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IT leaders are under pressure from all sides; Here is what they can do about it
Thu, 11th Jan 2024

In the past decade, the technologies companies offered their employees have transitioned from being a part of the infrastructure, like the building or the furniture, to something entirely different.

Employees may have had opinions on their company's office architecture or the ergonomics of their chairs, but these were secondary thoughts and didn't typically influence their decision to work somewhere. Traditionally, those not in IT didn't feel it was their place to discuss tech issues. They simply got on with it.

How things have changed. Many factors, from the central role of personal technology in people's lives to the critical impact of tech on the quality of work people do, have made workers more conscious and demanding.

They now inquire about the applications used, the access to cutting-edge technology, and whether the interfaces and programs are as user-friendly as those they're accustomed to. There's a growing demand for support and frictionless experiences. Digital Employee Experience (DEX) has become vital for companies competing for a limited pool of highly skilled workers globally.

Riverbed's Global Digital Employee Experience Survey 2023 shows that 64% of leaders expect younger employees to consider leaving their business if their digital experience needs are unmet.  

Parallel to this, technology has become central to the success of most businesses in most industries. This shift has placed tremendous pressure on IT teams to simultaneously meet diverse and escalating needs.

In the Riverbed survey, 90% of Australian IT and business leaders say the rising expectations for digital experiences among younger generations will intensify pressures on IT resources even more.

As the pendulum continues to swing towards this increasing demand on IT departments, frustration among my IT colleagues is evident. They acknowledge that it's impossible to meet every demand. The challenge lies in finding a sustainable balance.

As workers' expectations and DEX growth are unlikely to diminish, leaders can strike a better balance by following some key strategies:

  • Prioritize User-Centric Design: IT leaders should focus on adopting technologies that enhance user experience. This approach involves selecting intuitive and user-friendly software and hardware. By involving employees in decision-making, IT leaders can ensure technology aligns with workforce needs, boosting satisfaction and productivity.
  • Implement Flexible Technology Solutions: Embrace adaptable and scalable technology solutions like cloud-based services. These can be adjusted according to demand, helping balance budget constraints while providing necessary tools and infrastructure.
  • Regular Training and Support: Allocate resources for ongoing training and support. Educating employees on effective technology usage can enhance their experience. Regular training sessions and accessible IT support can empower employees to resolve minor tech issues, reducing the burden on IT departments. AI can also play an important role in solving demand. 
  • Strategic Investment in Emerging Technologies: Stay informed about emerging technologies and invest selectively in those offering significant efficiency improvements or competitive advantages. Ensure that these investments align with both immediate and long-term business goals.
  • Foster Collaborative IT Governance: Develop a governance model that involves various departments in IT investment and priority decisions. This collaborative approach ensures that diverse organisational needs are considered, aligning IT goals with broader business objectives and managing stakeholder expectations.

By adopting these strategies, IT leaders can more effectively navigate the complexities of balancing employee expectations, budget constraints, and organisational objectives.