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Entries in IT Satisfaction (1)

Sunday
Apr172011

Hail to the Chief

At a private fundraiser, in Chicago, President Obama spoke about a number of issues but after the address a microphone was left open and reporters covering the event heard his comments. Some of his comments were about government IT.

Mark Knoller, a reporter for CBS, tweeted the following as he listened to President Obama’s comments.

“Obama said he thought that as President, he’d have some “cool phones and stuff” in the Oval Office, but now he says “we can’t get our phones to work!”

“Pres Obama said the govt’s IT ‘is horrible.’ He said that’s the case ‘across the board:’ at the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the agencies.”

I shared this with a number of IT people and the responses all came back the same.

“Typical User. Instead of recognizing the problem being security and process, he is more concerned about “cool phones and stuff.”

Is this really an issue of a user with no sensitivity to the issues faced by an IT infrastructure organization, or is this simply a case of IT not understanding and being sensitive to business outcomes?

President Obama is the first president to embrace technology and recognize its value in communication, requirements gathering (the people in the West Wing probably don’t use this term when referring to listening to the American people), and decision making.

The issue is not whether President Obama’s BlackBerry is secure, but how to make it secure without a loss in user productivity. It is a problem faced by most (non-government) IT infrastructure organizations when it comes to iPhones, iPads, and Droid devices. Cool devices with very simple and productive interfaces, but not enterprise-ready when it comes to security.

We have a practice focused on “IT Satisfaction.” IT Satisfaction is a product of organizational awareness and commitment to making end-users successful. The desired end state is a crystal clear vision of how the end-user perceives services delivered by IT and an ongoing evolution of delivery capabilities surpassing expectations. Based on President Obama’s comments, the White House IT staff is not achieving IT Satisfaction.

The White House IT staff should consider uncovering IT processes and service opportunities designed to drive satisfaction levels upward through reactive and proactive services. They should insulate the President and his staff from infrastructure requirements (i.e., security), and focus on improving their productivity. The White House IT staff has a “game changing” opportunity to bring the President into the 21st century as it relates to technology. The President wants to go there. All he requires are people to listen to his technology vision and have the skills and passion to make it a reality.