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Survey Finds Company Executives Fail to Value IT in Contact Center as Important to Innovation

February 06, 2009

Technology in the contact center has introduced new methods for handling calls faster and more efficiently. While technology investments can sometimes be daunting, the resulting improvements in operation can often offset costs and produce a strong return on investment very quickly.

The challenge for contact centers is in convincing those that hold the purse strings that this is true. A recent survey commissioned by the IT Governance Institute (ITGI) found that 87 percent of senior executives believe that information technology (IT) is important to their organization, yet more than half do not feel it is an important contributor to innovation.

This discovery reveals an opportunity for IT to increase its value as a strategic partner for the organization and every one of the different divisions or department that it touches. To do so, IT needs to be measuring the value it delivers to these departments, but nearly half of organizations do not measure this impact. With the crunch on the contact center’s budget and the important role that IT plays in this environment, leaders cannot afford to not measure IT value.

The ITGI study found that 59 percent of executives do not view IT contributions to innovation as important or very important, although a strong majority do recognize IT as a major contributor in traditional strongholds such as efficiency and effectiveness. Only a third of surveyed enterprises rely on their IT department to provide information about potential business opportunities enabled by new technologies.

"Executive management is generally convinced of the value of IT investments, but there is a significant lost opportunity that enterprises can close by measuring that value and paying more attention to IT’s potential contributions to innovation," said John Thorp, member of ITGI’s IT Governance Committee, in a statement.

"Given the current economic climate, enterprises should strengthen their governance of IT to ensure that their expenditures are delivering real value, reduce or curtail those that aren’t, and pursue innovative uses of IT that can sustain and increase value."

Executives reported that the organization’s culture and a lack of the right skill base are among the top barriers to achieving value. While these barriers can be especially true in the contact center, many companies are taking the appropriate steps to eliminate such weaknesses in their attempts to reduce attrition and improve overall performance.

"Fortunately, these executives have the power to reduce both of these barriers," said Robert Stroud, international vice president of ITGI and vice president of service management and governance at CA (News - Alert) Inc., in a company statement. "In their position, they can ensure that training is provided to employees, and they can set the tone at the top to result in a culture change."

When IT is able to successfully identify ways to measure and communicate the value they deliver to the organization, they will have a much easier time justifying changes and investments. The contact center is the perfect area to begin this process as many of the necessary steps are already in place and the results can not only benefit IT, but the overall contact center as well.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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