IT crowd are still seen as Mr Fix-Its

13 May 2008

Over a third (35pc) of requests to the IT department take over 24 hours to complete or do not get completed at all, a new survey has found.

According to the survey by Touchpaper, an international provider of IT business management technology, 63pc of respondents expressed a desire for more automation in the IT support system to speed up response times.

The survey polled 226 end users in UK organisations. Some 85pc of end users expressed a belief that the IT department’s main function is to maintain existing systems and provide IT support when something goes wrong, illustrating that IT is not seen as a core business driver.

Just 15pc said supporting and implementing new corporate projects and enhancing business value via innovation were core activities for IT departments.

Some 32pc of end users contacted their IT department every day, with 28pc doing this on a weekly basis. Nearly half (49pc) indicated that their IT requests were completed within a few hours.

Touchpaper suggested the results show that either the majority of IT departments are offering basic levels of IT support without really embracing their potential as a business change-maker, or are ineffective in communicating their value and goals to the rest of the organisation.

“Despite IT support ranking high on the list of end users’ priorities, the true potential of the IT department has yet to be fully tapped,” said Graham Ridgway, CEO of Touchpaper. “The sheer volume of daily requests from end users suggests that most IT departments are purely fire-fighting – they’re bogged down in day-to-day activities because they don’t have the right systems in place to deal with repetitive, routine requests effectively.”

Touchpaper advocated more use of automated processes and self-help systems in IT to speed up response times for requests and free up IT staff for more strategic endeavours.

Ridgway also said IT managers need to communicate the value of their departments to the organisation more effectively.
“If CIOs and IT directors want to have real influence in the corporate decision-making process, they need to be more effective in making themselves heard within their organisations. This is another way in which better automation and monitoring of business processes can help.

“The bottom line is that IT departments have to prove their worth, as this research shows that users’ perception of IT continues to undervalue the role it plays within an organisation.”

By Niall Byrne