STAMFORD, Conn., July 9, 2008 -- More than 50 percent of users will be dissatisfied with the slow rate of IT change in their enterprises by 2013, up from 30 percent in 2008, according to Gartner Inc.
Gartner predicts that users' dissatisfaction with the speed of enterprise IT change will worsen in the next five years as users' willingness to use Web-based alternatives over and above what their IT organization directly provides (already a significant factor) continues to rise and user skill levels and comfort with using technology rises for employees of all ages.
User satisfaction is likely to further deteriorate as the "digital generation" constitutes a larger portion of the workforce and enterprises wait longer to invest in "softer" technologies, such as social software, because results are less tangible than more traditional process- or data-centered tools.
In March of 2008, Gartner conducted a detailed survey of IT professionals in 360 U.S.-based enterprises to understand more clearly what workplace technologies (including social software and new communication and collaboration tools) they were investing in and why.
Gartner found that the rate of adoption of "optional" technologies inside the enterprise follows the same pattern seen with the rate of adoption of technologies outside the enterprise. These findings suggest that there are ways to speed adoption but only if IT planners recognize the fact that different users have different wants and needs for technology.
"What would appear to make life easier for the IT organization can needlessly raise user dissatisfaction," said Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner fellow. "Strategies to deploy technology uniformly everywhere often don't work as some users have to wait too long for new technology but technological progress comes too rapidly for others."
Gartner counsels against an IT organization relying too much on the solution of uniform deployment. Mr. Austin said that a more refined segmentation model, combined with a progressive, selective implementation approach can lead to more effective deployment of technologies and higher user satisfaction scores across the enterprise.
He advised enterprises to segment users and seed new technologies with the most likely innovators and early adopters. "Most organizations will be better off starting with users who are already pining for the new technologies they believe will improve their ability to do their jobs," he said. "If these users are not catered to as a priority then they will source the technology they need from outside of the enterprise." Similarly, Mr. Austin suggests that enterprises cultivate and nurture informal communities of technology "laggards" to minimize frustrations at the other end of the technology spectrum.
Gartner also recommends that enterprises conduct annual satisfaction surveys, not to illustrate to management how good a job they are doing, but to identify employees who are dissatisfied with IT's rate of change — whether it is those who feel IT is moving too slowly in their enterprise or those who believe it is changing too fast.
Mr. Austin will provide more analysis on the challenges that IT departments face in employees' use of Web 2.0 applications during the Gartner Web Innovation Summit and the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit, which are co-located in Los Angeles, September 15-19.
The Gartner Web Innovation Summit: Profiting from Web 2.0, SaaS and Cloud Computing is taking place September 15-17. The event is focused on the next generation of Web technologies, including Web 2.0 and cloud computing, and will cover future trends and innovations, best practices, vendor and product selections, tutorials, and tactical decision frameworks. For complete event details, please visit the Gartner Web Innovation Summit Web site athttp://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=648611.
The Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit, taking place September 17-19 in Los Angeles, is the only event designed to explain the technologies and best practices required for innovative work to happen. This 2.5-day forum looks at workplace technologies such as portals, content management, communication tools, Web communities, Web conferencing, e-mail management and collaboration support technologies and how these technologies can raise overall organizational productivity and employee impact. Additional information is available at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=648610.
Members of the media can register for either Summit by contacting Christy Pettey at email@example.com.
Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Users Dissatisfied With Rate of IT Change: Norms, Models, Tests and Action." The report is available on Gartner's Web site at http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=677707&subref=simplesearch.
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