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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GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
5/18/2015 | 1:29:16 PM
This whole study is laughable...
"Let's go to managers and ask them who we blame for all the company inefficiencies and see who they blame...and let's seed this question by putting IT in the mix"...ugh. This is another example of horrible study/poll data. Half of these problems are organizational, not even IT's area - administration, meetings, phone calls? Maybe they are using phone calls because the MANAGERS won't approve the automation tools necessary. As for bringing on new employees and processing purchase orders, there are so many questions (legal and technical) to be answered for these two areas that they, I don't know, HAVE THEIR OWN DEPARTMENT!? However, they asked MANAGERS who don't have to bother with the mountain of paperwork required for legal and legislative reasons, so they have to blame someone. This is just common sense people, no need to spend the time and money on a study...

I think most of us reading these articles already know how to increase efficiencies with IT - but until managers and executives stop looking at IT as a cost center, they will never get them implemented. Can IT do better? I don't think so, given the numerous limitations (legal, financial, temporal) we are required to operate under.

I also don't think anyone would be surprised that POs and new hires are two of the most frustrating areas in administration - how is that IT's fault again?

The only way to make managers see the light is through meetings to explain what we are trying to do - which they also listed as a huge waste of time. However, most managers spend most of their time there, so who is really wasting the company's time again??
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.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
5/18/2015 | 9:48:57 AM
Who Really Has Control?
I am amazed in this day and age how little top level executives understand about how their own business runs.  It's shown over and over again in the TV show Undercover Boss.  If they can't understand the business operation it's not so amazing how even less these top level executives understand about IT utilization.  These are the people in control of how the IT money is spent and IT priorities. Their focus is purely on the dollars so it is not surprising the end result is a lot of unhappy employees blaming IT for their whose. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/18/2015 | 8:38:37 AM
Re: Maybe I'm biased
I'm not saying that IT shouldn't address it but I do want to talk about the shadow IT issue for a bit.  What I see happening with shadow IT most often is that it blows up in face of the person/group that is trying to go around IT.  They start out with something simple like an app that was never intended for corporate use, they start using it then realize that while it works great for them that it doesn't scale, at all and they are stuck in an even worse place now.  So then they start looking at bigger solutions, this leads down one of two paths, either they contract someone to deliver a bigger software solution that just barely works, only works for their team and introduces a bunch of new problems or they realize that when they started out that they never thought about how every department is interconnected and how they would get all of the pieces tied together.  I think the biggest problem with shadow IT is that some people think that what works for them and their grocery list at home can handle all the business functions of a medium sized company.  Sometimes there is a reason that things don't move at the speed of an iPhone app and usually that reason is that what a company does is much more complex than what an individual does with their day. 
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2015 | 11:43:48 PM
IT procurement
Just a thought. Do you think it's good to have own IT procurement team? Otherwise the regular administration team will take ages to complete a task. 
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2015 | 11:00:22 PM
Re: Maybe I'm biased
@saneIT very well said. When it comes to the budget and time it's always the business's' call.  If it can be done in 1 hour they will happy. However if it needs time they will come and say "IT is useless". 
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
5/16/2015 | 10:56:44 PM
Re: Another thought:
I agree. At the same time they think everything will work with a one button click. Therefore they expect it to have all the features in one.
ANON1243441910735
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ANON1243441910735,
User Rank: Strategist
5/16/2015 | 11:39:15 AM
Another thought:
Let me throw another idea out here: Service requests, POs, and other paperwork are an acknowledgement that work must be done by somebody to achieve a desired result. Yes, IT services should be as easy and seamless as FedEx and Amazon. But people *pay* for these services! I design and build databases for a living, and it amazes me how many people, even in IT, think that databases are created magically, overnight, by elves. People want IT services to be instantly and magically available whenever they need them, but they don't want to pay for them, or acknowledge that cost and effort is required to provide them.
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