Innovative IT Jeopardised by Network Negligence

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A new study commissioned by Kcom, part of the KCOM Group, reveals that network management is often overlooked in IT planning, reducing the benefits and true value that innovative IT can deliver. According to the research, despite their importance to business applications and productivity tools, only 42% of corporate networks are running at optimal performance.

Network experiences within the 235 organisations surveyed has shown that many business-enhancing applications risk failure because of network negligence. Network utilisation reviews, which provide essential data about the availability of mission-critical applications, are conducted infrequently in many organisations. 55% of companies reviewed their network usage every quarter or less frequently, and more worryingly over one fifth (21%) only reviewed their network usage once a year or longer.

In IT strategy, the network is ignored too often. 40% of organisations do not have a clear process for considering the network when introducing applications. Furthermore, less than half (48%) of company Boards consider the impact on the network when planning new business strategies. Despite the importance of the network to the organisation, less than half (43%) of companies prioritised network traffic, meaning that key applications may be at risk.

Employee productivity can also be affected. Just over half (53%) of companies surveyed thought that remote access by employees is creating additional strain on the network. Everyday activities such as web browsing and video streaming, new mobile and flexible working practices also bring their own network challenges.

Requirements for network availability are growing; the vast majority (92%) of companies expect to face an increase in the use of bandwidth by applications over the next five years. Nearly half (43%) predict they will need to address a substantial increase. Currently, IT decision makers are planning to respond to this issue by simply increasing bandwidth (46%). Fewer are considering alternatives which could provide a significant improvement on network performance. For instance, just 27% are taking measures to control individual use of bandwidth.

“This research has been a real eye-opener as to the way the network is viewed in some organisations,” commented Paul Renucci, Group Executive Director, Kcom. “While IT has an unprecedented opportunity to deliver true value to the business in this period of economy recovery, best-laid plans for new processes and applications ultimately rely on a sound network foundation. We hope to see businesses flourishing thanks to the innovations that IT can deliver, but this can only happen if the network is properly managed. Kcom has a proven track record in managing and improving the networks of businesses and public sector organisations across the UK including British Airways, VISA and Phones4U.”
The White Paper ‘Don’t Forget the Network’ is available to download from the KCOM web site.