Singapore IT heads not coping with user demand for collaboration tools

Many IT teams in the country are struggling to meet growing employee demands for communications tools, and are further challenged by their organization's directive to prioritze these needs below others.

Some 98 percent of IT heads are struggling to implement communications tools employees expect to access in the workplace, including telepresence and enterprise social networks.

Another 35 percent said their company placed higher priority on other IT projects than those that would deliver IT tools employees wanted, revealed a survey commissioned by Telstra. Conducted by market researcher Vanson Bourne, the study polled 100 IT decision makers in Singapore as part of a global survey that included another 574 respondents from Hong Kong, Australia, United Kingdom, and United States. 

Martin Bishop, Telstra's head of network, applications and services, and global enterprise and services, said in the report: "Traditionally, hardware and software issues were the key challenges of introducing and implementing new technologies. However, this appears to be shifting, with more than three quarters of IT decision makers claiming resistance from people is now either equally or more difficult to overcome."

And while employees were putting pressure on IT departments to provide them with the collaboration tools that enable remote working and mobility, their organizations ranked these needs behind security, efficiency, and cost reduction. The study indicates IT users aren't getting the attention they want, Bishop said. 

"As a result, some businesses run the risk of employees bypassing the IT department and sourcing their own alternatives — in a trend known as shadow IT — potentially leaving the company exposed to security risks and hidden cost implications," he warned.

According to the survey, 40 percent of Singapore respondents found it challenging to deal with shadow IT. Globally, 1 in 2 large enterprises pointed to this as a concern, Bishop noted. 

Among the "superusers", which made up a third of respondents in the country, there was significant employee demand for collaboration tools. Some 65 percent expected their IT teams to support remote access, while 59 percent asked for mobility and 49 percent demanded desktop virtualization. Another 40 percent expected support for BYOD and 37 percent felt likewise for content collaboration tools. 

"Clearly, the implementation of IT products and services is no longer just about finding the most appropriate solution for the organization," Bishop said. "End-users now play a critical role in IT deployment and adoption, which means organizations cannot afford to ignore their demands, especially in the current environment where employees are more aware than ever about the technology available to them."