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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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 8:10:24 AM
There will always be admin work
As a non manager I always assumed that admin work was a part of the job description for managers. In fact I thought it was most of the reason for managers. While a company can automate a lot of paper forms to computer generated forms with some of the fields already filled out or the ability to search the electronic records instead of having to go through a ton of filing cabinets, admin work os part of large companies. IT can't change that by itself. Just because you've automated a form does not mean someone in authority doesn't need to fill out the proper information, check it over and sign off on it. Without the human eye on admin work important processes could have serious consequences. For managers out there, considering admin work isn't going to go away, how much time do you think you should be spending on admin work?
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.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
5/22/2015 | 1:41:36 PM
Re: Nice systems
@David - I just returned to work from a short medical leave (remember the iSocks we discussed? They could have saved me from this!) and the day of my return was day we rolled out a firm-wide CRM product (Dyanmics).  I am the IS Trainer, so I was scheduled to run a class on the hour, every hour.  The problem was, IS locked me out of the system to ensure I wouldn't use my remote access on my leave.

It took our corporate location 6 hours to get around to reactivating my account, even though it was as simple as letting me know what they had changed my temporary password to.  This happened even though they had all the paperwork and were warned a full week in advance of when I'd be back.  Apparently some approval process has to be completed by HR at Corporate, then at our local HR office, then something has to happen in PeopleSoft, then Corporate IS gets involved.

I had to enlist the help of trainers in other offices to do webinars with the people in my office instead.  I just sat in and watched.  Truly it was embarrasing, especially with the VIPs we had in attendance.  
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
5/22/2015 | 1:07:36 PM
Re: Another thought:
Agree :-) Everybody wants easy ways then when there is a compromise it's the IT dept.

Why 12345 is the most popular password? It's easy.
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. :)
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2015 | 4:48:01 PM
ah the war
You should have another article: '10 Ways Everyone Else Drive IT Crazy'
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/19/2015 | 8:33:47 AM
Re: Maybe I'm biased
Even with SaaS what will happen or does tend to happen from what I've seen is that one person or group defines what they want without talking to anyone else in the company so you end up with a stand alone solution that no one else can use and it adds a layer of complexity for everyone else.  It's just one of those things I guess, everyone knows what they want but not how anyone else works so they do what they thinks is best for them and they make a mess.  Maybe that's why IT departments exist even if people don't like going through them to get things done.  If a company does spin up an SaaS solution and someone is paying for it then the question has to be how much more would it cost to do it right and make it fit everyone and would the departments be willing to split the costs.
Mark532010
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Mark532010,
User Rank: Moderator
5/18/2015 | 1:57:48 PM
Re: Another thought:
It is interesting how PO's are a reoccuring theme. It is hard to imagine how the PO process makes managers unhappy, I am guessing it is the amount of time it takes or the number of checks and balances they must go through (detailed itemization, authorization, loading dock receipts, etc.)

Managers tend to forget many of those checks and balances were put in for a reason. These systems prevent unscrupulous employee theft or prevent lawsuits due to lack of information.

Automated purchasing systems can help with the process, but are not a magic-bullet solution, just as automated-help desk software doesn't suddenly make the tech department more efficient.

It is obviously a very real problem, but I don't think sending in a PO by email is the source of frustration
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
5/18/2015 | 1:46:26 PM
Re: Nice systems
@David Wagner,

Thank you for your comment.

I do agree that there's definitly a disconnect, specially when the expectation is not realistic.

From what I've seen, this really depends on the are that you're engaging. Within IT, everybody is aware that there's a ramp up period, that can be as short as a day to even a couple of weeks before a person is fully productive.

Other times, the hiring manager is so disconnected from how IT procurement runs, that he assumes that on the day the employee starts, things should be up and running straight of the bat.

There really isn't a clear answer, and many times this does lead the new hire to re-think the job offer since they're already being told there late on a deliverable.
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. 
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