The Importance of IT Support to Perceptions of IT’s Value

The Importance of IT Support

Over ten years ago, Gartner Research stated that the IT service desk is “responsible for about 50% of the business users’ perception of the IT organization.” But while many people have stated that “The service desk is the business window into IT,” or similar, have they truly believed this? Plus, could they prove it? For example, how do you currently demonstrate the importance of IT support to business operations and outcomes, and when needed, the business value of IT?

Most of the traditional IT service management (ITSM) and IT service desk metrics don’t do this. While the level of incidents handled or the speed of ticket closure might look good in performance reports, they are operational measures that express workloads and efficiency to interested parties. They can be used to show value in improvement-over-time terms, but these metrics still struggle to convey the importance of IT support to the IT organization and the wider business.

This issue is another opportunity for using experience data to show better insights into IT performance, and the HappySignals Global IT Experience Benchmark: H2/2022 shares aggregated experience data that demonstrates this.

In this article Sakari Kyrö dives into the data from the latest @HappySignalsLtd Global IT Experience Report, based on 1,642, 555 end-user responses. #ITXM #ITSM #ServiceDesk Share on X

Measuring the overall IT experience

The overall IT experience data shared in the graphic below is a separate experience measurement area, not an average of all the other experience measurement data areas that HappySignals captures for its customers. It’s a continuous measurement approach that replaces the customer organization’s generic annual IT surveys to allow HappySignals customers to better understand the general sentiment with their IT organization and its services.

The HappySignals Global IT Experience Benchmark: H2/2022
Source: The HappySignals Global IT Experience Benchmark: H2/2022

The overall IT experience measure captures how happy end-users are with IT and which areas of IT contribute to the end-user perception of happiness. Plus, the employee lost productivity caused by IT. In 2022, the overall IT experience score was +35 (based on a scale from -100 to +100). The perceived lost time with IT per month was four hours and 31 minutes.

The average perceived lost time with IT per month based on @HappySignals Global IT Experience Benchmark report is four hours and 31 minutes. Check out the full data here. #ITXM #ITSM #ServiceDesk Share on X

The graphic offers insights that most IT organizations miss with traditional IT metrics. For example, hardware and enterprise applications are the lowest-scoring elements of the overall IT experience. What’s key for this blog, though, is that IT Support Services is the most mentioned contributing factor to both good and poor end-user experience scores. It shows us the importance of IT support to the business perception of IT’s business value.

How different factors contribute to the overall IT experience

The graphic below shows the different areas end-users select as the contributing factors when giving their positive (9-10), neutral (7-8), or negative (0-6) overall IT experience scores.  Hopefully, the obvious thing to notice is that IT Support Services is the top factor for all three of negative, neutral, and positive scores. 

 Importance of IT support
Source: The HappySignals Global IT Experience Benchmark: H2/2022

Viewing these factors by score grouping might be easier to understand, as shown in the graphic below.

 Importance of IT support
Source: The HappySignals Global IT Experience Benchmark: H2/2022

What this experience data and insight means

When end-users are asked why they are happy or unhappy with their corporate IT organization and its services, IT Support Services significantly impact their overall IT experience.

Whether they are happy, unhappy, or somewhere in between, it doesn’t matter. When end-users are presented with an identical selection of factors to choose from, to capture the reason for their overall IT experience rating, IT Support Services is by far the most commonly selected factor. 

Whether they're happy, unhappy, or somewhere in between, IT Support Services significantly impact an end-users overall IT experience. See the data via @HappySignalsLtd here. #ITXM #ITSM #ServiceDesk Share on X

The importance of IT support to positive experience scores

It shouldn’t be surprising that, for many people, human connections are an important factor in experiences. That happy end-users most frequently selected IT Support Services (60%) and IT Personnel’s Attitude (53%) as contributing factors to their overall IT experience score reflects this. These factors rated far higher than the first technology-based factor for positive IT experiences, with Remote Work Tools and Support at 35% and then Computers & Equipment at 30%.

Only 29% of responses rate Computers & Equipment as a factor for a poor experience with IT, vs. 69% for IT Support Services. The tech is less significant than service and process. Data via @HappySignalsLtd. #ITXM #ITSM #ServiceDesk Share on X

So, looking at this data to determine what contributes to an employee’s experiences with and perceptions of their corporate IT service provider, it’s hard to miss that the IT service desk (whether internal or outsourced) plays a significant role in delivering positive experiences.

I wonder what your IT leadership would call out? The delivered technology, including the Work Applications (at 20% in this data), or the people involved in ensuring that employees can work productively when IT issues arise?

The importance of IT support to negative experience scores

IT Support Services is again at the top of the list of experience factors, with 69% of respondents giving it as a contributing factor for their poor IT experience score. Whereas Computers & Equipment was selected as a factor for the poor experience scoring in only 29% of responses, with this second highest-scoring factor a long way behind IT Support Services. 

Again, even with negative overall IT experiences, it’s hard to overlook the importance of IT support capabilities.

The importance of IT support and the IT service desk

Based on the above experience data and insight, your IT service desk can make or break end-user perceptions of your IT organization (and not just those for IT support).

So what is your IT organization doing to improve its IT support capabilities? Is it focused on reducing IT support costs, potentially speeding up operational practices at the expense of end-user outcomes? It will not be alone if it is. Sadly, this situation is just one of the many scenarios where the absence of experience data allows “ill-informed” decision-making to drive the wrong IT and IT support strategies and outcomes.

This “importance of IT support” and more experience data are included in The HappySignals Global IT Experience Benchmark: H2/2022 report or you can watch a video that shares the key data points here.

https://itsm.tools/

Sakari Kyrö
ITXM Lead and Co-Author of The Global IT Experience Benchmark Report at HappySignals

Sakari Kyrö sees himself as an analytical and curious optimist. He holds a M. Sc. in economics, but has since his teenage years been more interested in psychology and technology.

When he got his first radio cassette player for Christmas as a little boy, his first task was to take it apart to see what was inside. The same curiosity for the inner workings of things has now led him to work at HappySignals, trying to understand how enterprise IT could become more human-centric all the while being a win-win for the people of the business, as the business itself.

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