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Are You Satisfied with IT? Does IT Know?

Are you satisfied with IT in your organization?  Has anyone asked you lately?  These are becoming important questions as IT finds itself serving an increasingly diverse and sophisticated group of users who recognize options beyond in-house IT services.

As a user, or as an IT professional, or both, we’d like to get your thoughts:  Is customer satisfaction an important goal for IT?

An apparent disconnect ….

InformationWeek recently completed a small-sample survey of IT professionals and IT users focused on how IT is perceived within the organization.  In a recent column analyzing the survey results,  Art Wittmann, Managing Director, InformationWeek Reports  sees major disconnects between the perceptions of IT and  business users in certain areas.  These are selected results and Wittman’s comments (the full report can be downloaded from InformationWeek’s Business Briefs page):

“(M)ost business pros are not particularly thrilled with how IT delivers on projects. In fact, just 18% say they’re very or completely satisfied with quality, timeliness, and cost. What’s worse is that IT pros think that number is much higher–29% believe business colleagues are very or completely satisfied. …

“More than twice as many business users call themselves not at all satisfied with project quality, timeliness, and cost (20%) as IT believes (9% said their business side customers feel this way).

“We’d be dead in the water without IT: 60% of IT pros agree, only 43% of biz pros see it that way….

“When asked how important IT is to innovation, 32% of IT pros say extremely important. Only 25% of business pros agree”

It’s not all negative.  More from Wittman:

“How important will the IT team be in two years? Nine percent of IT pros say less important, only 4% of business respondents agree. They want you to succeed….

“When asked, Is your IT group more innovative than peers at other companies, 69% of IT pros say they are, and 62% of business respondents agree.”

According to Wittman, the emergence of Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, such as Salesforce.com set a high bar for delivery: “when business units are evaluating new applications, it’s tough to compete with SaaS vendors that will provision services within minutes of getting a signed contract–or even with a few mouse clicks.”

The real issue for Wittman is not the gap in service levels, but the gap in perception.

Some have seen this coming for a while (and have responded)

The challenge posed by SaaS offerings, and the gap between IT’s perception and reality, were anticipated a couple of years ago.  Writing in Forbes.com,  Dan Woods noted that unlike their business counterparts, CIOs had little incentive to ask about customer satisfaction, but the rise of alternatives to in-house IT services, and the demands of distributed business ecosystems were changing that:

In the history of IT, customer satisfaction has never been a goal. But the rise in software-as-as-service (SaaS) and the fragmentation of more businesses are going to make IT customer satisfaction a large problem for CIOs. Companies that pay attention to providing solutions to employees at all levels are going to find themselves with more information about their businesses and more opportunities for automation.

Woods suggests that as companies become more integrated internally and with business partners (think insurance here), customer satisfaction with IT will become a critical success factor: “the companies who would be king–those who will be orchestrating the activities of vast ecosystems–will be the ones who can master challenges of IT customer satisfaction.”

Some suppliers to the insurance community have taken steps to improve products and processes based on customer satisfaction measurements. For example,  Keal Technology, which supplies Broker Management Systems in Canada, has done extensive work on its internal operations to continuously measure customer satisfaction and improve processes. Keal’s Vision Statement is “To be the best BMS company in Canada as defined by our clients”.  It was nominated for an Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Award in 2012 for its measurement and process improvement work.

So, what do you think?

We’d like to know what you think.  As a user, do you think IT wants to know your satisfaction level?  Do you see offering such as Salesforce.com competing with IT?  If you are in IT, what do you think about using customer satisfaction scoring to help guide your work?  If you’re using this already, has it had an impact?

We’d be very satisfied  if you leave a comment below.

 

 

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