Your IT network might be costing your business more money than you realize.

In Australia, network outages equate to almost two weeks (71 hours) of lost productivity per employee per year — for a 50-person company that’s the equivalent of wasting A$144,563 every 12 months[1].

The situation isn’t much better in New Zealand, where the cost of poor network performance is more than six days (52 hours) lost productivity per employee. To put a monetary value on it, that’s NZ$66,399 down the drain a year[2].

To make matters worse, for businesses on both sides of the Tasman state, this lost productivity adversely impacts revenue sources, making the real loss even greater.

But financial and productivity losses are just the tip of the iceberg. Underperforming networks can also leave many businesses without the ability to accurately capture and analyze data, as well as effectively engage and collaborate with customers and employees in a timely and meaningful manner.

These are just some of the findings from our Tech Research Asia report, The Impact of Poor Network Performance on Business Goals and Costs, which we launched in Australia and New Zealand this week.

We sought to uncover the business impact of poor network and applications performance, and whether current infrastructures can handle the demands of emerging technologies including IoT, augmented reality, and wearables.

What was clear from the findings is that if ANZ businesses are going to optimize the performance of the new, innovative technologies being deployed, they need to first invest in the “mundane” technologies of network management.

More than half of the businesses we surveyed stated their IT networks required upgrading to take advantage of emerging technologies (52 per cent in Australia; 55 per cent in New Zealand).

Surprisingly, it’s productivity and collaboration applications that are the most common workloads degrading network performance – highlighting the extent of the challenge. Australian respondents said email and voice/video applications are having the greatest impact on network performance, while New Zealand firms pointed to voice/video and productivity applications.

As for what’s causing the network outages, 29 per cent of network downtime in Australia can be attributed to service provider outages. Coverage blackspots (28 per cent) and unplanned hardware failures (27 per cent) round out the top three causes of network outages in the country.

Moving to New Zealand, a lack of bandwidth was cited by respondents as the most common cause of network problems (35 per cent), with general network reliability (29 per cent) and unplanned hardware failures (29 per cent) the next most common causes.

Findings from The Impact of Poor Network Performance on Business Goals and Costs highlight the urgency at which organisations need to upgrade their IT infrastructures – especially with the heightened focus on innovation, and expectations for technologies like IoT, cloud and virtual reality.

Businesses can take action today by embracing a software-defined approach to managing the increasing volume of applications deployed in the network – many of which consume large volumes of data. Bringing applications into one central management platform – such as Citrix NetScaler SD WAN – means organizations can reduce bandwidth requirements, increase application performance and gain network flexibility.

We saw a great example of Citrix NetScaler SD WAN in action from Sky TV in New Zealand just a few weeks ago. The pay television provider used the solution to deliver uninterrupted coverage from the Rio 2016 Olympics. With hundreds of thousands of tourists, athletes and media all using the same network, Sky TV understood local networks would be placed under significant levels of stress. The ability of Citrix NetScaler SD WAN to manage unpredictable network connectivity and increased bandwidth demands addressed this concern and mitigated the potential risks.

At its core, Citrix Netscaler SD WAN allows you to take advantage of the latest and greatest technologies without compromising on performance. And as technology plays an increasingly influential and dominant role in all aspects of business, its critical infrastructures can handle all demands we place on them.

Check out the full Citrix report into the business impact of network performance in Australia and New Zealand here.

[1] Based on weekly full-time earnings of A$1,556.30 (ABS, Nov 2015), and average working week of 38 hours.
[2] Based on weekly full time earnings of NZ$1,031 (Statistics New Zealand), and average working week of 40 hours.