Why a Critical Shift to Your IT Department Could Save the Whole Company
January 27, 2022

Rex McMillan

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Too much to do. Not enough people to do it.

That's the challenge facing a wide range of departments across nearly every conceivable industry. The tight labor market is enough of a headache on its own, but right now it's happening at the same time as an unprecedented digital transformation. The rapid acceleration of digital transformation meant companies around the world performed an electrical tape transformation; that is to say they did it as fast as possible with a slew of not-so-pretty temporary fixes and crossed their fingers that it would hold until they could take the time to make thorough, permanent updates.

Now that it's high time to make those permanent updates, their IT departments are overtaxed and tapped out. A new survey of IT professionals reveals just how tough things are — and gives a glimpse into what's at stake if we don't rally behind IT.

The Numbers Don't Lie

72%. That's the number of respondents who reported losing IT team members recently. And that astronomical turnover isn't simply because there wasn't a nice holiday bonus or enough vacation. The #1 reason for attrition: a high workload.

Companies know how important their IT departments are, especially now — with 61% of respondents affirming that IT is critical to an organization's growth and business strategy.

And yet, nearly one-third (32%) of respondents cited "lack of executive support" as another reason for leaving, along with "unrealistic expectations placed on the team."

Translation: Companies know they need IT. They're ramping up IT workload. But they aren't giving IT the right support. The result is being felt across the enterprise, with "keeping up with digital transformation" (32%) and "keeping talent in technical roles" (26%) cited as the two biggest challenges organizations face today. With technology more important than ever, companies can't afford to compromise in this key area. Letting IT fall apart means putting the entire company at risk.

Onward and Upward

How can companies give IT more support when demand is high and resources are spread too thin?

One clear pathway to relieving the strain on IT is to adopt automation. Two-thirds of decision-makers reported that the pandemic led them to accelerate plans for, or increase adoption of, automated IT service offerings. Still, only one percent of those decision-makers have actually completed their adoption of automated services, according to the survey.

That leaves 99% of IT teams at risk of being overtaxed and under-supported. The shift to automation means a lift up front, but the payoff is significant. The majority (55%) of survey respondents reported that automating IT processes saved the IT department between one and eight hours per service request. Not overall, not per week — per individual request. For organizations with more than 50% of their IT services automated, that number jumps to more than 16 hours. If these numbers hold true for your organization, you could automate just three service requests in a week and eliminate the equivalent of six days of full-time effort from an employee.

Think automation diminishes the value of your IT team?

Hardly. Organizations with more than 50% of IT services automated were more likely to feel that the IT department is viewed as critical to the organization's growth and business strategy, compared with organizations with lower automation rates.

In other words, this isn't about replacing IT team members. Rather, it's about automating what can be automated. Managing the undifferentiated heavy lifting frees up your employees' valuable time and talent to work on the innovative, nuanced, high-impact tasks that will move your company forward — not just keep the boxes ticked. The electrical tape fixes that were tolerated early in the pandemic won't hold up in the future.

The companies that thrive in the next phase of digital business will be those that embrace automation and reassign team members to strategic projects and empower them to tackle critical business challenges.

Methodology: Ivanti surveyed 250 enterprise IT professionals across North America, APAC and EMEA from August to October 2021.

Rex McMillan is Principal Product Manager at Ivanti.
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