The Great Recession may have an interesting consequence in the rating of IT end user satisfaction scoring. Specifically, I am refering to the delivery of IT services to end users as the topic of this week's blog posting.
As with all of my blogs, the opinions expressed in the blogs are mine alone and do not represent those of my employer.
This posting may seem a bit on the cynical side, but I have observed what may be an anomaly in the treatment and scoring on end user satisfaction for IT. It is known to most of the end users served by IT that customer satisfaction is typcially one of the key IT metrics. Scoring by the end users of IT may have a profound impact not only to IT organizationally itself, but the resources delivering the services to the end users.
So here are the observations. Please keep in mind the premise from my overall research- there are no right or wrong answers, only conscious and unconscious decisions.
In many businesses today, many have deferred technology refresh cycles. This means that the PC's themselves, desktops and laptops, are older than previous expectations in the enterprise. It is not unusual today to find 4 and 5 year old (and beyond) PC's in the installed base.
The productivity loss alone given application performance on older devices can now be compared to newer performance of W7 and new chipsets from Intel (productivity gains of 30%+). The point to be made is that we have conditioned the end users to a large degree to accept the slower performance and speeds. Also,remember that end users have home, personal machines that are very likely newer and possibly faster than the corporate machines that they may now be using.
As IT , as most organizations, reduced head count or otherwise decremented resources, the SLA's may have been changed or there may be more tolerance for SLA's. One example I would cite is the abandon rate variance which could vary from 3% to 7% (or other) within a time period. As self help tools are implemented, we have moved a lot of previously delivered IT services to the end users.
The dynamic is less available resources, on older equipment, loss of productivity due to the older operating system performance, and more reliance on the end users themselves, and yet.... customer satisfaction scores remain the same or higher than ever (or at least comparable) to previous years.
I would be interested in your thoughts regarding this dynamic.
My opinion is that the end users simply do not want to rate IT unfavorably, and in fact are pleased to have a level of service at all, knowing that it could be reduced. Moreover, end users are very cognizant that IT is dependent upon the customer satisfaction eco system to retain its headcount and talent pool.
Given the economy and all of the considerations we see day to day, it is a challenge not to appear cynical when the scoring is comparable on older systems, older operating systems, fewer resources, and so on. If the scoring is to be credible, than innovation may be deferred given the perception that the end users are indeed satisfied, when in fact the end users may just be passive and empathetic. I have always said that in some respect IT is its own worst enemy in terms of refesh, we almost always can make older systems work. We have proven that. The costs and satisfaction levels, however, may (or may not) reflect that effort).
Taking the contrary view of this, if the end user scores are lower for IT, and if it is due to the increased incidents caused by older technology, the same concept applies- of course they should be lower.IT should be complemented on figuring out how to sustain the current level of support with all of the pressure on costs.
Frequently, I have observed satisfaction scoring being normal but with more annecdotal comments made verbally.
The reality may be that the end user satisfaction scoring of IT may no longer be the key metric that it once was pre-Great Recession. This may be indeed one of the unintended consequences. If you have not reviewed the end user satisfaction metrics recently, it may be the time.