A recent survey conducted by the IT consultancy Touchpaper asked 226 UK end users about their perceptions of the services provided by the IT departments in their respective organisations.
The researchers found that IT support, rather than being understood as an integral part of business strategy, such as sales or marketing, was seen more as a slightly unreliable handyman – a ‘fixer’ of problems that you’d often rather fix yourself; and worse, a ‘fixer’ that often doesn’t get the job done.
According to the survey, almost a third of end users said they contacted IT support everyday, with just under one half (49%) reporting that their problem was solved within a few hours. However, a whopping 35% said that their requests took over 24 hours to be resolved or were not resolved at all, all of which conjures up an image of an ever-swelling backlog of unsolved, unending, techie problems.
In something resembling a council of despair, respondents who were disappointed by the quality of support provided wanted to take the DIY approach and become less reliant of the IT ‘handyman’: 63% of end users said they would like a more automated IT support system to enable greater self-help.
A striking finding of the study was the general ignorance about the role of IT in business. A huge 85% of respondents believed that the IT department’s main function was reactive - maintaining existing systems and providing support when things go wrong. Despite the huge investment made in recent years by global consultancies into developing IT as a key driver of strategy, only 15% thought that IT was central to business innovation.
But it seems that the respondents can’t really be blamed for this. One key finding of the survey was that IT departments were spending so much time carrying out basic repetitive tasks, that their potential to innovate or contribute to strategic planning was being drastically hindered.