Australian companies may be losing as much as $825 million in worker time every year due to delays and downtime, according to new research by Nimble Storage that highlights the impact of poor application performance.
The ‘Mind the Gap' report, which Nimble Storage produced in collaboration with Oxford Economics, found that delays in propagating and refreshing application data, otherwise known as the app-data gap, can cause significant productivity drains and economic losses.
In fact, 74% of Australian respondents reported that the speed of applications they use significantly impacts their ability to perform their best in the workplace. IT professionals, however, don't appear to be aware of the magnitude of the problems residing within their own companies, allowing the small delays from the app-data gap to add up to big headaches, Nimble says.
While more than 39% of Australian business users say they avoid using some software applications at work because they run too slowly, only 20% of IT professionals think their users are either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the way software systems work at their companies, the report finds.
Furthermore, half of the Australian respondents say they waste more than 10 minutes each workday waiting for a software application to respond and more than one in seven (71%) of respondents said they are less tolerant of delays than they were five years ago.
Millennials experience the effects of the app-data gap most
According to the research, 77% of millennials say that sub-optimal application performance affects their ability to achieve their personal best, compared with just half of baby boomers and 72% of gen Xers.
Furthermore, 47% of Australian millennials surveyed say they've stopped using an application because it runs too slowly - significantly more than users in other age cohorts - 31% for gen Xers and 22% for Baby Boomers.
On top of this, more than three-fourths of millennials in the global survey say they occasionally or constantly experience delays when accessing or inputting information with business software, compared with 60% of baby boomers.
“Australian business users expect access to data to be immediate and continuous but the conundrum facing IT decision makers is how to predict and prevent performance bottlenecks before users perceive a slowdown in responsiveness,” says Bede Hackney, Nimble Storage ANZ managing director.
“The performance bottleneck between the data and the application, which we call the ‘app-data gap', negatively impacts employee work time and ultimately impairs business performance.
“We believe that by bypassing reactive approaches for root cause analysis that typically take days or weeks, IT departments can harness data sciences and machine learning to predict and prevent barriers to data velocity while fully empowering employees to achieve their best," Hackney says.
Can machine learning prevent application downtime?
Today's IT infrastructure is full of complexity, Nimble says, to the point that a major app-data gap can disrupt data delivery, degrade worker productivity, create customer dissatisfaction and damage a company's overall speed of business and reputation.
While it's easy and commonplace to point to data storage as the primary culprit for the app-data gap, the factors leading to application slowdowns come from a range of issues across the infrastructure stack, the company says.
According to a Nimble Labs Research Report which analysed more than 12,000 cases documenting examples of app-data gap related issues across the Nimble install base of more than 7,500 customers, 54% of all issues have nothing to do with storage.
In fact, the majority of issues arise from challenges with configuration (28%), interoperability (11%), non-storage best practices impacting performance (8%) and host, compute or VM-related issues (7%). Of the 46% of storage issues detected, hardware and software problems, software update assistance and performance setbacks are most common.
According to Nimble, these findings debunk the IT professionals' first instinct that storage infrastructure is the primary cause of application performance issues.
This presumption leads IT professionals to implement fast flash-based storage technologies to accelerate performance but flash alone does not address the 54% of unrelated storage issues, Nimble says.
To close the app-data gap, Nimble says IT organisations need to leverage predictive analytics that incorporates both data science and machine learning to optimise the performance and availability of applications.
According to Nimble, these technologies are designed to help identify poor performance early, minimise or eliminate the effects of an issue, prevent businesses from encountering the same problem as their competitors and continually improve performance and availability for users.