Organizations are still struggling to effectively manage remote workforces and deliver seamless digital experiences, which is resulting in a loss of productivity among out of office employees, according to an Exoprise Systems report.
The survey of 2,000 digital workplace employees and 1,000 IT decision-makers in Northern America revealed that 90% of knowledge workers face consistent technical and remote network problems, which are hampering remote workforce productivity.
The biggest impediments to remote workforce productivity are slow network response time and unpredictable application performance, exemplified by dropped Zoom calls, slow page loading, application crashes, and unresponsive endpoint devices.
Furthermore, unreliable IT equipment and services is the second most important factor, behind employee burnout and turnover.
"The biggest surprise for us was that network issues still hinder customers," Sidharth Kumar, director of product marketing at Exoprise, said, pointing out that 65% of respondents indicated problems with SaaS, collaboration, and VoIP apps due to connectivity, response time, and call quality.
"Core collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and WebEx were mentioned frequently," he said. "We tried to tally the root cause, but it varied greatly — ISP issues, WiFi, provider, and overall internet connectivity."
Remote workers are spread geographically and represent various endpoint devices, WiFi speeds, and configurations, as well as multiple routes to the application provider, Kumar said.
"The network path performance can even vary day-to-day and for each user," he said. "All of this adds up to the difficulty in troubleshooting and diagnosing the root cause quickly."
To compound the problem, respondents frequently indicated they still use traditional systems management tools that just won't work for remote work conditions or provide the required visibility.
Inferior Device Performance Impacting Remote Workforce Productivity
The survey also revealed employee productivity and engagement are being impacted by inferior device performance, while few turned to IT help desks because of the length of time it takes to get an issue resolved.
There is also a lack of clarity as to who within the organization is responsible for curating and delivering a better digital experience, with a quarter of employees surveyed placing that responsibility on IT, while three-quarters said they feel a "new team outside of IT" is responsible.
"From a tactical perspective, these will be the service desk, app owners, end-user computing, and IT operations staff working together to solve digital employee experience challenges," Kumar said. "But at the strategic level, you should expect CIOs and IT leaders to set the direction for a company that wants to embrace work from anywhere."
The survey in fact indicated that IT decision-makers believe it is their responsibility to ensure a seamless day-to-day digital experience for remote workforces.
"The work-from-home trend will continue in 2023 due to the volatile business climate and tightening technology spending," Kumar noted. " IT and business decision-makers must have end-to-end visibility into business-critical applications and services running on any endpoint device from any location."
IT Teams Lack Visibility Into SaaS Apps
In addition to battling remote workforce productivity issues, organizations are dealing with a lack visibility into SaaS apps used by employees, according to a November report from Gartner Peer Insights and Zluri, a SaaS management platform.
This means IT teams are in the dark about what tools employees are using and what data is being shared externally with third-party vendors — opening up a host of security issues as the work-from-home shift has forced the creation of new, more efficient workflows and processes.
Another survey from Torii indicated ownership and administrative responsibilities of SaaS have become scattered, with 60% IT professionals surveyed admitting they are in the dark when it comes to understanding their cloud app ecosystem.
About the authorNathan Eddy is a freelance writer for ITPro Today. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.