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How to measure the cost of IT issues at your organization (and what to do about it)

IT leaders frequently find it challenging to evaluate the role that technology plays in day-to-day business operations.

In response to rapidly changing workplace needs, many companies launched into scaling up their tech stacks and providing employees with new tools that promised greater efficiency, improved productivity, and a better digital experience. Research shows, however, that 40% of employees and 44% of executives believe that employees are either somewhat or significantly over-provisioned by tech at work. As a result, workplaces now are grappling with an abundance of tools that were poorly matched both to employees’ needs and to specific workplace challenges. 

The underlying disconnect is this: companies focused too much on providing new equipment to teams in an attempt to make broad, sweeping improvements in productivity or to accelerate business transformations. In turn, they fell short of providing the right equipment to the right employee at the right time.

Without specific and actionable insights into employees’ daily tech-related experiences—such as whether latency is affecting their work or whether a desktop is about to bluescreen—executives and IT leaders are, essentially, winging it with end-user tech investments. And, yes, while these tech investments are well-informed by expert opinions and strategic assessments of both the market and the company’s needs, IT leaders inevitably need more data to make a compelling business case that the C-suite will approve.

Fortunately, IT leaders today have a seat at the strategy table, as IT’s old-school “cost center” designation has evolved. IT leaders are data-driven stakeholders that hold the key for unlocking strategic insights about the health of an organization, its systems, and the overall digital risk the company faces. As such, IT leaders need data that speaks to issues such as system downtime, latency, and other tech issues both at the individual level and across the organization. 

Resource allocation based on IT health

Measuring the health of an organization’s entire tech stack doesn’t come down to a single data set. A company’s IT health includes multiple data points collected from multiple systems. Calculating the financial impact of IT decisions requires collating data related to KPIs, digital employee experiences (DEX), technical debt, and the entire IT estate. 

This data-driven approach isn’t just a tech one; it’s a financial one as well. Without a proactive approach to IT, the monetary impact of IT issues on an organization’s bottom line can be considerable. With an average of 54 minutes per week, per worker lost to IT issues, companies need a clear and measurable solution to minimize productivity costs. 

Translating the state of IT health into monetary values helps executives make the case for new initiatives and investments or even changes to existing processes or systems. With DEX insights, such as health scores and granular-level data, companies can identify which devices are being used effectively, which are not, and whether a particular team needs more tech resources allocated to their department. With the ability to view the financial impact of IT issues across the entire IT estate, companies can determine where gaps actually exist and need to be filled. This data-driven insight ensures that companies don’t perpetuate the problem of digital overload by providing their teams with tech that they don’t need or will not use. 

Determine benchmarks to prepare for scaling.

Organizations looking to scale and grow need clear markers of success long before they level up their investment in IT systems to prevent too large of an investment or too little preparation. Setting benchmarks is essential. Companies can achieve this step by comparing historical trends based on data instead of guesswork. This must happen alongside real-time data for a full picture of the digital employee experience (that is, each employee’s experience with the tech stack allocated to them—whether good or bad). 

Context around certain IT moves and decisions, as well as the impact of those moves on workplace productivity and performance, is crucial for enabling strategic planning. For instance, it’s possible to parcel data into meaningful, informative sets based on the workplace environment (hybrid or remote), the employee experience with the digital tools they need for their roles, and the systems used. 

Benchmarks will be critical for growth planning, including any M&A plans on the docket, enterprise-wide system integrations (such as EMR rollouts for healthcare organizations), or widespread software updates. Armed with easily-digestible benchmark data, IT teams can sort out any issues ahead of an influx of talent, system mergers, and digital transformation projects. 

In these scenarios, IT leaders can emerge as true business heroes, instead of the old days when the “IT hero” was associated with reactively saving a company from extended downtime. The IT executives’ ability to tie downtime, latency, and systems issues (and more) to the business’s bottom line—based on data-informed calculations—will elevate strategic planning. The monetary value of an organization’s IT health is rapidly increasing as companies look to eliminate redundancies, streamline workflows, and create better digital employee experiences. Up until now, measuring the baseline of IT health—and tying that baseline to a financial tally—has been cumbersome and inefficient. Now, IT leaders can determine the issues affecting productivity through a single dashboard of a digital experience platform, enabling companies to quickly measure the impact of software, hardware, and network issues on workplace productivity, in turn immediately remedying any issues.

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