You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional role that doesn’t involve using some form of technology. Field sales reps have handheld computers and mobile printers to create on-the-spot invoices. Personal and company-issued mobile devices are tied to work email accounts. And nearly everyone in the office exchanges information through several applications or pieces of software.
This increasing reliance on tech might be a hallmark of the digital age. However, it puts additional strain on IT departments and employees. These workers, already stretched thin, are facing new challenges associated with the resources they are hired to develop and maintain.
While software can often be the source of IT employees’ pain points, it also has the potential to solve them. Here are three sources of frustration your tech staff experiences and how to fix them.
1. Insufficient Coordination
Managers do their best to keep projects on track and everyone in the loop. But simply relying on meetings, spreadsheets, and emails will not get the job done. Somewhere along the line, some team members will know something others don’t. One person might feel stuck, unsure of what comes next and where they should focus their efforts.
Anyone who’s worked with software teams knows that close-knit communication and coordination are musts. If your IT staff doesn’t have the tools to see where assignments are at and how they should contribute, productivity will decline. They’ll waste time trying to find out the status of various tasks and their next steps. Worse, software developers might become disengaged and bring projects to a standstill. And that’s not because they want to but because there’s a lack of urgency and leadership.
Project management tools and applications help fix all of that. While the software isn’t a complete substitute for good leadership, it can get IT teams on the same page: project management apps coordinate group discussions, collaborative efforts on coding assignments, and progress reports. Staff members are no longer caught off guard about new developments and see exactly where they can pick things up. Plus, these tools ensure remote and hybrid teams always stay in sync.
2. Remote Access and File Sharing
According to a September 2021 Gallup survey, 45% of U.S. employees work remotely full or part-time. Among knowledge workers, the percentage of people working from home all or part of the week is 67%. Around 41% work remotely all the time, and 26% have hybrid arrangements. When employees and IT teams work in remote locations, they still need access to resources on an organization’s network.
Although VPN software grants remote access to a company’s network resources, it can lead to some frustration and wasted time. These resources often include applications, files and documents, and proprietary assets. Tech teams involved in end-user support also have to gain remote access to devices to troubleshoot and apply fixes.
VPN servers can also malfunction, leaving remote employees hanging. That’s because employees always have to establish a second connection through separate applications or operating system features. Staff then have to input their login credentials and sometimes a second form of validation, such as a code texted to a personal device. This takes additional steps, opening up the possibility of multiple failure points.
By switching to cloud-based applications and data storage, hybrid and remote teams won’t face these obstacles. They can collaborate on documents in real time without involving attachments and email chains.
3. Applications That Are Out of Sync
It’s a rare organization that doesn’t use more than one software tool or application. When these tools don’t sync information, employees can grow frustrated. One application might generate help desk tickets or bug reports, yet it doesn’t exchange data with a project management tool or client database. Consequently, employees have to cross-reference multiple tools and possibly duplicate their updates.
Teams might spend too much time copying and pasting data or forget to do it. They may also be unaware that useful information exists in more than one place. This could lead to incorrect or under-informed decision-making and inconsistent results and teamwork.
Another common problem that stems from having too many interfaces is confusion. Employees may not know which data source to trust, how accurate the information is, or why each app is important.
While it’s unrealistic to expect that you could use only one piece of software, it’s becoming easier to choose applications that sync. With the increased development of APIs, your organization can select or update different software solutions so they can talk to each other. FOR EXAMPLE, when IT teams update case notes in project management apps, that documentation will sync to customer relationship management platforms. Likewise, conversations from communication apps will feed into project management tools.
Software developers and IT support staff work under more pressure than they did in the past. As organizations’ dependence on technology keeps rising, tech staff have to work faster with fewer resources. The last thing these employees want is to deal with or work around inadequate tools that create additional problems. These work constraints alone can lead to heightened stress and job dissatisfaction.
Some of the more common software pain points are a lack of centralized coordination, clunky remote access, and out-of-sync applications. Managers can help eliminate these aggravations by implementing project management tools, cloud-based services, and software integrations. Doing so can raise IT teams’ productivity while keeping them satisfied and committed to organizational goals.