People 'n' Issues

App-athy slows productivity

May 24th, 2016
Many executives are moving towards cloud-based apps at work, but while this is improving productivity it is also causing a growing number of issues, writes WIMPIE VAN RENSBURG, Country Manager for Sub Saharan Africa at Riverbed Technology.
Business man use tablet pc with colorful application icons

Improving productivity continues to be a priority for many organisations and as such, IT transformation is top of the agenda when it comes to boosting business performance. A recent study commissioned by Riverbed Technology found that companies are increasingly leveraging cloud computing, with 96% of executives using cloud-based enterprise apps at work today. However, moving to this environment is simultaneously causing a growing number of issues.

The underlying concern comes down to poor application performance, ultimately brought about by organisations’ migration to the cloud. 89 per cent say the poor performance of enterprise applications has negatively impacted their work on a weekly (58 per cent), and even daily (36 per cent) basis. With such regular performance issues, is stagnated business productivity the result of acceptance towards slow IT? Has poor app performance become the new norm? The overall impact on productivity is being felt and organisations need to overcome this problem now to ensure it does not become detrimental to results and overall business performance.

The effects of slow running applications

Just about every business operation is enabled and mediated by applications so it is easy to see why app performance plays such a relevant role in productivity, 98% of executives agree with this. Poorly performing applications affect almost every area of an organisation and slow apps present companies with a number of pitfalls which can have serious repercussions to an organisation’s bottom line. Our survey highlights that these include dissatisfied clients or customers (41 per cent), contract delays (40 per cent), critical deadlines missed (35 per cent), and loss of clients or customers (33 per cent).

Additionally, poor application performance does not just affect the business directly, it also has personal repercussions for employees. When apps are not performing it makes it harder for people to do their jobs and get things done. What’s more, over a third of executives (35 per cent) use this issue as an excuse for missing deadlines, with a quarter using poor application performance as a motive to take an extended lunch break.

Worryingly, when faced with slow performing apps, executives can exacerbate the problem as they try to work around it. 35 per cent of executives admit they have used unsupported apps when corporate apps run slowly or stop working altogether. This is often referred to as “shadow IT” and creates infrastructure complexity. Employees have also expressed their frustration to colleagues (31 per cent) and even left work early (23 per cent).

Overcoming performance issues

In order to overcome these issues, organisations need to recognise that users expect their apps to be constantly available and want the performance levels to remain high. When this is not the case, confusion and frustration can escalate. Globally, 71 per cent of our survey respondents said they have felt uninformed about why their enterprise applications are running slowly, highlighting a disconnect between IT teams and business executives that can lead to mutual frustration.

To meet business needs organisations must close the application performance gap. IT should establish clear visibility into how apps are performing, and the impact this has on the user experience. By identifying the cause of performance issues, IT can fix them before users notice. This improved visibility into application performance would result in increased productivity (56 per cent) and revenue (43 per cent), better customer service (54 per cent), product quality (49 per cent) and employee engagement (46 per cent).

Understandably, with apps, data and users literally everywhere, the work of optimising and delivering great app performance has gotten much tougher for IT organisations. But companies can’t control what they can’t see. And in order to close the performance gap, having a clear line of sight into how the apps are performing – and how the end-user experience is being impacted – has also become a business imperative. New technologies provide end-to-end visibility into application performance across the entire network. This allows visibility, optimisation and control, even within complex hybrid environments.

Achieving optimal application performance

The realities of the modern IT landscape can be daunting. Business-critical applications span both physical, virtual, and hybrid environments. In conjunction with this, end-users’ expectations continue to increase. In this light, never has it been more important to monitor the performance and availability of the business services that employees and customers rely on so business productivity can increase.

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