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Bridging the IT gap for a better digital experience

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Wichy)

Technology has revolutionised the way that companies conduct business, with IT now serving as the hub for all work. In fact, office workers spend on average six and a half hours per day working at their computer.

Serving as the backbone of the working day, employees now rightly expect the constant smooth-running of IT services, alongside the introduction of new, exciting technology. However, the next, shiny new thing is not of benefit if the basics aren’t in place, and the employee digital experience is poor. A huge reliance on technology to get the job done means that if tech isn’t working well, no one is working well.

The IT disconnect

The increasing pervasiveness – and complexity – of workplace technology makes room for many more opportunities for technology to go wrong, which can leave employees feeling frustrated and unproductive. Every day, employees settle for small IT glitches such as a slow internet connection, being unable to attach large documents to an email, or long lag-times when trying to run multiple applications at once. Despite this, many employees choose to not report these complications to tech support.

The constant interruption of failing technology is creating an unpleasant digital experience for end users, however, unless end users are directly prevented from using applications, they are unlikely to report IT anomalies or malfunctions. It’s much easier to restart a program or click “x” to make the error message disappear than submitting a ticket. This under-reporting of technical difficulties is giving IT departments the perception of smooth service delivery while, in reality, end users are experiencing constant obstacles and frustration. And think about that for a minute. IT is completely dependant on those users to report issues. Without that information, IT is in the dark.

The productivity problem

The Forrester report “Mind the Perception Gap” compared this reality against the perception, illustrating that what IT sees through dashboards and data centres is far from what end users actually experience. Suffering from IT issues and trying to fix them is one challenge; being unaware of them and not knowing what needs fixing is quite another.

A survey of office workers found that unnoticed and unresolved technical glitches ultimately reinforce the status-quo of productivity loss which, when quantified, can translate to dire profit loss. The surveyed workers said they waste an average of 5 per cent of their working day due to connection or technology related issues. This equates to 21 minutes of lost productivity per day, 1.75 hours per week, or one working day per month and 12 days a year per person. This comes in at a cost of approximately £3.4 billion to UK employers annually. For your company, multiply 12 days by the number of employees at your firm, and then by their average salary per day to get your yearly productivity loss. It’s staggering. 

A proactive approach

For IT departments to truly understand employees’ experiences with technology, they can follow three basic steps to transform their IT Services Management (ITSM) and adopt a more proactive approach.

In order to minimise these productivity losses, it is critical for businesses to focus on holistic IT service optimisation. Businesses need to transform their IT services first; it’s simply not possible to build a world-class business on an unstable, unreliable, unproductive foundation.

This doesn’t only mean responding to IT requests or complaints in a timely manner. A major part of managing the end-user experience is changing the discussion from a reactive one (responding to an issue) to a proactive one (avoiding issues before they arise or resolving them before the user calls), to gain back business productivity and give end users their deserved efficiency.

For IT departments to truly understand employees’ experiences with technology, they can follow three basic steps to transform their IT Services Management (ITSM) and adopt a more proactive approach:

1. Prioritise

IT can’t fix everything at once, so it’s important to obtain the full scope of issues in real-time and prioritise them accordingly. Using digital experience management software that feeds back real-time data to IT teams, organisations can understand the consumption of applications and the end-to-end performance of its estate. Then IT can begin to understand what to prioritise, establishing a stabilisation effort based on what will have the biggest impact on the digital employee experience.

2. Transform

When proactive action is taken to stabilise the technical environment, not only are users more productive, but they call IT less frequently and ticket-counts start to reduce. With the new understanding of how the environment is performing, and the time savings from adopting a more proactive approach, organisations can take a more strategic approach to digital transformation programmes. Now, IT teams can make data-driven decisions to plan changes, manage transformation and watch production roll-out with reduced risk.

3. Feedback

One of the most crucial steps is making sure IT teams are able to get constant feedback from employees to ensure that they are constantly improving the service and meeting the needs of the business. By gaining real-time insight and user sentiment, IT teams are able to take action directly on what’s most important to them, improving response-rate from a typical 2 per cent – 3 per cent to 70 per cent and allowing for the future prioritisation of what employees require.

Walk in their shoes

IT teams can work towards creating a stronger digital employee experience by putting themselves “in the employees’ shoes”. To establish a more proactive approach and prevent technology issues before they arise, IT teams should consider implementing a monitoring platform that looks at issues from the user’s perspective. This way, issues that are symptomatic of a larger problem across the entire network can be identified promptly, and prevented before they reach other teammates. Managing the digital disconnect demands more than just fixing problems case-by-case — IT teams need the tools and technology to identify, assess and remediate issues in real-time. Employees deserve a strong, reliable digital experience. To achieve this, IT teams should consider taking a more proactive approach to truly understand the end users’ experiences with workplace technology. When IT departments have complete visibility into both technical data AND user sentiments, decision makers are given new insights that can support change management, reduce risk and improve overall productivity.

Tim Flower, Global Director of Business Transformation, Nexthink