Overcoming IT Barriers to Business Transformation
July 18, 2016

Paul Higley
Aternity

Share this

The role of the CIO and IT department is more closely aligned than ever to business operations. Their scope of responsibility is growing and becoming more tightly meshed to core business objectives, which include driving innovation, delivering better customer satisfaction levels, increasing workforce productivity, and reducing bottom line costs.

From first-hand conversations with customers and my commercial and technical teams, I am constantly hearing the common theme that organizations want to make their IT-dependent employees and customers top priority in order to better support business growth. However, what I then find contradictory is while the desire is there, it's a significant challenge for organizations to actually achieve this. Although recognition of this disconnect is certainly present, IT project teams are still continuing to embark on change initiatives without a strategy: they are not truly understanding the end user experience and so can't validate the impact of transformation – either positive or negative.

Many IT departments continue to communicate to their organization the end user experience is improved, while some continue to claim it was better before the upgrade. But the fact is, without empirical metrics, it's nearly impossible to validate claims of any clear change in the experience with confidence.

Here are four common barriers to business transformation initiatives – and suggested steps enterprises can take to overcome them.

1. Operational In-Efficiency

As a business unit owner or IT professional, how many times have you been summoned to a war-room meeting to explain why an IT-related project or change aimed at improving business productivity or customer service resulted in so much negative feeling toward the initiative? Unfortunately, business units and technology teams spend far too much time finger-pointing and firefighting. This could easily be avoided by first starting at the vantage point of the end user experience to see how IT services are being consumed.

You must ensure that stakeholders for key technology stacks can quickly be identified and eliminated from investigation, enabling them to go back to supporting the business rather than defending their domain. This is even more valuable when a business technology not directly involved in the change – and therefore not initially consulted – is adversely impacted.

For example, a change to an end-point security policy may impact an application developed in-house, but when the application crashes or fails to perform well, the app-owners are called in without knowledge of the change. Hundreds of hours can then be wasted trying to find the root cause. This can subsequently bring uncertainty to the next proposed IT project through fear of once again being burnt.

2. Sub-Optimal Application Performance

Organizations are using hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications. New applications are constantly being deployed, whether new version upgrades or replacements for old legacy applications. This all brings risk. Poor application performance can significantly impact competitiveness, and, in sectors such as healthcare, can directly affect patient care or put sensitive data at risk.

Application upgrades can be a key catalyst for issues that impact productivity. With so much variation in hardware, location, network, and user expectation across the business it becomes an ever bigger and more complex task to thoroughly test every combination of how an application could be consumed by different users. Data center monitoring solutions are partially helpful in reporting on the availability of centrally hosted applications, backed by reports and dashboards with lots of positive results. However, this information alone is rarely indicative of a positive experience for end users on the receiving end.

By contrast, effective end user experience monitoring allows benchmarks to be created over time which clearly show precise historic application performance metrics. Then, upon application upgrade or migration, any positive or negative deviation in performance can be viewed immediately with the analytics to show exactly where the change in response time and experience is occurring.

3. Ineffective Change Management and User Adoption

Adoption is key to the success of products and services. From my perspective, users tend to only embrace change when they feel confident and experience an incremental improvement in their interaction with an application or desktop.

I have worked with customers where their staff have complained about an office desk restructure. In one instance, IT users said that being further from the printers or server rooms had compromised their desktop experience and application performance. Similar complaints arose when moving from desktop PCs to virtual desktops accessed via thin client terminals.

However, upon investigation and by comparing the actual user experience performance levels before and after, the IT department proved this was not the case, therefore quashing the user-related complaints being raised to the business. Furthermore, for future change initiatives, empirical evidence from monitoring proved invaluable in keeping users engaged throughout the user acceptance testing stages. This was key to building trust in the improvements and to communicate the benefits upon roll out, thereby building goodwill and confidence in future change management initiatives.

4. Poor Visibility of the End User Experience

The three previous topics can easily be combined within the one single category of poor visibility of the end user experience: in other words – the visibility gap. In short, this relates to the lack of insight into how IT services or change initiatives actually impact the experience of users, which ultimately impacts business performance.

If existing data center and desktop management software is providing IT with positive statistics, yet your IT consumers frequently complain about inconsistent performance, the primary reason behind it is simple: you cannot measure impacts to end user experience looking out from the datacenter. It can only be measured from the end user's perspective of how they are consuming IT services – and with proactive alerting so when there is a deviation in performance, IT is notified directly, and doesn't rely on the workforce calling the help desk to complain.

So what has enabled organizations to embrace IT change for the greater good of the business?

Close the Visibility Gap and Overcome Barriers to Change

My view is simple; you cannot manage or improve until you can measure. Therefore, my recommendation is equally simple. Measure and benchmark your existing user experience and instantly compare any variations when a change is made.

To conclude, whether you're looking to change a specific IT component or to enable full-scale business transformation (in a positive manner) you also need to ensure the experience for your end users is optimized as part of the project – in effect, treating them like IT consumers. What's more, you can't rely on your IT end users as the primary source to alert you to enterprise IT problems. To achieve this, you need easy access to real empirical user experience data that enables you to easily compare the before and after of changes. So the first step in this approach, and for your next IT transformation task, is to start with end user experience to help ensure a successful outcome.

Paul Higley is Managing Director, EMEA, at Aternity.

Share this

The Latest

April 11, 2024

Businesses must adopt a comprehensive Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM) strategy, says Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), a leading IT analyst research firm. This strategy is crucial to bridge the significant observability gap within today's complex IT infrastructures. The recommendation is particularly timely, given that 99% of enterprises are expanding their use of the Internet as a primary connectivity conduit while facing challenges due to the inefficiency of multiple, disjointed monitoring tools, according to Modern Enterprises Must Boost Observability with Internet Performance Monitoring, a new report from EMA and Catchpoint ...

April 10, 2024

Choosing the right approach is critical with cloud monitoring in hybrid environments. Otherwise, you may drive up costs with features you don’t need and risk diminishing the visibility of your on-premises IT ...

April 09, 2024

Consumers ranked the marketing strategies and missteps that most significantly impact brand trust, which 73% say is their biggest motivator to share first-party data, according to The Rules of the Marketing Game, a 2023 report from Pantheon ...

April 08, 2024

Digital experience monitoring is the practice of monitoring and analyzing the complete digital user journey of your applications, websites, APIs, and other digital services. It involves tracking the performance of your web application from the perspective of the end user, providing detailed insights on user experience, app performance, and customer satisfaction ...

April 04, 2024
Modern organizations race to launch their high-quality cloud applications as soon as possible. On the other hand, time to market also plays an essential role in determining the application's success. However, without effective testing, it's hard to be confident in the final product ...
April 03, 2024

Enterprises are experiencing a 13% year-over-year increase in customer-facing incidents, reflecting rising levels of complexity and risk as businesses drive operational transformation at scale, according to the 2024 State of Digital Operations study from PagerDuty ...

April 02, 2024

According to Grafana Labs' 2024 Observability Survey, it doesn't matter what industry a company is in or the number of employees they have, the truth is: the more mature their observability practices are, the more time and money they save. From AI to OpenTelemetry — here are four key takeaways from this year's report ...

April 01, 2024

In an age where technology evolves at a breakneck pace, it's crucial to explore how AI assistants can revolutionize our work processes and daily lives, ultimately enhancing overall performance ...

March 28, 2024

Nearly all (99%) globa IT decision makers, regardless of region or industry, recognize generative AI's (GenAI) transformative potential to influence change within their organizations, according to The Elastic Generative AI Report ...

March 27, 2024

Agent-based approaches to real user monitoring (RUM) simply do not work. If you are pitched to install an "agent" in your mobile or web environments, you should run for the hills ...