Listening To IT Workers Can Increase Project Success

[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, announced findings from a survey of more than 6,100 IT professionals. The survey, conducted in May in partnership with the Loyalty Research Group, explored employee experiences with top IT initiatives including applications development, applications management, business intelligence/data warehousing, mobile applications, storage, unified communications, virtualization, security and ERP.

While the majority of IT professionals indicate projects they work on have been successful, there are several opportunities for improvement. Two thirds (66%) of IT professionals say the overall success of the programs they have worked on was very good or excellent. Of the programs they were a part of, IT professionals report alignment with business goals (52%), project management (46%) and the right skills/resources in place (45%) as the top performance areas.

Conversely, IT professionals see critical issues with their organizations’ approach to implementing and supporting key IT initiatives. IT professionals report lower scores for the following:

  • The right service providers selected (39%)
  • IT’s organizational structure (39%)
  • User adoption/change management (38%)
  • Budget for program (37%)
  • Stakeholder management (37%)
  • Timelines for program (36%)
  • Performance tracking/ROI reporting (35%)

“Many IT leaders and decision makers lack the line-level perspective around key IT initiatives, which is a necessity to ensure project success. Due to their proximity to the work itself, the IT workers on the line likely have more practical ideas around solutions that can improve strategy development and project execution,” states TEKsystems Director, Rachel Russell. “IT workers have insights that IT leaders must tap into if they want to experience higher levels of success and performance.”

Measuring the success of an IT program is an important step in showing that an investment in IT positively impacts the business. Surprisingly, only 56% of IT professionals report that quantifiable success metrics for programs are identified. When metrics are used, the most common measurements involve process improvement, internal client satisfaction, quality improvement, cost savings and productivity increases. The success metrics IT professionals indicate as being least utilized includes user adoption and revenue increases.

“Common measurements of IT like cost savings, internal client satisfaction and productivity changes are important. But when a key objective of IT departments is to align with the business, showing how IT actually helps revenues increase and the business to adopt new changes is just as important,” says Russell.

Slightly more than half of IT professionals say expected ROI timeframes for IT programs like business intelligence/data warehousing (58%), QA and testing (56%) applications development and management (55%), cloud computing (55%), storage (54%), virtualization (54%), unified communications (53%), social media (52%), mobile applications (51%), ERP systems (50%) and security (48%) are less than a year. Overall, 29% expect these same initiatives to show ROI in one to two years. ERP systems are the only IT initiatives that demonstrate that more than a quarter (27%) of IT professionals expect ROI to take three or more years.

As for estimated ROI values, just under 60% of IT professionals expect ROI of unified communications (59%), virtualization (58%), storage (58%), social media (58%), applications development (58%), applications management (57%), cloud computing (57%), QA and testing (56%), business intelligence/data warehousing (56%), security (56%), ERP systems (56%) and mobile applications (55%) to be less than $2 million. Twenty-eight percent of IT professionals expect these initiatives to generate ROI values between $2 million and $10 million, 8% expect ROI between $10 million and $50 million and 7% said ROI will exceed $50 million.

“With expectations that the majority of IT investments should show ROI in less than two years, it is important for IT departments to have short-term metrics in place to show the incremental gains they make as they work towards achieving maximum ROI,” comments Russell.

IT professionals have a unique perspective about what is required for success when an organization engages an IT service provider on an IT project. The requirements IT professionals rank as the most critical to IT service providers include:

  • Provide strong IT professionals to get the job done – 24%
  • Understand business/root issues – 18%
  • Help to plan for and address client’s workforce needs/organization structure – 13%
  • Provide practical solutions with long-term value – 10%
  • Ensure knowledge transfer/user adoption – 7%
  • Understand how things actually work “on the line” vs. only at the highest organizational levels – 6%

IT professionals also have opinions on areas in which most IT service providers can improve. The areas they say need the most improvement map to many of the most critical, including:

  • Provide strong IT professionals to get the job done – 15%
  • Understand business/root issues – 15%
  • Ensure knowledge transfer/user adoption – 12%
  • Help to plan for and address client’s workforce needs/organization structure – 12%
  • Understand how things actually work “on the line” vs. just at the highest organizational levels – 9%
  • Stay focused on key goals vs. trying to upsell – 9%

“Organizations need to really understand the technical and non-technical requirements for program success prior to making any decisions on IT services providers. Technology is just one piece of broader business efforts. To be truly successful, organizations should select IT service providers who understand the business, understand the line-level perspective, and help to drive user adoption through practical solutions and human capital insights,” concludes Russell.

[Image Courtesy: TEKSystems]

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