Happy workers are more productive. That's not just an axiom; that's science. As such, many organizations are investing heavily in improving employee engagement and satisfaction -- and even the IT department is pitching in.
Consumerization of Workplace IT
The IT department was born when commercial mainframes began proliferating in the early 1960s and, for much of the time since, workers have been told to adapt to whatever technology IT deigns to provide them. This was largely a function of cost, as hardware and software were so expensive that employee preferences were a generally a moot point. Companies bought what they could afford, and employees made due with what they got.
Today most of us carry our choice of Internet-connected supercomputer in our pocket, and nearly every conceivable work function has its own slick web app available for a reasonable monthly fee. The IT paradigm has been flipped on its head, with BYOD policies requiring IT departments to support whatever hardware employees want to use, and Shadow IT projects seeing individuals and teams independently deploying their own applications to solve specific problems without direct IT oversight.
The new motto of IT is "how can I help you make that work?"...whatever "that" turns out to be. And that's just the beginning of how IT is improving the employee experience.
Going Paperless Starts at Home (and is Expected at Work)
The majority of all consumer household bills are paid online. The average American has gone paperless; they aren't filling out forms by hand anymore. The expect the same level of convenience and automation at work, and they expect it as soon as they are hired.
Self-service functionality for all administrative functions is now an convenience that the IT department is expected to provide. Workers don't fill out timesheets, insurance enrollment forms, or paper satisfaction surveys -- all those functions should occur online. Moreover, the employee should be able to answer his or her own questions about these subjects -- or any topic -- by accessing the appropriate intranet resource. The employee handbook shouldn't just be online, it should be searchable. The same goes for any and every critical source of information an employee is entitled to access.
The IT department may not curate this information directly, but it falls to IT to deploy the software tools necessary to make such self-service access possible.
Break Down Office Walls, Virtual and Otherwise
Office-wide high-quality Wi-Fi and VPN-supported telecommuting aren't the only ways IT should be untethering employees from their spots in the cubicle-farm. The widespread adoption of enterprise chat platforms is intended to break down information silos, so that the information that only employees know can be shared as quickly and easily as possible. Being seated on different floors, or working in different departments, should not impede this information-sharing.
Ironically, IT development and operations was among the first to embrace enterprise chat, which is why DevOps is the model for modern chat-based productivity. IT is now expected to both deploy chat platforms company-wide, but also teach the ChatOps ethos to other departments.
This Calls for a Command Center
With so many moving parts and novel responsibilities, managing the flow of all this unshackled information can challenge even the most capable organization. Those who curate data, answer questions, and solve problems for their fellow employees will need their own software to get this new job done. Talla is building that software. Combining the best aspects of chatbots, workflow management, and artificial intelligence, Talla's new ServiceAssistants can empower the IT, HR, and administrative staff that empower everyone else.
Talla is the next software solution that the next-generation IT department needs to ensure the best employee experience possible.