Featured IT’s fiercest foe: user expectations from consumer-facing technology

Published on September 21st, 2022 📆 | 1542 Views ⚑

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IT’s fiercest foe: user expectations from consumer-facing technology


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As more Gen Z digital natives enter the workplace, employees expect the user-friendly experiences they've come to embrace in their personal lives at work.

Even more seasoned employees have adapted to the evolving consumer-facing technology environment around them, from the ease of installing applications on personal devices to tailored suggestions on what to watch next on streaming platforms. 

“We’re competing against people’s previous employer, against their expectations, against things like Amazon one-click order and it will be here tomorrow afternoon,” Greg Sanker, director of IT support at Taylor Morrison, said. “That’s what we’re competing with, not with what we used to do.”

The user experience from consumer-oriented platforms allows end users to easily navigate new technologies and updates, leading employees to wonder why their workplace tech isn’t as simple to use.

It's the difference between intuitive applications and bulky spreadsheets. 

More than one-third of U.S. employees reported workplace frustration caused by technology, according to data from Eagle Hill Consulting which surveyed 1,000 employees across various industries.

Frustrated employees may even search for other job opportunities. Workers at “technology laggard” organizations were 450% more likely to want to leave to find work elsewhere when compared to employees at “technology leaders,” according to a report from Unisys.

While organizations might find it hard to release their tech baggage, there are many tools on the market that can improve user experience. One example is choosing which channels employees use to communicate with each other.

Email is still the primary mode for external communication, but many businesses have adopted collaboration tools with real-time messaging capabilities for internal use through their preferred SaaS provider. 

Despite context-switching challenges, there was a 7% rise in employee usage of real-time mobile messaging tools in the past three years, according to a Gartner survey released in 2021. 

“I think the first thing that IT leaders need to understand is that Gen Z does not use email to communicate,” Ian Tien, CEO and co-founder of Mattermost, said. “Gen Z has its own culture and its own norms of efficiency, and they're going to go to the workplace that is compatible with how they work.”

For organizations wanting to engage a technologically savvy workforce, they have to send clear signals that they’re ready to do that, according to Tien. 

Impacts on IT support

The maturity of consumer-facing technology also impacts the type of issues that IT departments get calls about.

While digital natives might have grown up with technology, there was certainly a need for employees overall to become more tech savvy during the pandemic. Hybrid work forced business employees to get up close and personal with the technology they use every day, leading many to obtain basic troubleshooting skills.

George Moussa said that, as an IT help desk support employee, he saw that there were fewer calls that could be solved with a simple fix after the pandemic.

“After the pandemic, I saw a lot of people got better using computers,” Moussa said. “For example, before we would have to say, ‘Did you try rebooting it?' But now when they call they say, 'Hey George, I already rebooted it, I did this step and that step.’”

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