By Daniel Hunter

Survey findings released by Allied Telesis International, a leading provider of networking infrastructure, highlight the major dependency which UK businesses place on their network infrastructure.

The survey, conducted amongst UK managers, showed that network services downtime and slow internet connection is the number one pain point affecting productivity that they have to cope with in the workplace.

As organisations place increasing amounts of vital company data and documents on corporate networks and in the cloud, dependency on a reliable network has never been greater.

But whilst the findings revealed a fundamental dependency on the network to perform day-to-day operations, they also show significant incidents of network poor performance and a growing sense of frustration amongst managers due to the consequences of network failure. These failures are costly and far-reaching.

The independent study canvassed 401 managers in large UK companies across nine key sectors in the public and private sector.

· 92% of managers are reliant on access to the network — nearly half of these cite it as crucial to their job
· 86% of mangers experience some form of downtime every month with as many as 28% experiencing 5 or more instances of downtime in a one-month period
· 68% of respondents cited slow internet or inability to access documents from a network as affecting their productivity
· Slow internet or inability to access documents from a network has a major effect on their ability, and the ability of their team, to complete essential business tasks. The most cited issues include: Reduction in team productivity (48%), inability to respond to clients and suppliers (35%) and working longer hours (32%)

Jane Brett, UK & Ireland sales director at Allied Telesis International: “The findings of this survey show that dependence on network IT infrastructure is greater than ever and in my opinion this will only increase. But what is concerning is the frequency of network downtime experienced by managers across the UK and the consequences of this poor connectivity.”

Brett continues, “It’s clear that the inability to access networked information, services and applications is one of the most significant sources of frustration in today’s business world. Many businesses are struggling in this tough economy and need to maximise whatever competitive advantage they can. The idea that sales opportunities could be missed or existing clients poorly serviced and therefore lost due to poor network infrastructure is very worrying… especially when it can be avoided.”

Interestingly, more traditional manager concerns and frustrations do not rank nearly as highly as network downtime and slow internet connection. For example, only 18% of managers said that punctuality amongst their team affects productivity. Just 12% cited inappropriate office behaviour, such as office gossip, as a factor affecting their productivity.

Brett concludes, “In the modern, connected workplace a lot of the ‘old world’ issues that managers used to have when managing their team are now reduced, or gone. Managers are seemingly more tolerant of lateness, confident in the knowledge that team members are increasingly working remotely and outside of traditional working hours. Of course for this work effectively, we go back to the need for an effective, reliable network. The network is genuinely at the heart of today’s workplace. Get it right and staff are incentivised, motivated and will maximise their productivity, get it wrong and they become frustrated, de-motivated and un-productive.”

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