Jim Steinlage, President & CEO of Choice Solutions –
The promised goal of technology is an endless streamlining of work until it becomes so easy that productivity is bursting from the office. The reality is that for every boost of speed it brings, there are issues that bottleneck the process and negate all of those gains. Many of these issues can be fixed by bridging the gap between people and technology with collaboration between IT and HR.
How Does IT Create a Bottleneck?
The answer to this question can be so obvious to your employees that they might not be able to help but laugh if you ask them if there are any pieces of technology that slow down their workflow. Aside from actually failing software that presents an obvious break in the process, there are two key issues that create IT bottlenecks:
- Ineffectual User Interface
Problems like unclear instructions or needing to repeat data entry at certain points can cause needless hiccups. For example, one user may fill out a text field in a customer account incorrectly and leave a hidden problem in the system that needs to be resolved by the next associate to access the file.
- Slow IT Issue Response Time
Even large companies have difficulty allocating IT resources, and small-to-medium businesses may have just one or two IT personnel scrambling to respond to issues with in-house and upstream technologies. Both user and program errors require a response, and putting out the fires can prevent IT from making the systemic changes necessary to reduce the total number of incidents needing their attention.
How Do You Relieve the IT Bottleneck?
Bringing in more full-time IT employees may not be in the budget, and IT simply can’t bend the laws of space-time to manage troubleshooting and upgrading with an overloaded inbox. The best way for IT to tackle these issues is by leveraging the support of HR to take on the problem from a different angle.
First, HR can help identify pain points in the workflow process by investigating the daily activities of personnel. Users aren’t always the best at providing useful feedback of their own volition, so IT can rely on HR to locate the usability issues that are less apparent than a blatant bug in a program. With this information, updates can be targeted at reducing pain points and opening up the bottleneck.
The other way that HR can assist IT is by outsourcing some of the work to a reliable IT partner. The outside help can be targeted at solving specific issues like problems in the user interface or upgrading older technology to relieve the pressure on the IT department without the long-term costs associated with bringing in new full-time IT personnel. Bringing in the help needed to widen the bottleneck can stop IT issues from compounding into a nightmare of backlogged requests and programs in desperate need of upgrades. Even if you know that HR is not going to hire full-time personnel, asking for outsourced help can meet both departments’ needs in the middle.