For IT leaders, this is a major shift that requires much more time and patience, but the extra effort pays off with increased effort, greater productivity and even better products, Chaplin says.
"My role over the last six or seven years has absolutely changed. I now spend more time up front to detail to my teams what clients are trying to accomplish. But I've noticed that giving them that mission and purpose drives everyone to be better. My teams go home at night or over the weekend and they work on these problems voluntarily. They're excited, they're engaged, they are so invested, and that means we end up with better features, functionality and happier clients," Chaplin says.
Focus on user satisfaction
The IT department of the future will also need to focus on user satisfaction as a metric for success, which means not only striking a balance between innovation and integrating new technologies, but also with "housekeeping" and maintenance of existing solutions, says Chaplin.
In a survey of nearly 100,000 IT professionals at all levels, IT and HR performance management and consulting firm Green Elephant found that user satisfaction with IT can impact IT's perceived business value -- and that IT needs to remake itself and its image into that of a trusted service provider.
"IT needs to do some marketing and consider users as they do consumers. Is IT delivering only 80 percent of a service without following through? Are they rude? Inefficient? You're providing IT services to your users, and so 'brand' is so important. If your users aren't seeing the value in your services, then the company as a whole isn't going to think that IT has any value," says Simon Chapleau, CEO of Green Elephant.
To change that, IT will have to focus on measurement and accountability, Chapleau says. By measuring user satisfaction with IT, and allowing users to grade the services they're receiving, IT can focus on what needs improvement and, in the process, get more done.
"If you're only measuring things like calls to the help desk, closed tickets and time-to-close-incidents and basing productivity stats on those, then that's what will get the interest and the investment from your IT teams. However, if you are including user satisfaction and happiness in there, if you're giving IT a little more time and space to resolve issues to users' satisfaction, then you'll see improvement across the board," Chapleau says.
What the future holds
The IT department of the future will continue to focus on new technology, new software and hardware and the 'hottest' new skills. But underneath it all, tomorrow's IT departments will emphasize breadth of knowledge, the human connection and increased collaboration, and user satisfaction.
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