IT leaders missing vital link between the enterprise network and employee experiences

As organisations increasingly embrace digitalisation, a new research study conducted by HPE Aruba Networking reveals that global IT leaders are failing to grasp the full extent of the connection between their enterprise network and employee experiences.

While recognising the importance of digitisation for job performance and talent retention, only 55% of respondents acknowledge the strong relevance of the network to these critical areas. With the ongoing demand for hybrid working, this research highlights a missed opportunity for IT leaders to unlock the network’s full potential in supporting broader business objectives.

The Role of the Network:

The research, based on insights from 2,100 IT leaders across 21 countries, delved into how IT leaders currently perceive and utilise the enterprise network. Encouragingly, there is a growing recognition among both IT and business leaders of the network’s wide-ranging impact. Approximately 44% of IT leaders perceive the network as a tool for digital transformation, while an additional 33% acknowledge its role in broader business transformation. In contrast, only 23% view the network merely as a functional connectivity resource.

Missed Connections: Employee Experiences and the Network:

Despite three-quarters of IT leaders acknowledging the significance of digitisation in talent attraction and job performance, the research points to a lack of recognition regarding the network’s relevance to employee experiences. In fact, this area receives the lowest level of acknowledgement among all listed business areas. Consequently, IT leaders estimate that the network currently has the least positive impact on employee attraction and retention.

Examining the network’s capabilities, the research reveals that only 43% of IT leaders believe their network enables staff to work from anywhere, while a mere 34% confirm seamless connectivity. Furthermore, a paltry 29% note that their network supports a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) service, which is essential for digital personalisation.

Sylvia Hooks, CMO of HPE Aruba Networking, highlights the concerning oversight, stating, “Given the prevalence and demand for flexible working, the lack of understanding around how the network can enhance employee experiences seems a particularly dangerous miss. The simple fact is that no one can do their job nowadays without the network. But, while organizations are recognizing the network as a business-critical resource in enhancing their digital transformation journey, in today’s working environment this requirement goes way beyond offering connectivity – a more seamless, efficient, intelligent and securely connected experience is essential.”

Current Network ROI and Untapped Potential:

IT leaders report the strongest connections between the network and IT efficiency, operational efficiency, and cybersecurity, which are core components of most digital transformation initiatives. These areas also showcase the highest impact of the network, particularly for those who have invested in network infrastructure within the last two years. In contrast, those who have been unable to invest in the network reported an average of 21 percentage points less positive impact across all business areas.

While investment plays a crucial role in maximizing the network’s returns, there remains untapped potential for the network to contribute to additional business-boosting areas. To unlock this potential, budget allocation should prioritize the modernisation of all aspects of network operations.

Larry Lunetta, Vice President of Portfolio Solutions Marketing at HPE Aruba Networking, concludes, “A modern network can not only strengthen employee experiences and attract the right talent pool, but it also has the potential to deliver impact across all areas of the business. However, to realize this broader transformation, IT leaders need to reframe network discussions and start talking in terms of business outcomes versus technical specs. Only by doing this can they show the C-suite that investment correlates to positive impact and drives business value.”

The full report from HPE Aruba Networking can be viewed here.


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