Ignorance stops firms getting benefits of IT

IT can deliver impressive savings for business but many companies are failing to get the benefits owing to poor staff training...

IT can deliver impressive savings for business but many companies are failing to get the benefits owing to poor staff training and management ignorance over how technology works, according to research by the technology arm of the Work Foundation.

The iSociety report found that although IT can deliver a return of up to seven times the original investment, it is often badly managed.

Common problems include a "low-tech equilibrium", resulting from end-users who are not adequately trained in using computer systems, uninformed managers and IT staff who are cut-off from the business.

"Much of UK management make up a lost generation that does not understand IT because it did not grow up immersed in technology," said the report, which looked in depth at how eight UK companies in different industries used technology.

"Technologists who do have this knowledge tend to be sidelined in key decision-making and are disconnected from the management mainstream," it added.

The report also found that technology such as e-mail often created more problems that it solved.

"E-mail allows you to store conversations but backlogs quickly build up. Some employees had thousands of mails in their inboxes," it said.

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