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Delivering Effective IT Support
A business management perspective
By: Freeform Dynamics
Published: January 2007

Regardless of the size of your organisation, the chances are that IT has become a fundamental part of your business. Making sure users are properly supported in their use of IT is therefore very important. But how well is your IT department doing in this area and what are the opportunities for optimising the delivery of IT support services? This report considers these questions and others based on an online research study completed in mid 2006.

KEY FINDINGS

Perceptions of IT support are positive on balance, but there’s room for improvement
When 2,630 IT and business professionals were asked to rate end user attitudes to IT support during a recent online survey, the majority of respondents said their users were positive on balance. Overall, the ratings provided gave rise to an average satisfaction index of 6.5 on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 = “Very Negative”, 5 = “Neutral” and 10 = “Very Positive”.

Better performance in smaller organisations underlines the value of relationships
IT staff in smaller organisations with less than 200 employees are typically involved in development and/or operations, as well as support. The increased number of touch points with users, along with the lower number of people involved on both sides of the equation, allows better communication and encourages greater mutual empathy. The end result is stronger relationships driving a higher satisfaction index of 7.2, compared to 6.0 and 6.2 in large and mid-size organisations respectively.

Knowledge of the installed base is critical to effective support delivery
Those with an accurate and up-to-date knowledge of the hardware and software installed in their IT landscapes and user base achieve a satisfaction index of 8.3 on average, compared to 5.5 for those with little or no confidence in their knowledge of assets and how they are configured.

The fitness for purpose of support systems has a direct impact on user satisfaction
Generally speaking, larger organisations make much more use of software applications to assist in support delivery, with smaller companies still relying heavily on ad hoc tools. The main driver of results, however, is fitness for purpose of whatever is used. Those saying their support systems are in good shape achieve an average satisfaction index of 8.1, while those with struggling systems at the other extreme score less than 5.

Best practices can boost user satisfaction, but results vary significantly by size
23% of enterprises with more than 5,000 employees are committed to best practices such as ITIL and COBIT. These achieve a 37% higher satisfaction index on average than their counterparts who have dismissed or not looked at best practices at all. Enterprises adopting a subset of best practice ideas that they regard as relevant achieve significantly less benefit. This selective approach, however, seems to work better than full implementation for mid-sized companies with less complex processes and fewer IT staff. Very few small organisations are active with industry best practices.

Research sponsored by:
Numara Home Page

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