Riverbed and Aternity have unveiled the Riverbed | Aternity Hybrid Work Global Survey 2021 which reveals that 84% of UAE business and IT decision-makers believe that at least a quarter of their workforce will remain hybrid post-pandemic; with 38% saying more than half their workforce will be hybrid. Accelerated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid work environments provide numerous benefits with 66% of UAE respondents agreeing hybrid work helps significantly with recruiting talent and competitiveness, and 84% of global respondents believing hybrid work will have a lasting and positive impact on society and the world.
With all indicators signaling hybrid work environments are the future, UAE organizations are better prepared than their global counterparts to deliver a seamless hybrid work experience. Nearly half (47%) of UAE businesses believe they are completely prepared to support the shift to hybrid work, compared to the global average of just 32%; and while globally, 88% of organizations are concerned about the digital disparity between in-office and remote employees, this figure is considerably lower (52%) in the UAE.
With a staggering 98% of UAE businesses planning to invest in technology in the next 12-18 months to support their hybrid workforce – compared to 89% worldwide – the country looks on track to successfully transform into a global hub for remote working as envisioned and supported by the country’s leadership.
“We’ve reached that critical point in time when a high-performing hybrid workplace is required for organizations to push to the next level of employee and customer satisfaction and sustainable financial success,” said Dan Smoot, President, and CEO of Riverbed | Aternity. “What’s very clear is to gain the maximum benefits from hybrid work, organizations must invest in technologies to modernize their IT environments and underinvesting can have severe consequences. With the solutions from Riverbed | Aternity, organizations can maximize their visibility and performance across networks, applications, devices, and the end-user experience so they can fully capitalize on their digital and hybrid workplace investments.”
Human and Technology Barriers Must be Addressed
The survey reveals that in order to create a sustainable and high-performing hybrid workplace, organizations must address both human- and technology-related barriers. According to the UAE’s business decision-makers (BDMs), the top five barriers to adopting a hybrid work model are:
- Collaboration and virtual relationship building (42%)
- Lacking the right technology and equipment (39%)
- Employee motivation and well-being (37%)
- Technology Disruptions (34%)
- Poor home/remote network performance (34%)
When queried about the technology disruptions believed to be most detrimental to implementing hybrid work in the next 12-18 months, increased network traffic/bandwidth consumption (46%), the unreliable performance of applications (44%), and increased security breaches (42%) ranked top three for UAE respondents.
End-to-end Visibility and Cybersecurity Become Even More Critical
The need for end-to-end visibility and actionable insights intensifies in a hybrid workplace with 75% of UAE respondents believing gaining this visibility will be even more challenging in a hybrid work environment. Security risks also increase, and over half (52%) of UAE businesses say it is critically important to have full end-to-end visibility to better identify, remediate and protect against cybersecurity threats. Of those surveyed, 68% cite that it would be seriously disruptive or business destroying if their organization suffered a cybersecurity breach due to underinvestment invisibility technology.
The top five challenges with current visibility/monitoring solutions identified by UAE respondents are:
- Multiple tools that give conflicting data, delaying root cause analysis and issue resolution (53%)
- Lack of unified visibility across the entire technology infrastructure (39%)
- Too much data and not enough context or actionable insight (39%)
- Lack of visibility into the availability, performance, and usage of cloud resources (38%)
- Data is not accessible or usable by all who need it (37%)
“End-to-end visibility and the rich, broad set of data it provides is more important than ever in a high-performing hybrid workplace to ensure productivity, end-user experience, high-quality digital experiences and security. However, the treasure trove of data is more valuable when analyzed in context to deliver actionable insights to the multitude of stakeholders that are driving the organizational goals — transforming IT operators into technology leaders who connect insights into business outcomes,” said Jonaki Egenolf, Chief Marketing Officer of Riverbed | Aternity. “At Riverbed | Aternity, we’re focused on delivering actionable insights that extend from the technology infrastructure through the network all the way to the customer to protect and extract the value behind every click.”
Looking ahead, the UAE’s business decision-makers reveal that their top areas of technology investments over the next 12-18 months are:
- Better visibility of network and application performance (61%)
- Investing in end-user experience and digital experience monitoring solutions (53%)
- Investing in cybersecurity technology and software (47%)
- Investing in the application or network acceleration solutions (46%)
- Updating company-wide hybrid workplace strategies and policies (44%)
- Increasing the use of cloud services and software as a service apps (31%)
Network and Application Performance Impact Employees and Business Success
The survey findings underscore that when networks and applications operate at peak performance, so do employees and the business. UAE organizations believe performance contributes to greater ability to deliver critical services to employees and customers (35%); enabling hybrid work models (43%); saving time and money (42%); preventing and reducing downtime (37%), and driving innovation (34%).
In contrast, underinvesting in technologies that ensure IT services are high-performing and secure can have severe consequences. Business decision-makers cite the following impacts on business when underinvesting in technology:
- Increased difficulty in engaging customers or clients (58%)
- Reduced quality of service to customers or clients (47%)
- Inability to compete (44%)
- Decreased customer satisfaction (30%)
- Decreased productivity (35%)