IT managers and their staff often find themselves in the midst of a common service conflict. On one hand, IT is called upon to continually respond to end-user requests for support and service. That's one part of the IT management paradigm. Of course, it doesn't end there. Read on for more.
On the other hand, IT must also answer to the company for the ways and means in which technology investments are managed. That is also the role of IT. And unfortunately, there will be times when one role will conflict with the other.
As an example, consider the challenges involved in establishing and enforcing software standards. Within one company, individual business units might want to choose their own software, even when that software is common to the entire organization (i.e. word processing). Strict construction of standard "make the customer happy" service principles dictate that IT take all reasonable steps to assist their end-users in that effort. On the other hand, company interests may just dictate something else.... i.e.that software standards be established and enforced in order to lower support costs, enable volume purchasing, and avoid platform incompatibilities. (Also Read: Technology Standards Policies)
In just this one instance, the potential for conflict is evident. Since the end-users are affected by software choices on a daily basis, many of these same users may want to make their own product selections. And IT software standards, if adopted and enforced, can stand in the way.
And so, the negative perceptions develop. These end-users may conclude that ITis not responding to their needs, and is therefore not providing quality customer service. Continual service complaints can result, and IT may find itself excluded from key business decisions and activities (i.e. your end-users choose to work around you rather than with you...)
How can IT avoid negative customer service perceptions while serving both end-user needs and company interests? What's the answer? IT managers must take all necessary steps to uncover potential conflict, and then find the means to manage and mitigate these conflicts before they get out of hand.
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