Branch office staff 'second-class citizens'

Branch office staff 'second-class citizens'

IT departments prioritise needs of head office employees, finds survey

Two-thirds of branch office employees do not receive the same levels of IT resource and support as staff at head office, according to research commissioned by Citrix.

The key bugbears are slow or non-working applications, and delays in the time taken for IT departments to fix system problems.

The research found that only a third of branch employees have local tech support personnel, compared to 70 per cent at headquarters.

Furthermore, while 60 per cent of staff at head office have the ability to work remotely, only 42 per cent of branch office employees can access corporate applications from home or while on the road.

The largest disconnect between head office and branch office is access to senior management, cited as an available asset to 84 per cent of headquartered staff but just 36 per cent of branch office workers.

"Companies fail to evaluate exactly what a branch office needs," said Richard Jackson, area vice president for UK, Ireland and South Africa at Citrix.

"Maintaining optimum efficiency at branch offices requires a variety of well-organised, well-managed IT, network and communications functions. Without a tailored strategy, branch office performance will inevitably suffer."

It is not all bad news for branch office workers, however, as the research indicated that 60 per cent believe that the office surroundings are 'pleasant' compared to 48 per cent of head office staff.

According to reports by analyst firm Gartner, 80 per cent of enterprise staff now work outside large headquarters, either at home, on the road or in a branch office.

But only one in three companies benchmarks the performance of branch office against head office infrastructure.

Jackson concluded that companies need to make sure that branch office workers are not "at the mercy of their Wan connection", and employ measures to ensure sufficiently fast access to applications and support to rectify problems.