Efficiency is one of the mantras of the IT world. Repeatable, efficient processes. We all strive for them. We all want to do things better. Faster. Cheaper.
Let’s ask ourselves for a moment, though, what that efficiency really gains the business. The truth is, it can gain two things: 1) Save money in department’s budget, and 2) Reduce the time it takes to do things (which is the same as saving money).
The thing is, efficient for IT is not always effective for the company. Let’s consider your IT helpdesk. Which is more efficient- reducing your call times so that your people can handle more calls per day, or spending the time on each call to ensure that the user’s problem is solved and that the user is provided training that helps prevent the problem in the future? Is it more efficient that your software development project is finished on time and on budget, or is it more efficient if the project overruns by 10%, but adapts along the way as more details are learned, in order to better meet the company’s needs?
I’m not saying to abandon efficiency for perfect customer service. This is a mistake as well. The company has only so much budget for IT, and you have to spend it wisely. It’s the same conundrum as the old “the customer is always right” scenario- there is a point you reach that it can cost you too much to satisfy a given customer, and it’s no longer economically sensible to do so.
IT is like sales in a way- it’s all about delivering what the customer needs, for a price that they can afford. Strive for finding that balance. Don’t fall blind to why your IT function exists and what its real goals are.