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The Problem with IT in the Digital Workplace

Here’s the dirt on IT. For all its virtues, there are some things most IT operations are not getting right. In an article for CMS Wire, Gerry McGovern lays bare some of the troubles behind IT’s discouraging report card. Only 35% of executives in a recent study say that IT facilitated their company’s ability to support key business activities – a 22% drop from just three years ago. It’s time to take a good hard look at why.

A Culture that Ignores

McGovern says it boils down to culture: a culture that repeatedly ignores usability. He’s not just whistling Dixie. Having spent ample time working in the industry, McGovern writes of systems that are bought without defining their need in advance. He complains about IT’s obsession over costs at the expense of supporting management. And he’s concerned about IT’s ongoing fixation with “technical bells and whistles.” All of this is occurring in the face of an ever-more digital world, where IT stands to bring the most value to business operations, at least in theory:

Because IT has little concept of value. It only thinks about costs and the technology itself. That’s why IT embraced content management systems that facilitated distributed publishing. Because distributed publishing is the cheapest way to publish content. The IT bottom line is too often about the cheapest way to do things, not the best way…Amazon, Google, Twitter, Facebook, et al., have shamed internal IT systems. They have exposed them for the cumbersome, over-engineered, anti-employee horrors that they are.

A Better Brand of IT

Okay, so that’s a pretty scathing review by any account, but McGovern says it’s not simply IT’s fault. He also places blame on senior management’s inability to help employees save time. Especially in the realm of knowledge work, management needs to assist IT in putting an emphasis on productivity, efficiency, simplicity, and usability. If most employees surveyed say their number one impression of work is “being overwhelmed,” this should point the way to a better brand of IT.

Read the full article at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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