10 Ways IT Drives Everyone Else Crazy - InformationWeek

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5/15/2015
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10 Ways IT Drives Everyone Else Crazy

Managers are frustrated with IT. A study shows where they think IT is failing them.
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(Image: Hartwig HKD via Flickr)

(Image: Hartwig HKD via Flickr)

IT is wasting the time of managers and employees alike, according to a study conducted by Lawless Research on behalf of ServiceNow. In fact, so much time is being wasted, it can be measured in days per week, rather than in minutes. Managers blame time-consuming, frustrating work processes, many of which involve technology.

The study surveyed 915 managers at US and UK companies with at least 500 employees and asked them about their biggest pain points with productivity.

In the course of our reporting at InformationWeek, we hear a lot from CIOs and other IT executives about how IT is being increasingly called upon to "transform the business." This study begs the question of whether the best way to "transform" might be to enable the business to run with as little friction as possible. The problem, according to the end users surveyed by Lawless Research, is that IT has not automated the processes that make the business work. All this time users are spending on getting day-to-day work done is time they can't spend on transforming the business itself.

Of course, it isn't all IT's fault. Consumerization of IT may be leading end users to have unrealistic expectations about how technology can work in the enterprise. Sure, it is easy to pay for a latte at Starbucks with your smartphone. Should it be that easy to create a purchase order at work, or process a major procurement decision? It is easy to set up a shopping profile on Amazon. Is it good security to set up a new hire's account just as quickly?

Even if you assume a level of impatience on the part of your users, the Lawless study paints a picture of a set of antiquated IT services not fit for agile business in a mobile world. It is clear that at least some of the fault for the inefficiencies reported by users falls on IT.

Check out some of the most troubling findings from the study, and then decide for yourself what falls on IT and what falls on unrealistic user expectations. And tell us, in the comments section below, whether you've ever fallen victim to these productivity killers yourself.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/22/2015 | 2:03:06 PM
Re: Nice systems
@vnewman2- Welcome back. Sorry about the injury. Glad it has healed. Sorry about the access issue. To me, that is a great story of how both IT and the business are at fault and not working together. Somehow someone decided this kind of "Security" was needed. But it seems neither effective, efficient, or secure. So now everyone looks dumb and the blame will undoubtedly shift around until it stops randomly like a roulette wheel. this is what a CIO is for, right? To help push through all of that and show leadership.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/22/2015 | 12:24:55 PM
Re: ah the war
@hho927- Ha! I think every shaow IT article we do is that article. But I'll see what I can throw together to help you guys. :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/18/2015 | 1:29:19 PM
Re: Nice systems
@mejiac- And here's the interesting thing. I think there is every reason for you to be happy that the day after they walk into the office they are ready to work. Seems like a very reasonable time. From a manager's point of view that is 24 hours too slow.

I can speak personally to this. The first day I walked onto a job a few years ago, I had no laptop or access to any system. My boss expected me, however, to have these things and even scheduled meetings and work for the first day. I ended up access things through my phone and using credentials from another person to do work until i had a laptop. 

Bad security. Bad work conditions. But my manager needed me instantly. Is IT right and the manager wrong? Or is it the other way? I don't know. But that is the disconnect. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/18/2015 | 1:24:13 PM
Re: Another thought:
@anon- True enough on the magic elves front. But I think the disconnect come sin from the point of view that the business *is* paying for IT. It wants to know what it is getting for that cost. It is, of course, up to It leaders to do a better job of explaining what you can get at various budgeting levels. And showing how automating a certain task might lead to a better ROI.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/18/2015 | 1:21:35 PM
Re: Maybe I'm biased
@SaneIt- It is true that shadow IT often runs into trouble. But as SaaS solutions get easier and easier, i wonder if it will always be the case.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/18/2015 | 1:19:59 PM
Re: Speaking of IT inefficiency...
@anon- Trust me when I say that I didn't decide to split anything because of advertising. I split it because we've been told by many that it is the way they prefer to digest complicated information. Had I taken this really long article and piled it onto one page it would have been an overwhelming mess of numbers. We have been told by many people that when we have a large amount of data in one article they prefer to see it broken up.

I'm sure there are many ways to break it up into useful, digestable and easily read bits. This way seems to be one of the popular ways in which to do it for our readers and those all over the internet.

As for advertising, yes, it is on every page of the site. That's a necessary part of the internet. I am sorry this choice wasn't the way you wanted the information.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/15/2015 | 1:01:26 PM
Re: Nice systems
@TerryB- I think with onboarding they are looking for self-service. Instead of saying "Joe Schmoe is starting Wednesday and he will need access to x, y, and z" in an email they want to be able to have some sort of service that they can just type it one spot so they don't have to inform multiple IT people. 

For instance, I've worked in companies where to get me set up a manager had to email IT support to get me a computer, HR to get me a desk, and mutiple admins to get me accounts set up for various systems. I think they'd like one place where they can put Jane Schmoe's start date and what kind of access she needs.

As for marketing services, we're talking web development, design, data, etc.

I agree with you that the automation numbers seemed really low. I'm wondering if they are responding not to the system itself but the business reality. Maybe it is a case where using the system isn't as easy as the email or that the system doesn't work half the time without the email poke at someone. Something like that.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/15/2015 | 12:17:14 PM
Re: It Costs to Prove Costs
@Technocrati- I generally agree with you it isn't entirely IT's fault. But I just cringe at the idea that someone has to pick up a phone or send an email to get a purchase order. Surely, there is some low hanging fruit we can all deal with.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/15/2015 | 12:15:41 PM
Re: Is IT Really the Problem Here?
@[email protected] Well, i don't disagree with anything you're saying. I have not doubt you do get bogged down in all of that and the progress seems minimal and the process is wasteful.

My only answer is to try again. Giving up on a process automatically makes it fail. Walking in and saying "let's avoidn the mistakes we made last time" is the way change happens. 

But I totally sympathize.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/15/2015 | 12:13:25 PM
Re: Maybe I'm biased
@SaneIT- I get that. The fault goes all around. But here's the thing: there are two ways this gets fixed. IT steps up and gets persistent about it or they wait for the business to get so fed up they hire a vendor without them. That's how shadow IT spreads. 

It used to be that only It could fix it and so you'd get around to it. Now, there are enough vendors out there that even if the solutions aren't good, they are easily purchased. Is that what we want?
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