CIOs are 'out of touch' with end users' needs

Less than half of employees think their CIOs are aware of the day-to-day technology issues they grapple with, according to Gartner.

While 58% of workers surveyed in Europe said their CIOs were "more aware" of their technical challenges, that leaves a large minority with the perception that their IT leaders don't have these everyday issues on their radars, while just 41% of US workers said their CIOs were on top of these problems, Gartner's survey of 3,120 respondents in Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific found.

Non-IT workers were overall more likely than IT workers to express dissatisfaction with the tech they use at work. Only 41% of non-IT workers felt very or completely satisfied with their work devices, compared to 59% of IT workers.

Staff tend not to go to the IT helpdesk when they encounter a problem, however, instead trying to deal with issues on their own by Googling the problem, something especially common among millenials, the survey found.

Workers "are less likely to believe in the value of their IT organisation," said Whit Andrews, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, with just one in five asking their IT department for best practices for what technology to use.

Those that can't solve a problem may turn to non-approved work tools instead, creating potential compliance issues for their organisations by sharing data in ways the company cannot track.

Gartner found that 26% of workers between the ages of 18 and 24 use unapproved applications to collaborate with other workers, compared with just 10% of those aged between 55 and 74.

Gartner urged CIOs to listen to their workforces and respond with better technology where possible.

"Many IT departments will be more successful if they are able to provide what workers say they need, and provide inspiration so they can increase the workforce's digital dexterity," said Andrews.

When companies do not provide adequate technology, however, it has the potential to breed numerous security risks as staff use their own devices that aren't sanctioned by IT. Businesses may also lag behind on important digital advancements when employees don't understand the technology they are using.

To combat this, CIOs have to ensure employees are looking for help in-house, which they can encourage by introducing all employees to new technologies and providing a clear digital strategy for the company, Gartner argued.

Workers in departments outside IT are less confident in their own grasp of the devices they use in the workplace, with only 7% considering themselves experts in workplace technology, as opposed to 32% of IT workers.

"While we expect IT people to feel more confident with digital technologies, these findings highlight how hard it is to help non-IT workers feel as digitally dexterous as IT workers do," said Andrews, adding that improving staff's digital abilities would enable organisations to make use of better technology.

"Organisations seeking to mature and expand their digital workplaces will find that expanding digital dexterity will accelerate this across the organisation," he said.

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