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It’s not uncommon for managed service providers (MSPs) to find themselves trying to navigate widely divergent perceptions of how well IT services are being delivered, and the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have pushed various camps within organizations to even further extremes.

A pair of surveys of employees that work remote and internal IT teams conducted by 1E, a provider of endpoint management tools, illustrates how wide that dichotomy has become. A total of 300 remote workers from U.S. organizations were interviewed, while the survey of 300 IT professionals was equally split between IT managers and IT staff.

Every IT manager surveyed (100 percent) said they believe end users are satisfied with the current service desk experience being provided. Not surprisingly, only 44 percent of remote employees said they are completely satisfied. More than one third of remote workers (36 percent) said they are experiencing more IT issues than since they began working from home to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Visibility and access issues for remote endpoints

Despite their apparent confidence, however, the survey finds nearly two thirds of IT respondents (63 percent) have less than 90 percent visibility of remote endpoints. Three quarters (75 percent) admitted it can take hours or even days to retrieve information from endpoints.

Nevertheless, IT professional estimate on average the level of disruption experienced by employees amounts to 52 minutes when a problem is encountered. Employees sharply disagree, with 74 percent reporting it takes hours, days or even weeks to resolve an issue. More than three quarters of IT professionals (76 percent) said they can easily diagnose performance issues without disrupting the employee. Yet, over two-thirds of employees (69 percent) said they feel disrupted when IT is resolving their issues.

The survey suggest much of that discrepancy can be traced back to a lack of feedback. Only 50 percent of service desks ask employees for feedback after the fact. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of IT respondents do not routinely ask employees about their IT experience. A full 93 percent of employees said they believe leadership needs to listen to employees about their remote work challenges.

Not all employees are saints

Nearly three quarters of employees (73 percent) said they are unconcerned their devices could be hacked by cybercriminals while working remotely. An almost equal amount of IT professionals (74 percent) said they are concerned about their ability to respond to security threats when employees are remote.

Despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, it doesn’t appear most employees will be heading back to the office any time soon. Further, even with the IT issues they face, for every individual employee that would prefer to return to the office there is another that would rather not. Regardless of preference, it’s clear employees will be working from home much more frequently even after herd immunity is theoretically achieved.

The opportunity for MSPs to bridge the IT divide between employees and the organizations they work for is vast. Just about every organization is to one degree or another reevaluating their IT strategy in the wake of the pandemic. The average MSP tends to be more concerned about customer satisfaction than an internal IT team that may not even recognize fellow employees as being a customer.

Of course, MSPs sometime forget that end users are the ultimate customer as well. Business leaders are only going to be happy with an MSP to the extent that employees are not in full rebellion over the IT experience.

Savvy MSPs understand the need to create the equivalent of a social contract with the employees of the organizations they support. After all, if the employees are happy, so too within the general scheme of all things IT, is the boss.

Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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