Report: Poor IT still hampers hybrid workplace productivity

Only a third of enterprises are meeting the IT needs of work-from-anywhere staff, finds new research

Remote and Hybrid workers are still second-class citizens of IT more than three years on from the start of the pandemic, according to research sponsored by hybrid networking specialist Cloudbrink.

A survey of 354 IT professionals by analyst Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found 98% aimed to provide the same experience of IT to users regardless of location, but only 32% who believed they had fully succeeded in this aim.

Prakash Mana, founder and CEO of Cloudbrink, said: “IT teams have made heroic efforts to deliver parity of experience to staff in the hybrid workplace, but they are struggling to adapt centralised office-based networks for a new world where users can be working anywhere and connected to the organization via any number of different networks.”

Work-from-anywhere users are often connected to slow and unreliable Wi-Fi and broadband networks. Common issues include problems with VPN access (37.3%), performance of SaaS applications (33.6%) and problems with video communications (29.7%).

Productivity is further hampered by bandwidth-hogging security products and longer waits for issues to be resolved. Respondents reported a 51% increase in mean time to repair for network problems since 2020.

In particular, IT teams face a perceived trade-off between user experience and security, which remains a top priority for the enterprise.

Shamus McGillicuddy, research director, EMA, said: “IT organizations have always strived to deliver services in a way that balances security and user experience. When it comes to remote and hybrid work, this goal is difficult to achieve. For instance, 20% of organizations said they sacrifice security to protect the user experience of their remote users. Meanwhile, 46% sacrifice user experience in favor of security. Only 34% try to balance the two. Few pursue a balanced approach because organizations struggle to find a technology solution that can deliver it.”

The research confirms that organizations remain committed to the hybrid workplace.
Respondents expect nearly half (49%) of staff to work at least some time away from the office by 2025, up from 43% today and 17.6% before the pandemic.

Mana said that IT organizations were making the connection between IT and productivity but were still seeking better solutions: “For example, while VPN remains the most widely used solution for 61% of respondents, only 47% thinks it’s the best tool for the job.”
“A good experience of technology not only enables people to be productive, it improves job satisfaction and ultimately employee retention. Until we can provide parity of experience for everyone, remote users will continue to be second-class citizens in the hybrid workplace.”
Notes for editors
The full EMA report (Modernizing Network Engineering and Operations in the Era of Hybrid and Remote Work) is available on request.
About Cloudbrink
Cloudbrink brings the industry’s first highest-performance connectivity to the modern hybrid workforce anywhere in the world. The company uses AI and ML to provide edge-native hybrid access as a service (HAaaS). HAaaS delivers accelerated performance for cloud, SaaS, and data center applications.
Cloudbrink’s software-only solution includes the world's first personal SD-WAN with high-performance ZTNA and Moving Target Defence (MTD) security. With the ability to use thousands of dynamic PoPs called FAST edges, Cloudbrink provides an in-office experience with a 30x increase in application performance and reduced operational complexity for network, security and IT administrators.
Based in Sunnyvale, California, the Cloudbrink team has decades of combined expertise in last-mile network connectivity, security, and distributed systems.
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