Just under half of those surveyed (48%) felt that IT vendors werent taking customer feedback onboard when it came to product development. In addition, 85% felt frustrated by IT vendors bringing out new products and subsequently withdrawing or reducing support for products that still worked perfectly well.
It is clear that many organisations want more senior-level engagement with their IT vendors, rather than simply dealing with sales staff, said Alan Bowling, chairman SAP UK & Ireland User Group. It is here where strong user groups can play an important role as they can provide organisations with a channel to influence IT vendors at a high level. To give an example, we have been successful working with SAP to help extend the life of some of its older products, making the eventual transition to newer products much smoother for users.
The research also revealed that many organisations still dont feel that they receive adequate levels of customer support. 83% of IT directors felt that they had greater knowledge than their IT vendors support teams when it comes to particular products and processes. This lack of real-life user experience is cited as one of the primary reasons why vendors often take longer than anticipated to resolve problems. A lot of organisations are facing the same business and IT challenges. Many are now finding value in being able to collaborate with each other in a user group environment, added Alan Bowling. The research showed that 82% of those surveyed said that they would like to be able to collaborate with their peers more openly in order to discuss and overcome their IT challenges.
A lack of time and resource for staff training was highlighted as another major source of frustration for IT directors. 78% were frustrated about staff being unable to learn as much from internal experts and their peers as they would like. Against this backdrop over three-quarters of IT directors (76%) felt that sending staff to user events was a beneficial exercise.
Staff training is an ongoing concern for a lot of organisations. Many dont have enough internal resource to deliver on the job training, whilst enrolling staff on formal training courses can be expensive. Therefore, being able to network and collaborate though a user group can be the most cost-effective form of training organisations can get. Through practical training and learning from peers, IT staff can develop new skills and best practice, which can be of great benefit to their employers, said Alan Bowling.
The survey of 100 IT directors, working at organisations with 1,000+ employees, was commissioned by the SAP UK & Ireland User Group and conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne. Further details of the survey are available from Spark Communications on 020 7436 0420.