Information Technology (IT) is, by definition, a technical business. Professionals in the industry often use technology assets and their status as a basis for referencing the performance of an IT Department. Management and end-users judge the IT Department differently. This judgment is typically less quantifiable because it is based primarily on the perception of individuals not involved directly with IT.
IT Departments are often doing better than their users think from a technical point of view. Determining the success level of an IT organization depends on identifying the positive and negative factors used to build users’ perceptions about an IT Department. A survey can be an impartial and systematic way of obtaining this information.
Surveys should be given to end users and IT staff in order to build a holistic view of performance. Everyone must be polled because using a survey can help identify problems that exist with users and IT Staff. For example, a survey can help identify training requirements for users, while at the same time providing information on a staff member with a bad attitude.
An IT Department can use surveys for strategic planning. This includes training requirements, user needs, perceptions, building mission statements and rating leadership. Management of an IT Department can use surveys to identify the attitudes of users and workers, helping to build performance matrices. The end result can be improved productivity, quality and work environments.
The design of the survey and selection of the users is important to ensure the effectiveness of the survey. A task list to start with is: Work with users to identify issues to include in the survey. Build a list of survey objectives. Decide on a sampling pool. Plan potential actions and contingency actions to reflect the survey’s outcome. Coordinate a schedule for the survey and resultant actions. Determine topics to be quantified and why, keeping within quantifiable parameters. Build impartial survey questions. Find data to cross-reference against a survey. Study the data. Present results and feedback to the survey takers. Consider a plan of action. Present final results to management. Follow-up on the expected outcomes of the survey.
An important goal of using surveys should be continuous improvement of the IT Department. This means that once a survey has been completed and action has been taken to improve any problem spots, the IT Department should perform the survey again, constantly seeking to improve service. This commitment in and of itself will go a long way in elevating the perceptions of the IT Department both in the eyes of end-users and in the eyes of the department itself.