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Are we preventing our IT department from helping us be more efficient?

Wed 9 Sep 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The thing about technology is that it’s one of those things that most people don’t think about until it doesn’t work.  Yet we’re more than ready to jump up and down if the systems we need to do our jobs aren’t functioning. But are we part of the problem?

A poll of 153 IT service management professionals, recently conducted by Unisys1, indicates they spend most of their time having to respond to unnecessary questions from end users, dealing with silos in the organisation and reporting metrics to superiors – rather than being able to provide services to help end users be more productive.

When asked what percentage of their time various tasks occupied, respondents cited the following four as most time-consuming:

Given how much time is consumed on administrative and non-critical tasks, it’s not surprising that the respondents expressed concern about their organisation’s ability to deliver the IT services that end users need in the most efficient way. They cited the biggest challenges for their organisations over the next year would be providing adequate IT support and resources (74 percent of respondents) and dealing with outdated or inefficient service management systems (54 percent).

In addition they identified Sales/Marketing and General Management as the department in their organisation that gave them the “biggest headache” and described one in three (33 percent) of their end users as “demanding and unrealistic”. As I am in both sales and general management I am wondering if I am particularly difficult…

Fundamentally, organisations want to be able to use their IT to drive business decisions. So how do we free up the IT team so that they can support the business more strategically? We need to tackle it from two angles:

1) Make information accessible and meaningful - Most companies waste a lot of time navigating their culture and struggling with processes that aren’t as agile as they want their business to be. While this is an issue wider than the IT department, 81 percent of the IT professional surveyed said that they thought it would be helpful if they and their clients had a single, integrated view of all the business and IT services critical to their jobs.

2) Shift the IT department’s focus from what technology employees use to where they work to how they work - At Unisys we advocate a persona-based approach that identifies groups of workers who have common sets of characteristic in the way they use their IT, and then optimising the productivity of each type of employee – or “employee persona”.

Businesses and government today are increasingly connected and driven by digital technology and their workers need personalised, on-demand, ‘always on’ business and IT services to stay productive and keep their organisations competitive. IT organisations that give their support personnel innovative tools to provide services that integrate delivery channels – from online portals to on-site concierge services – will be the big winners in the evolving digital economy

Edge Service Management by Unisys provides a comprehensive, integrated solution for delivery of digital IT and business services. Using advanced analytics, it helps organisations make employees more productive by enabling them to choose personalised services based on their specific organisational role. It also enables service-management professionals to proactively design and provide the services that individual and groups of related users need most.

1The online poll was conducted by Unisys in February and March of 2015 and drew 153 responses, including 17 from Asia Pacific.

By Greg Thomas

Thomas is Director of Innovation and Strategy, Unisys New Zealand. He has over 30 years’ experience in the IT industry covering various facets including operations, system admin and presales across a variety of technologies. Greg is a customer advocate focussing on the outcomes customers require, rather than just the technology or services that enables it.  

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