Are IT Problems Costing Your Business Big Bucks? Credit: Shutterstock

Routine technology problems are costing businesses dozens of hours of valuable work time each month, a new study finds.

Research from Forrester Consulting, conducted on behalf of BMC Software, revealed that IT issues caused nearly half of business employees worldwide to lose at least 10 percent of their productivity per month and 32 percent to lose as much as 25 percent of their productivity per month. Overall, 85 percent of business workers lose an average of 18 hours a month due to IT problems.

That downtime has costly repercussions. The research found that, on average, IT issues cost U.S. businesses between $337 and $1,666 per employee each month.

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The study discovered that these technology problems are causing friction between businesses and the IT organizations that serve them worldwide. Part of the issue is that there is a significant gap in business decision makers’ perception of the performance of their IT provider and what IT thinks about itself. In the United States, IT organizations think they are performing 15 percent better than their customers think they are.

In addition to down equipment,other frustrations the business employees surveyed have with their IT providers include the inability to reach the service desk, the inability of IT to their view and that the IT employees who were assigned to help lacked the skills needed to solve their problems.

However, IT organizations are taking steps to try and improve the business employee experience, much of which centers around automation. The study showed a variety of automations that many IT organizations have already implemented, with the intent of improving their business users' experience while providing agility, choice and value. These steps range from self-help and self-service initiatives to the introduction of live chat.

Here are some steps businesses can take to reduce the friction between business users and IT organizations:

  • Understand the attitudes, behaviors and cultures of users: Not all business users have the same expectations, demands and needs. How and what business users expect can only be understood through conversations and discussions with the business users.
  • Adjust skills to modify moments of truth: The moment of truth — the point at which a business user connects with a group of people within IT — shapes IT’s entire reputation. Typically, this interaction happens through the service desk. As the first point of contact, the service desk should be trained to be excellent customer-service agents in order to ensure that IT’s moment of truth is a positive one.
  • Leverage automation in key areas: Automation of tasks, processes and decisions can greatly accelerate the resolution of problems and requests and, if applied correctly, reduce business users’ loss of productivity. IT management solutions offer a wide range of automation capabilities that can help.

The study was based on surveys of 900 business users and IT professional organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Australia.

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