The three things the business wants from IT

Summary

Most IT leaders focus on project work. But the success of an IT departments is a lot more dependant other ability to provide fast, reliable tools, provide quick and helpful support and mobile access to their data and apps.

Introduction

Our research shows that most IT leaders spend over 50% of their time focused on project related work: either working directly on projects or preparing projects (business cases, vendor selection, etc.).

But recent surveys have shown that the success of IT departments is a lot more dependant on basic IT services. IT leaders ability to deliver user support services is a much better predictor of business value (and continued employment).

So what does the business consider the basics?

1. Fast, reliable tools

The first item that consistently comes out of user satisfaction surveys is the need to have performing and reliable tools (computers, equipment, network, applications). Most users spend on average of 5 and a half hours a day in front of a computer. Performance and reliability issues quickly become very annoying.

How to provide: Unfortunately, users typically don't call the helpdesk when they suffer from performance or reliability issues. Successful IT departments proactively reach out to the users before they call in by doing walkabouts (physically going in each department and inquiring to the users).

2. Quick, helpful support

Computers have a habit of breaking at the worst possible moment. Right before an important meeting or

Users are good at self-directing their calls. If they are not busy, and the problem is easy to explain, they will prefer to send an email or fill out a form. On the other hand, if the problem needs immediate attention or is difficult to explain they will prefer to call someone directly.

How to provide: Support should be available through many different channels: phone, email, web and SMS. The strategy to reduce cost by only offering email support quickly backfire, IT being perceived as unhelpful and surrounded by red tape.

3. Mobile access

Mobile access is often an afterthought for most IT leaders. Few applications are available on mobiles, and no one looks at it as a serious business need, except for a few special cases (executives, sales, etc.).

But the reality is that a large portion of the content is now accessed through mobile devices, and it is quickly becoming a preferred way to access information for many people, even if they are sitting right at their computer.

How to provide: Applications and support should be available for users of mobile devices. For many applications,  mobile devices should be considered a principal access point instead of a sideline.

Conclusion

Successful IT leaders need to spend as much time managing their basics as they are doing working on projects and new initiatives. It is easy to borrow from the basics to finance projects, but this strategy will lead to issues even in the short-term with equipment and support becoming less reliable. The business value of IT will thus be compromised.

Posted on November 13, 2015 and filed under Business Value of IT, blog.