IT departments' inability to keep up with the needs of their organisation is costing British companies, according to an independent survey commissioned by Hornbill Service Management (www.hornbill.com). In the survey of 1,457 British office workers, 53% state that corporate IT is failing to keep pace with the needs of the business. Some are taking drastic steps to resolve this: 40% state that they will use personal devices without getting permission from, or informing, IT in order to improve productivity. They also provide a clear benefit: workers state that using personal devices would allow them to save on average nearly 2 hours per month through working more effectively and efficiently. While this may seem small, it translates to over £2 billion worth of work per year nationwide.
"Technology doesn't stand still: from social networks to apps to tablets, new devices and ways to use them are flying at the workforce at a breakneck pace," said Patrick Bolger, Chief Evangelist at Hornbill. "This data shows that if the IT department can't adapt to these changes and support new devices and ways of working, it won't only be unable to keep pace with the needs of the business. It could also become divorced from the needs and expectations of users, meaning that they take more and more into their own hands. The IT department needs to ensure it is working with its users, either by supporting their personal devices, or by offering the same capabilities on corporate devices. By doing this it can keep pace with expectations, as well as unlocking previously untapped productivity for the business as a whole."
These findings were even more pronounced among younger workers between the ages of 16-24 and 25-34. 64% of 16-24 year olds and 60% of 25-34 year olds believed that work IT was failing to keep pace with the needs of the business. Almost half of each group admitted to using personal devices without informing or seeking permission from IT (49% and 48% respectively).
The survey also investigated at what point workers felt the IT department should take responsibility for supporting a personal device. More than half (59%) of respondents believe that, as long as a device is used for work at least 20% of the time, it should be supported. Indeed, 38% stated that IT should support all devices regardless of how much (or little) they are used. Only 15% said that the IT team should ensure a device was used for work 51% or more of the time before supporting it.
"IT departments need to work with their users to gauge at what point a device needs to be supported," said Patrick Bolger. "While supporting any and every device might be impractical, the department should make crystal clear at which point it will support devices and ensure that users understand this. It can then put processes in place both to guarantee that level of support and to ensure it doesn't over-stretch itself."
Bolger continued, "The IT department should remember that it is not alone: peer-to-peer and community support are popular channels for users to help one another." 82% of survey respondents said they would ask a colleague to help resolve simple IT questions or problems, rather than going directly to the IT department. The IT department needs to foster and underpin this propensity for users to support each other. Forums to encourage collaboration, knowledge banks to encourage research and self-service tools to encourage fast resolution of issues can all help users support themselves and each other. The IT department itself will be less swamped with break/fix activities and will have more time to ensure that it is keeping pace with the needs of the business.
Bolger concludes, "Shadow IT and personal devices are now legitimate competition for internal IT groups. The only way we can ensure that we perform better than our competitors is to get closer to the customer, understand their challenges and deliver solutions that provide what they need. If IT is seen as a trusted advisor and is agile enough to provide what is needed, when it's needed; there is no reason for the customer to look elsewhere."
The survey was undertaken by independent market research company
TNS Omnibus and covered 1,457 office workers in Great Britain aged
16-64. Fieldwork took place between the 29/05 to 14/06/2012.
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