Whether you love or hate IT, your technology impacts your employees, your company, and your clients. If you think of your IT as “fine,” you’re not alone; we hear this perspective all the time. Unfortunately, that usually means that either the business’s perspective “fine” could be a little skewed, or the executive team may not have visibility into what’s happening in relation to their team’s and the associated IT struggles.
With that in mind, here are the top 10 hidden pains that your company is probably dealing with, but that you might not even be aware of.
Your IT Support Is Overwhelmed with Calls — Or No One Is Calling IT
These issues are two sides of the same coin. There are many reasons why IT support can be lacking: tech support could be understaffed, stuck spending more time on minor issues than major ones, or missing the proper channels to get the approvals they need. This can lead to long response times for new issues, lack of follow-up, and chronic issues that they simply don’t have time to address, all of which gives employees little confidence in their service and leads them to avoid contacting support altogether. This can be crippling to productivity and business. If your staff has the attitude “why bother calling IT,” it is most definitely impacting your bottom-line revenue.
Especially if your IT team is overwhelmed as described above, chronic issues can plague your organization for so long that people come to see them as normal, even though they impact productivity. These problems can include frequent server or application downtime, poor network performance, email and other communication issues, and more. Each repeat occurrence of a solvable chronic issue is detrimental in terms of employee happiness, confidence and productivity.
Time Spent Managing Vendors
Implementing the right solution with the wrong vendor can easily create more problems than it solves. When things go wrong, often the “blame game” and finger-pointing will ensue, losing sight of the issue itself. Sometimes vendors just aren’t responsive to their customers’ needs, and change requests or upgrades may be put off for weeks or months. It’s hard to know who you can rely on in such a situation, adding a layer of stress that should never be present in a good vendor–customer relationship.
Insufficient Technology-related Processes
If your technology-related processes are lacking, it’s bound to produce a lot of uncertainty in your workplace. The processes include onboarding and offboarding employees, change requests, disaster recovery, access control and more. Do you have these processes documented? Are you verifying adherence to them? Are you confident that a request related to these processes would be completed quickly and efficiently?
Uncertainty Surrounding IT Products
Especially in a small company that may only have one or two IT staff members (or none at all!), it can be very difficult to understand the IT market and what offerings best meet your needs. If you’re spending a lot of time figuring out what tech to buy but still aren’t confident that you’re getting the right product for your organization, this is probably an underlying issue for you.
Not Enough Time Spent on Proactive Management
When you don’t have proactive IT management, you’ll find your IT consistently putting out fires, even if you had advanced warning of a potential issue. Proactive management is a necessity to ensure that you are aware of issues and can mitigate vulnerabilities before they affect your critical systems. It’s not enough just to have someone with the understanding to foresee these potential issues; they must also have enough time to focus on remediation before a minor issue transforms into a major one.
IT Is Used as an Excuse for Delays to Customers
Is your technology actually holding you back from delivering services to your customers? Do you often hear it used as an excuse for missed deadlines or delays? When clients frequently hear that an employee’s email crashed, their PC is broken, their systems are slow, or they can’t access an application, they’re sure to notice the pattern and wonder why these issues never seem to get fixed. This can lead to customer confidence issues, employee frustration and ultimately loss of revenue.
IT Isn’t Increasing Overall Productivity
This is a problem with many possible symptoms. Are employees able to effectively work at home? Do they have access to all the data they need, and is data easily shared within the company and with clients? Are employees frequently contacting tech support? Do you provide enough training for employees to understand the full capabilities of your applications and systems? One of the three major goals of IT is to create efficiency; and that efficiency should be tracked and measured over time.
Your IT Leaves You Open to Unnecessary Business Risk
With all the convenience and new capabilities that technology brings to the workplace, there are also many risks involved. You need to have effective system security, data protection, employee training, and a disaster recovery and avoidance plans in place, otherwise you are exposing your company to unnecessary risks. If your industry requires you to comply with certain standards or regulations, you could be looking at a fine in addition to lost productivity, revenue and trust if a data breach or disaster occurs.
This is an important issue that can impact both security and productivity, but one that you probably won’t be aware of until it’s too late. Who has the “keys to the castle” in your organization? Are you confident that you will have control and operability of key systems if that person leaves the company or is absent? If you don’t have any documentation ready (instructions, network diagrams, a designated backup person, etc.), it could take a very small catalyst to transform an absence into a crisis situation.
How Can You Tell If Your Business Has These Pain Points?
Because these issues may not be easily visible from the outside, you’ll need to do a little detective work. Ask for opinions and feedback around your organization, and take steps to ensure you get honest responses (such as using an anonymous survey). You can also show employees this list and see if anything resonates with them. This could even be a good topic in a future management meeting to get perspectives from all different departments.
How Can You Fix Them?
First and foremost, someone within your organization needs to be accountable for IT. If you’re a smaller company and don’t have a CIO or IT department, someone else in management should take this responsibility so that they have the right authority to bring issues to your attention and drive solutions. It’s also important to promote a culture of open dialogue and feedback so issues don’t fester into long-term resentments, and you can implement fixes as soon as possible after being made aware of a roadblock or problem. Finally, you need to have the right people in place to actually make the necessary changes. This could be your own IT department or a carefully selected managed services provider.