Leaders are failing to recognize the full potential impact of their network on the broader business

According to research released by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, one in four (25%) business leaders admit to having only a functional or limited understanding of the enterprise network – resulting in a potentially dangerous disconnect around digital transformation initiatives.

This comes as 81% of business leaders state that their organization needs high levels of digital transformation and innovation to succeed in the next 12 months, but far less expect to achieve this. In fact, almost a third (32%) anticipate moderate transformation at best.

Meanwhile, the pressure to digitize has never seemed higher. With 93% of respondents agreeing their business is demanding more of technology post-pandemic and 68% saying that they are looking to IT to deliver more data insights, it is perhaps unsurprising that 73% have concerns about their organization’s ability to keep up with the latest technology and digital requirements.

The survey, which features responses from 200 international business leaders, examined a number of areas in which the network has the potential to deliver against these demands and assessed the recognition of this outside of IT leadership.

The network as a tool for productivity and innovation

Business leaders agree that technology and enhanced digitalization are now essential to employees being able to do their jobs (71%). However, despite its role in connecting both employees and the technology they need, only 61% say they fully understand the relationship between employee productivity and the network.

Similarly, 53% stated that they don’t fully understand how the network can help drive innovation – despite 50% believing that access to data is fundamental to unlocking new revenue streams over the next 12 months.

Feeling the disconnect

The potential consequence of this disconnect can be seen in organization investment strategies for the year. While 50% of business leaders say they are planning to increase spend on digital initiatives in 2023, only 25% say they’ll be putting corresponding investment into their network infrastructure.

With many respondents (59%) saying employees experience weekly workplace connectivity issues, only 29% believing their organization is capable of seamless connectivity, and only 21% strongly agreeing that their organization has the necessary flexibility, the danger of this disconnect starts to become clear if networks are allowed to languish in need of modernization.

“In response to pressure from all sides, organizations across the world have big plans for their digital transformations this year. They want to increase employee productivity through hybrid working, deliver better data analysis to uncover new revenue streams, unlock operational efficiencies to make cost savings, reduce their energy output to become more sustainable, and much more. And they know they need to continue to invest in technology to make this possible,” said Larry Lunetta, Vice President Portfolio Solutions Marketing at Aruba. “But to reach their business objectives they need the support of an innovative, agile, and optimized network. With that in place, the likelihood of a successful digital transformation is greatly increased.”

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