup of Slack and Yammer with @mentions is how originally leveraged MS Teams. Often, similar to the usage of Slack, MS Teams are best for smaller groups while Yammer remains for larger audiences. This also influences the types of teams that are created and its members; smaller teams on Microsoft Teams and the members usually work closely together on projects. While for Yammer, the audience can be less connected and more widely dispersed.
Comparing Slack with Microsoft Teams Is a Moving Target
Some have described Slack as a product vs Microsoft Teams which is a feature. This may have been the case when Teams was originally launched but Microsoft is rapidly enhancing Teams, adding functionality and expanding the integrations and capabilities of Teams. The seamless integration into Office 365 and cost benefits for the growing number of organizations that are already on Office 365 make using Teams a no-brainer. You can easily add Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Meetings, Notes etc. and a host of other apps as associated tabs with that team that essentially replicates the full functionality of the app w/out leaving teams.
Monitor Your Group Chat Solutions—Make Sure Everyone Is on the Same Page
With CloudReady Sensors for Microsoft Teams, Slack or Yammer you can take advantage of this new age of collaboration and ensure that everyone is productive and receiving their feeds. As with email, these new tools are essential IT “utility” services and when they’re down, there is an immediate negative impact on productivity.