It’s fair to say that 2020 has been an unpredictable year for many, including those in the public sector. With millions of people now living at work—my preferred version of “working from home”—they have found that their day-to-day technology experiences and app performance can often fail to live up to what they were used to having in the office.
While the unpredictability we face outside of our work lives at present is, for most of us, out of our control, the technological reality we face on a daily basis while working from home isn’t. The key issue behind much of the unpredictability experienced by those in the public sector is latency—the amount of the time it takes to send a packet of data from one location to another. In other words, the amount of time between an action and a response.
Latency’s impact on application performance can make or break a user’s experience
There’s a common misconception that adding network bandwidth is a quick fix for what is more commonly a latency-related issue. And, while SD-WAN can give IT teams the power to improve network performance, it does not necessarily impact latency and therefore cannot guarantee an improved experience for staff members working from home.
So, here we have another theme: the importance of knowing where the real issue lies. There are tools that can significantly support a smoother and more predictable IT experience for public sector workers dispersed across the country accessing work systems via the public internet.
The first is Network Performance Management (NPM). This allows government IT teams to see what is happening on the network across servers, data centres and clouds. Rather than jumping to the conclusion that more bandwidth is the answer, you might find that something else is causing the issue. NPM enables faster and more cost-effective resolution of IT issues in a dispersed environment.
Improving public sector app performance and reducing network costs
Once you’ve drilled down into where the real issue lies with poor application performance, you will likely find that latency is a critical issue. This is where Riverbed’s SaaS Accelerator can help. This fully cloud-based service allows organisations to measure, monitor and accelerate top enterprise collaboration applications including Microsoft O365 apps (SharePoint, Exchange, Teams & Stream, Office WebApps); Salesforce; ServiceNow; Box and Veeva, among others. With SaaS Accelerator, IT teams are able to ensure the fastest, most reliable delivery of applications to any user, regardless of location or network type—all while reducing cloud egress costs.
In independent tests by the Enterprise Strategy Group, the reduction in average file transfer time when users in Sydney uploaded and downloaded files using SaaS Accelerator were 85 per cent and 75 per cent respectively. By saving minutes of time per day per user, large organisations will be able to reclaim thousands of hours of lost productivity each year.
And, it becomes more powerful with increased usage. That’s because information that has already been downloaded by someone within your network can be shared peer-to-peer among users rather than needing to be downloaded again. As more items are downloaded by users throughout the network, there are fewer things that have to be downloaded again for the first time at some point in the future.
This improves application performance and reduces network costs. Data reduction is an important component of Riverbed SaaS optimisation, particularly as enterprises move to more data-rich collaboration apps.
Ensuring that government IT teams have the right tools to efficiently support their staff working from home is critical, not only for productivity and staff morale today, but going forward. The next step is to ensure that work not only gets done but that it gets done well. While staff may be accepting of second-best app performance in a short-term crisis scenario, it’s clear that this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon and neither are public sector app performance issues.
A full return to the office is not on the cards for many in the short to medium term. For some, not even in the long term. The future success of the public sector will require more flexible, hybrid ways of work, enabled by secure, high-performing IT. Fortunately, this falls into the category of things that we can control.
Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.