Gartner Predicts Half of Users Dissatisfied with IT Pace by 2013
July 28, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
OK, so I laughed out loud when I saw this recent report from Gartner. Not because the idea is wrong, but because I thought that all end users were pretty much unhappy with their IT departments.
The report, which will be presented in the coming months at Gartner’s Web Innovation Summit and its Portals, Content, and Collaboration Summit, had this very simple premise: More than 50 percent of end users will be dissatisfied with the slow rate of IT change in their enterprises by 2013. That projection is weighed against the current dissatisfaction with the gung-ho rate of IT departments this year in 2008, which stands at 30 percent of users polled.
So why are users going to be unhappy? Well, it’s the same reason they were unhappy in the mid-1990s, when workers had better PCs and networking with home computers than they had at their offices. Only this time around, it will be Web-based alternatives to the application stacks residing in their corporate data centers that will make some end users happy with the pace of technology change at their companies. And, the issue with speed cuts both ways, according to Gartner, just to make things more complicated.
“What would appear to make life easier for the IT organization can needlessly raise user dissatisfaction,” explained Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner fellow, who conducted a survey of 360 IT professionals in the United States back in March to come up with a pace happiness gauge. “Strategies to deploy technology uniformly everywhere often don’t work as some users have to wait too long for new technology but technological progress comes too rapidly for others.”
The key to happiness, according to Gartner, is to provide new technologies that are deployed outside of enterprises first as optional technologies, allowing early adopters to figure out how to best make use of the new technology and do the social work of introducing it into the corporate culture. This approach allows end users to move at their own pace away from one set of technologies and toward another set. While the deployment of that new technology may be spotty at first, people seem to be happier when they don’t have their workday upset by new software. Imagine that.
To get a sense of how your IT shop is doing, Austin says that the IT department should conduct an annual survey of users to get their feedback. While criticism is never welcome to human beings, it is the only way that things ever improve for the better. Such surveys can also point out who is complaining the most, and therefore locate the potential early adopters for new applications and the laggards who are going to need a little extra tender loving care to move ahead smoothly and willingly.
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