Insights

Tech equality is a no brainer that can save companies millions - so why isn’t everyone prioritising it?

By

Actual Experience

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

With every new technical innovation there are those who can and cannot afford it. When it comes to luxury devices and software, this isn’t so much of a problem. But when it comes to the infrastructure that holds all digital experiences together, i.e. the internet, tech inequality is a crucial issue for companies, even for society as a whole. 

We’ve spent billions to build the internet, so spending a fraction extra to make the digital human experience equal is a no brainer. Especially since the impact on productivity will save companies millions more in return. The problem is that businesses shy away from the opportunity because they’re not sure where to start.

The impact of tech inequality

Those on a low income are now working from home and working slower thanks to insufficient broadband. Even those on a higher income may struggle to put together a home set up that can accommodate their family of six all using the internet at the same time. 

When it comes to employee internet capabilities, the bottom 10% of a company will be facing more daily frustrations, dropping off more calls and wasting more precious minutes every time they access the company cloud storage. This might lead to falling behind, or having to catch up while others are enjoying their leisure time.

When you narrow the assessment to the bottom 5% or 2% of a company, the impacts of poor internet are even more extreme. You’re disadvantaged structurally and it’s much harder to jostle for position. You’re more likely to miss your targets and lose out on promotion opportunities. 

Many of the companies we work with at Actual Experience are global, which means that sometimes you can see internet inequalities on a national scale. Some countries simply have better internet infrastructure than others. If a global company doesn’t take this into account, or improve the capabilities of the disadvantaged, then members of the same team who work from different continents will be working with different handicaps.

Read about how we discovered a 9 hour equality gap for one of our customers

Tackling internet inequality is a chance to give back to your employees. To fulfil a duty of care to those who have been pulling extra weight to keep up with the rest.

In case you need more reasons to act

If you need to justify action from a bottom line perspective, all this positive action will save countless wasted employee hours and, often, hundreds of millions of associated revenue.

Tech equality doesn’t just enable efficient operations, it offers opportunities to solve other problems too. 

It’s a way to get ahead of the curve with your business’ carbon footprint. If we can make the internet work properly for everyone, everywhere, all the time, cutting travel becomes a genuine option instead of a forced circumstance of COVID-19. 

If we can elevate the human experience of digital, then we don’t need to get in a car, or on a train or plane to meet a partner or client, to attend a conference or make a global organisation work. Making the internet work properly is a relatively small investment that can enable a complete change for travel.

So what’s stopping us?

Between the router in an employee’s home and the digital destination of their work - whether it’s a data centre, cloud host or software application - there are a whole load of components that can slow down or stop a person’s work. 

The internet does not exist in the ether, but on tens of millions of computers transmitting, storing and sharing information. There are great engineering projects like the London Internet Exchange where the wires of BT, Sky and Virgin link up. Then there are high speed connections that carry information across oceans, countries and continents - all in a fraction of a second - to hosts and applications, end users and corporate infrastructures.

Finding the fault on the line is not a simple task, but it’s one that our co-founder Prof. Jonathan Pitts found an answer to. And it’s what we’ve dedicated ourselves to since he first started working on the idea in 1999.

Businesses sometimes stop short of solving internet inequality because first, they don’t know how to identify who is struggling and second, they don’t know where the problem lies in their internet infrastructure.

At Actual Experience, we know how to find those facing issues, to locate the largest issues, to prioritise what will make the most impact to fix, and to provide IT with actions they can take right now. 

It’s a minor investment for a major impact: for equality, wellbeing, efficiency, productivity, potential revenue, and even carbon footprint - all of which we can assess and provide the data on. So while other companies are figuring out where to start, you can just get started.

Start reducing digital inequality today

If you’d like to learn exactly how your digital systems are impacting the human experience of your employees, and how you can affect positive change, Actual Experience can help. You’ll find more about our business analytics tools and their benefits here.