Aruba: Midsize Businesses Aggressively Committed to Digital Workplace

Some 24 percent of midsize-business employees said their company had invested in cloud storage software during the last 12 months.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

March 19, 2019

4 Min Read
Survey says

Midsize businesses are committed to investing in technology, but need to make sure they have the necessary skills and security management in place to handle the change, or risk falling behind competitors.

That’s according to The Hidden Middle study by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company. It includes responses from more than 2,700 employees in management and non-management roles across midsize businesses.

Midsize businesses now account for more than 60 percent of U.S. jobs and are investing fast in technology.

Patrick LaPorte, Aruba‘s senior director of product marketing, tells Channel Partners that as the adoption and integration of technology becomes a bigger priority across the corporate spectrum, midsize companies and their channel partners have a distinct opportunity.


Aruba’s Patrick LaPorte

“As this survey shows, midsize-business employees are on average more ambitious to make better use of technology, and more switched onto the opportunities it brings, even if that means taking the occasional security risk,” he said. “It is here that channel partners can connect the dots. Partners can provide support to medium-size businesses and help them rise to the challenge of meeting employee expectations by securing and efficiently managing connected devices, ensuring they have the right infrastructure that not only creates memorable experiences, but proactively manages security settings so as not to restrict employee usage.”

One increasingly popular way to see and manage the devices and network infrastructure is through cloud-managed networking, LaPorte said. The centralized, single-pane-of-glass nature of cloud-managed networking combined with near-zero implementation costs makes it an ideal solution for midsize businesses that typically have small IT teams supporting multiple remote offices, he said.

Nearly two-thirds of midsize-business employees rated the “choice of technology, applications and IT support” at their company as either good or very good. That compared to 53 percent of those also surveyed from the largest companies. Midsize businesses also are ahead of the competition in their use of advanced audio-visual technologies such as voice-activated and wireless communication tools, which are offered by an average of 27 percent of midsize businesses, compared to 16 percent of smaller and 22 percent of larger employers.

Some 24 percent of midsize business employees said their company had invested in cloud storage software during the last 12 months, compared to 17 percent of large firms. These businesses also are prioritizing cybersecurity software: Thirty-nine percent reported investments in this area in the last year, compared to 31 percent of large businesses.

In light of their commitment to new technology, midsize business employees are significantly more likely to rate their “environment at work” as either good or very good in comparison to those at the largest companies. Businesses of this size also are more agile when it comes to offering flexibility for employees to use personal devices for work.

More than three-quarters of midsize-business employees either agreed or strongly agreed that “if not managed correctly, the introduction of new technology could damage employee morale,” while 78 percent agreed that “my organization’s management and control of the connected devices that are in use could be improved.”

With two-thirds of employees at midsize businesses saying their organization was “at risk of falling behind competitors” by not implementing new technology, the pressure to keep pace is …

… clear — but so, too, are the associated dangers.

“When it comes to emerging technologies, medium-size business employees are notably bolder in their vision and action,” LaPorte said. “Three-quarters (75 percent) believe that the workplace should be fully automated, with temperature, lighting and a host of other physical and digital settings controlled by artificial intelligence (AI). This is in contrast to enterprise employees, who at 66 percent, are less sure of this technology’s future. Looking further ahead, 58 percent of medium-size business employees think augmented and virtual reality will become the norm within the next five-to-10 years, an opinion that just 42 percent of enterprise employees share.”

Despite being conscious of their organizations’ cybersecurity policies, nearly three-quarters of midsize-business employees said they had taken risks with company data in the past year; in addition, less than one-half said that security was the responsibility of “every employee” — compared to two-thirds of those who work for the largest employers.

“Effective cybersecurity relies on a combination of robust network management and a compliance culture embedded across the entire business,” LaPorte said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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