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How to close the glaring gap between enterprise IT departments and end users

(Image credit: Image Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock)

In the past, how often have you gone out of your way to compliment your company’s IT department on a job well done? Whether they were fixing your computer’s hardware or updating a glitch-ridden application, chances are you were entirely too frustrated with the process as a whole to actually thank them. A big reason why is because even if the fix only took a couple of hours, you lost valuable time and weren’t able to properly do your job. 

In situations like this, the thought may have crossed your mind: why didn’t IT see this coming and fix it already? And perhaps, more importantly, why doesn’t IT focus more on my needs and less on theirs? Should I just ask my tech-savvy work buddy to fix my computer for me instead?

The fact that there’s a disconnect between IT departments and end users is no secret – and thoughtful CIOs and business leaders are taking notice. According to research from Forrester, 62 percent of IT professionals note that they actively prioritize what end users want and need to be successful, whereas only 23 percent of end users feel that IT is set up to make the lives of employees easier.

A discrepancy this apparent highlights the overarching need for enterprises to set up a more collaborative approach to IT operations; one where end users and IT staff work as a cohesive team, rather than two entirely separate entities of the business. To make inroads towards this goal, business leaders should first identify what successful IT initiatives look like and try to emulate them.

But the bigger question is: what do successful IT departments look like? To start, organizations should look to companies that already have deployed successful IT ecosystems, ones where collaboration and forward-thinking processes are in place – and where there’s a mutual general satisfaction between IT staff and employees in other departments.

With this desired outcome in mind, it becomes the responsibility of the business to put the right players in place to make IT a true win-win situation, company-wide. To do so, businesses should consider taking the following 3 key steps to set their company’s IT ecosystem up for success:

Proactive IT = Happy Employees

Recent research shows that only around 50 percent of IT problems are actually reported to support by end users. Enterprises need true visibility into the full scope of companywide issues to be proactive and remediate minor IT headaches – ones that employees may not even know are happening. Without this insight, the support team will  have no idea that they’re occurring in the first place and will be unable to prevent them in the future.

By shifting to a more proactive model, IT departments can better serve end users by making sure that specific business requirements are taken care of. With real-time device and application data in the hands of IT professionals, they can be more preemptive and fix issues before the end user realizes they’re even having them. This way, IT isn’t waiting for end users to reach out and file tickets; instead, they recieve feedback ahead of time – painting a clear picture of what employees are using to do their jobs now and what they want in the future, whether it is a new and improved device or a more user-friendly application.

With real-time data easily displayed, the IT staff has end users’ feedback without ever needing to ask for it. Do employees have the tools they need to carry out their daily tasks effectively, and are those tools performing well? With this, IT staff can not only proactively identify issues, but can also uncover ways to make employees’ workflows more efficient.

Real-Time Communication

Think about this: would you rather have to report a problem you’re having with your computer, or would you find it more helpful if IT reached out and let you know that something’s whacky with your system? 

A communication loop that works both ways is very important for next-generation IT management. Real-time communication and a consistent feedback loop enables IT to make necessary adjustments and measure progress – making sure that the issues they’ve previously solved haven’t popped up elsewhere within the organization. 

IT Alignment with Business Objectives

IT departments don’t have to just be a department that sits back and waits for different issues to pop up anymore. By tapping into more advanced technologies, companies have the unique opportunity to actually align their IT architecture with key business KPIs using end-user experience management. 

Rather than being a secluded department that simply answers support tickets when called on, IT can answer different questions that clearly show an initiative’s ROI. For example, what IT functions are directly impacting different areas of the business, and how can the ecosystem be arranged to ensure that it is helping achieve company-wide objectives? A well-aligned IT department is a successful IT department. 

The Hero Behind the Scenes

By taking these 3 steps, CIOs and business leaders are able to construct an IT architecture free of the general feeling of dismay and negativity towards IT. Instead of complaining about how long it took IT to fix your computer or application, it’s likely that you’ll instead be singing their praises and thankful the next time they proactively reach out to remediate an issue – one you probably had no idea you were having.

Simply put, the only real way to fix the apparent gap between IT and end users is to build a well-constructed bridge – one that enables IT staff to be more proactive and that promotes open communication while aligning with an enterprise’s overall objectives. By arming IT with the ability to seamlessly have eyes on the entire enterprise IT ecosystem – allowing them to see more, sooner, and leveraging automation to remediate issues without using IT resources, IT is able to truly become a behind-the-scenes hero of the organization. 

This can all be done without overwhelming support with insane amounts of support tickets by leveraging advanced automation – a true win for both end users and IT.

Vincent Bieri, Co-founder and Board Member of Nexthink 

Image Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Vincent Bieri
Vincent Bieri is Co-founder and Board Member of Nexthink. As Chief Evangelist at Nexthink he is responsible for leading product marketing. He is continuously involved with customers to improve current product and shape next-generation technology.