Building Bridges between Users and IT

You’ve probably experienced it many time—the adversarial relationship between IT and the end user community.  Forrester Research reports that just 35% of business decision-makers say IT provides high quality, timely end user support.   That means as much as 65% of employees increasingly are circumventing their IT organizations in search of faster support and problem resolution.

IDC too has looked at the problem, which it calls IT friction. This results from the rising cost in both hard dollars and lost productivity as individuals struggle to use a combination of corporate, third-party and personal IT platforms across offices, homes, planes, trains and hotels.

This is not exactly new but the latest trend, part of the consumerization of IT that this blog covered a little over a year ago, exacerbating the situation. Social business, mobile web, BYOD, the proliferation of app stores, cloud-based anything, and more demand a solution before end users render IT irrelevant.

To that end software provider BMC launched MyIT, enterprise software that empowers employees to take personal control over the delivery of the IT services and information they need. The goal is to let users access and manage their use of IT services anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

A couple of organizations already are adopting MyIT.  PEMEX, a large energy company, will adopt the BMC tool for its more than 75,000 IT users. PEMEX expects that the use of MyIT will reduce the company’s cost of service delivery and enable it to compete more effectively, both for markets and for talent.

That also is the expectation at Carfax, another early adopter.  The problem, as Robert Stinnett, senior analyst at Carfax, sees it is that “IT people and non-IT people sometimes talk two different languages, and it’s hard to cross that barrier. In fact, a lot of times there’s this unfounded fear of IT because the users typically don’t get the information they need, or don’t understand it when it is given to them.” He expects MyIT to resolve what is a universal problem.

How universal?   A recent online search using Radian 6 showed more than 3.8 million posts emanating from individuals seeking help or expressing frustration regarding corporate IT issues they were experiencing — in just one week, BMC reports.

MyIT clearly hits the right end user buttons. IT proactively notifies users of the status of services via any form the user prefers—text message, email, phone. It recognizes the user and even knows where the user is located, incorporating location awareness into its response. For instance, it could direct a user visiting a different facility to a printer, if requested. It also recognizes the user’s role and makes services and data available based on that.

It enables users to request help desk support, make service appointments, and get status updates of service requests. BMC built MyIT on its Remedy product and to work with the company’s mobile device management tools. An open interface, however, enables you to connect it to other systems. It is priced based on the number of users and is available either as on-premise software or through the SaaS model.

The consumerization of IT finally may be ending IT’s unquestioned control of and access to systems and data. According to IDC, “the best consumer IT companies have taught people to expect a lot from their IT experience.  In their lives people experience IT in intensely personal, highly mobile, very productive ways.  But as they cross the bridge from personal IT to enterprise IT, much of that is lost as companies strive to balance access with risk — often without adequate resources.  What employees receive instead is often compromised in comparison to what they have in their personal lives.”

IDC calls this IT friction and calculates it adds as much as 20% to the employee workload – that’s a material fraction of a typical work week lost.

Given the cost of IT friction this is not just an end user relationship management issue but a significant business issue that can impact the bottom line.  Tools like MyIT and competitive tools that likely will follow can help mitigate the problem.

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