Next generation technology solutions are emerging at a prolific rate, yet enterprises across Europe could find their integration hindered due to a lack of insight into the business networks; the applications running on them; and a lack of forward planning.

A concern is that many critical business growth opportunities will be missed, and the technology best suited to empowering successful, dynamic, (and most importantly) agile enterprises will continue to perform with significant problems on legacy systems.

These are the findings of the ‘Killer Apps Study 2012’ – a pan-European research study conducted by Ipanema Technologies which questioned 550 IT decision makers. The vicious circle begins with the IT manager being simply unaware of the number of applications running on the network, (an alarming one in three of respondents advised they’re unaware of this figure), and is compounded by a lack of insight into how much bandwidth they are individually and collectively consuming (69% advised such).

What is evident is that these blind spots are causing major network performance problems across Europe – 82% of survey respondents reported issues in the last twelve months. Most concerning is the fact that the majority (74%) of the applications which were cited as having experienced problems are business critical: ERP, CRM and video-based communication applications.

Worryingly, application performance issues are only being identified by end-users flagging problems, rather than through proactive monitoring and analysis. In the research, user complaints were the second most cited alarm bell indicating performance problems.

Future problems to be addressed

In addition, with the growth of video-based communications and collaboration expected by a significant proportion of businesses (42%), if these problems are not addressed, bandwidth hungry applications will only exacerbate them. Video is seen by many as a critical element of tomorrow’s dynamic and successful enterprise – deploying such solutions badly, or at below optimum performance levels will undoubtedly hurt business operations.

Now, if enterprises cannot foresee problems with such fundamentally critical applications, nor monitor the quality of them across networks until they reach the end user, how can they be sure the business is running as efficiently as possible from a technical perspective?

There is no panacea product

First off, let’s be honest about there being a simple solution – there is none. No panacea product exists which will take this headache away from the IT department. The answer lies in analytical insight into networks and applications running across them, tied in with a robust, long term strategy for managing the problems of today with the challenges on the horizon. Such a strategy needs to be developed with experienced, agile-minded experts on business architecture, and must take into account the analytic data drawn from the existing network.

By addressing the gaps in knowledge of the current set-up, the IT manager can call a stop to the problems bugging performance, and ultimately user productivity, and can then move toward planning a strategic long-term approach once the basics are in place.

Businesses need every opportunity to flourish in this challenging economic environment, and avoidable problems should be eradicated. Unless the underlying architecture of the network, (and the problems caused by a lack of insight and awareness of the business critical applications running across it) are addressed, these problems will continue to mount. Can your business afford to be so naïve?