Archaic IT costing British business £2bn every year, research shows

Corporate IT departments are failing to keep up with enterprise needs, a new study released by ITSM specialist Hornbill in conjunction with market research firm TNS Omnibus has revealed.

The survey took in some 1,450 UK office workers aged 16-64, finding that over half (53 per cent) feel that IT divisions are not meeting their businesses needs. Specifically, the research points to a lack of support for personal devices, which employees may use to improve productivity when company issued devices are sub-standard.

Indeed, 40 per cent of those questioned stated that they would use personal devices without informing the IT department at all. Despite presenting a security risk, the workers surveyed seemed to think that it was a fair gamble, on average saying that use of their own contraptions saved them two hours a month.

It's a seemingly trivial figure that adds up: Hornbill's research says that UK enterprise loses around £2 billion per year in squandered work hours as a result of IT sectors falling behind the tech curve.

"Technology doesn't stand still: from social networks to apps to tablets, new devices and ways to use them are flying at the workforce at a breakneck pace," said Patrick Bolger, Chief Evangelist at Hornbill. "

"This data shows that if the IT department can't adapt to these changes and support new devices and ways of working, it won't only be unable to keep pace with the needs of the business. It could also become divorced from the needs and expectations of users, meaning that they take more and more into their own hands," he added.

Younger workers were especially critical of corporate IT divisions, with 60 per cent of respondents aged 16-30 venturing that they felt support departments weren't keeping up with the pace of change. About half of the same age demographic said they would deploy their own devices at work without permission from IT.

The survey demonstrated an increased need for IT departments to take responsibility for supporting personal devices, with nearly 60 per cent of the employees polled saying that they felt devices used for work at least a fifth of the time should be backed by companies' tech arms, a provision Mr Bolger agreed with.

"The IT department needs to ensure it is working with its users...to gauge at what point a device needs to be supported. While supporting any and every device might be impractical, the department should make crystal clear at which point it will support devices and ensure that users understand," he contended.

In place of adequate IT support, workers are apparently turning to their peers for assistance: 82 per cent of respondents said they would ask a colleague for help to solve a question or problem in lieu of going directly to the relevant nerds.

Bolger concluded by saying that, rather than viewing peer-to-peer collaboration as a slight, IT departments should seek to encourage and better empower community support channels, in addition to improving direct links with workers, as it would enable them to spend more time keeping the infrastructure up to snuff.

"The IT department needs to foster and underpin this propensity...forums to encourage collaboration, knowledge banks to search research, and self-service tools to encourage fast resolution of issues. The IT department will be less swamped with break/fix activities and will have more time to ensure that it is keeping pace with the needs of the business," he opined.