82% of UK Organisations Concerned About Network Performance

Research released today by enterprise ICT solutions and service provider, Damovo UK, has revealed that 82% of UK organisations are concerned about their network performance. This comes as many organisations are increasingly relying on their corporate networks to deliver converged voice and data services to their workforce.

However, rather than taking a strategic approach towards network planning, 76% of IT directors surveyed revealed that they were taking an ad-hoc approach to extending or upgrading their networks. By adding switches and bandwidth in such a manner corporate networks can become ‘unbalanced’ – for example there may be different software on different switches – which in turn can result in additional performance and management issues. The research also revealed that as IT budgets tighten nearly half of organisations (44%) have reduced the amount of network redundancy they have and instead use this additional bandwidth for everyday operations. This means that many organisations are now at much greater risk of business disruption if their network goes down, as they have a reduced fail safe and backup.

“From the survey it is clear that businesses are in many instances playing catch up when it comes to planning and managing their networks,” said Tom Gutteridge, Strategic Development Director at Damovo UK. “Today’s converged networks have to deliver a lot of business-critical services and applications, which is clearly an ongoing management challenge. However, understandable though it may be, by taking an ad-hoc approach to network planning, organisations actually risk compounding the performance and management issues they were trying to address in the first place.”

Another additional pressure facing IT departments is the growing number of mobile and remote workers they have to support, meaning that organisations need to scale their underlying network at the same rate as their users. The research revealed that 85% of IT directors provisioned mobile access on an ‘as requested’ basis, however this in turn is making support more difficult to carry out, as workers are using different devices to access the network and it is difficult for IT departments to push out network or software updates to the mobile workforce. Unsurprisingly, this has led to nearly half of the respondents (46%) saying that they have seen an increase in the number of complaints received regarding poor network or application performance, which means that IT departments are having to devote even more time resolving user problems.

Mobility isn’t just restricted to remote workers, as increasingly organisations are looking to implement wireless networks due to them being more flexible and less disruptive than wired networks. However, when it comes to implementing wireless the research revealed that many organisations again have an unstructured approach. Over half of the IT directors surveyed (55%) said that they had experienced performance problems with their wireless network, yet 57% admitted that they had deployed wireless access points as and when required, in an effort to increase or improve network coverage.

“It is a challenging proposition, particularly in today’s economic climate, but its important that companies do invest properly in their wireless networks as these will become ever more critical in the workplace of the future. By going down the low-cost or ad hoc route many wireless networks are simply not as robust as they need to be to support today’s real-time applications. Infilling networks with additional wireless access points isn’t necessarily the answer, as this can in fact lead to increased performance issues, wasted bandwidth and actually prove to be far more expensive over time. Moreover when it comes to performance, whether wired or wireless, a service level agreement is no substitute for good network design,” concluded Tom Gutteridge.

The survey of 100 IT directors at UK organisations, with more than 1,000 employees, was commissioned by Damovo and conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne.