New Quocirca Report Commissioned on Behalf of Riverbed Highlights the Critical Performance Factors Affecting Distributed Businesses in the UK, France and Germany
LONDON, 13 March 2008 - ‘The Distributed Business Index (DBI) Report’ published today by Quocirca on behalf of Riverbed Technology, Inc. finds that only organisations who provide a sufficient underlying communications and IT infrastructure will succeed in the increasingly distributed working environment. Be it mobile, branch office or external staff, all distributed workers are affected by application performance as it influences staff productivity, and employee motivation and expectations. Application performance differences between companies are creating a ‘Distributed Working Gap.’
Businesses rely on widely distributed networks to link branch offices, field workers and individuals from external organisations. Over 70% of businesses surveyed in the UK, France and Germany said 25% of their staff are working remotely for at least part of the week, 95% of companies are using electronic devices that enable remote workers, and the average number of locations for businesses with over 1000 employees is 33.
Bob Tarzey, service director at Quocirca, comments, “The degree to which an organisation can succeed in supporting a distributed operation depends on the performance of the applications over the network that links together and enables collaboration between its employees, customers and suppliers.”
About the survey
The DBI is based on 315 interviews with senior IT and business managers across the UK, France and Germany, in organisations with more than 1000 employees. It looks at the degree to which organisations are distributed today, the reasons that some are pushing this to its limits, while others are holding back, and where the limitations and constraints of these approaches lie.
The survey identified three key factors affecting the degree to which a business is distributed:
- Sites - The number of locations including HQ and branch offices.
- Mobile workers - The percentage of mobile workers who are connected with today’s communications technology.
- External workers - The diversity of external workers who use a company’s business applications over the network.
A high DBI business has more branches, more mobile workers and more external workers. Finance, telecoms and media companies had the highest DBI, with public sector and healthcare organisations at the lower end of the scale.
Other key findings show:
- Location, location, location – Over 60% of European businesses still operate a traditional structure of a HQ with a number of smaller branch offices, connected over a network of some sort.
- Drivers for distribution – The top three drivers for distribution were: 1) business efficiency, 2) customer satisfaction and 3) employee satisfaction.
- Open UK – UK companies are most likely to open up their systems to suppliers, with 53% doing so. Germany was least likely to do this, with 28%, yet they were the most likely to open up the system to customers, with 38% doing so.
- Get the work out of here – The right infrastructure more easily enables non-core tasks to be outsourced, with over 70% of organisations allowing contractors to be connected to internal systems and access applications.
- Instant applications access – For high DBI organisations, fast application response times are crucial, with access directly correlated with its impact on remote workers in the field. Mobile application access is fundamental to 33% of high DBI businesses.
- Central focus - Low DBI organisations were less concerned about and less able to measure the experience of end users than their distributed counterparts, preferring to focus their attentions on the HQ.
- Remote thinking – Being distributed requires that remote workers be provided with access to and technology to match the tasks being asked of them. Nearly 40% of respondents expected an application response time for carrying out a remote transaction to be between 1-3 seconds.
Mark Lewis, senior director of marketing and alliances in EMEA at Riverbed®, comments, “Remote, external or branch workers can only be productive if they have reliable access to applications over the wide area network. If not, frustration sets in. Organisations can be as distributed as they like, but their communications infrastructure has to support this move. In the ‘Distributed Age’, a fast, efficient application is key. Downtime is not acceptable.”
James Mackay, Network and Security manager at Simmons & Simmons, comments, “We brought in Riverbed as part of our global IT consolidation project. We needed to ensure that our office staff outside of the UK could continue to access their critical applications and data over the wide-area network once we had centralised our IT services into three regional data centres. We had to ensure centralising our IT services did not impact user response times in our offices thus improving service to our clients.”
Tarzey states, “Distribution is not just a function of the business an organisation is in, it is the degree to which an individual business embraces the opportunity to be run more efficiently. To reap the benefits, a highly distributed business requires remote workers to be connected all of the time. But the reliability of access to the applications they use must be guaranteed. The benefits gained, cost savings and responsiveness are all lost if the service level is not consistently high.”
He continues, “A high proportion of distributed workers does not in itself create a distributed business; the technology first needs to be embedded into the business process to make those workers productive. Even those with a low DBI have a high proportion of people using IT for off-site working. But those with a high DBI see IT as fundamental to their business process, rather than as a ‘nice to have’ – enabling those off-site workers to be as productive as possible. This is creating ‘The Distributed Working Gap,’ with those that embrace and embed connectivity being the ones that thrive.”
Lewis concludes, “The successful companies of the future will be those which embrace the distributed workforce through the provision of a supportive infrastructure and applications, that are always there, reliable, fast and secure.”
Riverbed’s WDS solutions enable organisations of all sizes to overcome a host of severe problems, including poor application performance and insufficient bandwidth at remote sites. By speeding the performance of applications between data centres, remote offices and mobile workers by five to 50 times and in some cases up to 100 times, Riverbed’s award-winning Steelhead® WDS products enable companies to consolidate IT, improve backup and replication processes to ensure data integrity, and improve staff productivity and collaboration. Steelhead products have been deployed in organisations ranging from the world’s largest corporations with offices around the globe to small companies with a couple of sites that are just miles apart. To learn more, view Riverbed’s demo: www.riverbed.com/pr/jack.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements relating to the expected demand for Riverbed's products and services, statements about organizational spending trends and business objectives that may suggest trends or likely future results for Riverbed’s business, and statements relating to Riverbed’s ability to meet the needs of distributed organisations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they do not fully materialise or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include our ability to react to trends and challenges in our business and the markets in which we operate; our ability to anticipate market needs or develop new or enhanced products to meet those needs; the adoption rate of our products; our ability to establish and maintain successful relationships with our distribution partners; our ability to compete in our industry; fluctuations in demand, sales cycles and prices for our products and services; shortages or price fluctuations in our supply chain; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights; general political, economic and market conditions and events; and other risks and uncertainties described more fully in our documents filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. More information about these and other risks that may impact Riverbed’s business are set forth in our Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 15, 2008. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Any future product, feature or related specification that may be referenced in this release are for information purposes only and are not commitments to deliver any technology or enhancement. Riverbed reserves the right to modify future product plans at any time.
Riverbed Technology is the technology and market leader in wide-area data services (WDS) solutions for companies worldwide. By enabling application performance over the wide area network (WAN) that is orders of magnitude faster than what users experience today, Riverbed is changing the way people work, and enabling a distributed workforce that can collaborate as if they were local. Additional information about Riverbed is available at www.riverbed.com.
Quocirca is a primary research and analysis company specialising in the business impact of information technology and communications (ITC). With worldwide, native language reach, Quocirca provides in-depth insight into the views of buyers and influencers in large, mid-sized and small organisations. Its analyst team is made up of real-world practitioners with firsthand experience of ITC delivery who continuously research and track the industry.
Joanna Timmermann / James Warnette
Octopus Communications for Riverbed Technology
T: +44 (0)845 370 0655
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