The failure of IT departments to adapt quickly enough to new technologies such as social software will cause more than 50 percent of users at their companies to become dissatisfied by 2013, Gartner predicts in a new survey-based report.
The survey, which was conducted in March 2008, polled IT professionals at 360 enterprise-sized companies. Nearly 20 percent of respondents said they believed their users felt the pace of change and embrace of new technologies was "too slow" with an additional 15 percent saying it was "much too slow." Close to 50 percent said it was "OK."
As an anomaly, there were some people who felt the pace was too quick. These individuals were called "Laggards" in the report, a term attributed to Everett Rogers, a scholar who wrote a paper called the "Diffusion of Innovations" in 1962. Approximately 10 percent of respondents found the pace of technology change to be "much too fast" and around 15 percent said "too fast."
It's possible that the advent of the digital generation (sometimes known as Generation Y, a group predisposed to using Web-based applications and social software such as social networks) into the enterprise workplace can account for the low number of laggards.
Gartner also reported that one reason for overall user dissatisfaction was that IT has become too obsessed with having a "universal, enterprise-wide deployment strategy." Meaning, they want to buy software suites that include many technologies in one-stop rather than purchase what analysts often call "best of breed" technologies, which are provided by vendors that tend to do one piece of technology well (such as an enterprise wiki, for instance).
Tom Austin, the Gartner analyst who authored the report, wrote that this desire by IT largely stems from success with such a strategy in the past (such as e-mail and productivity software like Microsoft Office).
Due to the high pace of innovation of Web-based technologies, however, the report contends that such a strategy is too limiting if adopting new technologies that help employees do their job is a priority.
Instead, the report concluded, enterprises should use a more segmented strategy when it comes to implementing software so they can embrace more "Web-based alternatives" that users themselves will gravitate towards as they become dissatisfied with outdated or hard-to-use enterprise software.