Every business has a culture. It used to be that business culture was mainly about hiring staff and about how people treated each other in the work-place. Today, culture goes much further. It is essentially about whether people want to be productive because they are happy and fulfilled in what they do – or not.
IT as a Culture
In businesses around New Zealand, IT is one of the ‘top three’ bug-bears at the work-place, leading to frustration, aggravation, un-happiness, and the inability or – worse! – unwillingness to be productive. Computers, networks and security are not only an integral part of people at work being happy, but also being happily productive.
The attitude around IT is therefore a culture, not a solution.
Best Service = Least Visible
Think of the service you would receive at the world’s top hotels. Your experience is superior, almost magical, but you rarely see the staff who make that magic happen. You don’t pick up the phone to complain, or wait for someone to come up and fix the air-conditioning, TV, or plumbing in your room. It functions seamlessly and flawlessly, so that you simply walk into a cool room, surf the channels, and have that luxurious bath. That’s service.
When it comes to IT, the world is only just waking up to the fact that it’s a service. Great IT service providers are entirely user-centric. They don’t focus on the “number of machines to be maintained”, because machines are bits and bytes. Instead, they deliver superior service by focusing on the user’s experience.
No Fire Fighting
For instance, if a member of your business team has a desktop, a laptop and a tablet, great IT service providers sees a person who deserves superior service, not just three machines that need to be maintained. The fundamental premise of IT service is to support that person to get their business tasks done.
All at a fixed monthly cost, of course. No surprises with massive bills for ad-hoc fire-fighter-style IT support. After all, “Help, I can’t start my computer!” is so clichéd, so yesterday.
What’s the New User Experience, Again?
Simply put, it is tech done so well that the “tech” disappears and user satisfaction takes centre stage. This means:
- Less emotional burden – no more going ape when the “computer’s broken”
- Downtime close to zero, so business teams don’t sit around having coffees while they wait for the “IT guy” to arrive and fix their computers, servers or network.
- Secure work-places, with monitored IT security round the clock.
Regarding monitored security, if you’re thinking, “W-e-l-l… that’s not really required, is it?”, think again. Business liability can cost more than your house, and with today’s advanced threats, doesn’t it makes sense to have a “monitored alarm” working 24×7 against spyware, malware, hackers, crime-ware and the ubiquitous virus?
Today’s IT services are user-centric, based on happiness and productivity, so IT service providers that are worth their salt establish two things:
- IT-based productivity goals
- Benchmarks for user experience
Monthly reviews and feedback systems measure both.
It must be said, though, that it is nowhere near enough to use software surveys and customer satisfaction tools alone. Impersonal, robotic, software-based feedback is good, but it will only scratch the surface. To be truly successful, service providers must take feedback systems much further, with one-on-one interviews, face time and “human” questionnaires.
What about management – how does the boss know whether IT is really measuring up at the work-place? IT service providers must deliver high-level reports every month, with visual and meaningful snap-shots of IT performance and user satisfaction, not just business/tech jargon written to obfuscate any real issues. These reports must measure the following against previously established benchmarks:
- IT-based productivity – network performance, smooth data flows, and whether IT commitments and goals were met or exceeded.
- User experience, based on both software-driven satisfaction surveys and actual face-to-face interviews and questionnaires.
Change is in the Air
Twenty-first century productivity is about empowerment, not control. Talk with your IT service provider to see if you can work with them to bring about a change in the IT culture at your work-place. If you’re in management, and really believe that your team is your most valuable asset, you owe it to yourself, and to them, to keep tech humming and keep your team happy. Initiative, innovation and high-output productivity will naturally flow on from there.
Radius Networks offers managed IT solutions for businesses. We believe that tech should be done so well that the “tech” disappears and user satisfaction takes centre stage.