As IT practitioners, we are often inundated with a well-known set of fire drills. Whether it is schedules, contracts, operations or just continually being asked to do more with less. Ultimately, we bear the administrative burden of the systems, services, and capabilities we establish.


It can be difficult to step back, take a deep breath, and reassess what we are doing and for whom we are doing it. With constant pressure on the present, it’s challenging to look into the past and understand the present to help inform the future.


800.jpgBut that’s exactly what we must do, especially if we want to be strategic and influential contributors of business success. We must shift our attitude and our role, from systems administrators and problem solvers to higher value orchestrators and consultants.


This requires a skill and responsibility that is sometimes forgotten in the tyranny of the urgent: Listening.


Users are our customers. But amidst the chaos of systems and services and trouble tickets, it can be easy to lose sight of their desires and preferences, challenges and opportunities—all of which are continually evolving.


We must work hard to understand our users and learn from them. Only then can we solve the right problems and deliver the right capabilities—to the right user community in the right way at the right time.


Intel IT formalized its “listening” process four years ago with an annual Voice of the User (VoU) survey. The survey helps us assess employee preferences and satisfaction, and the intelligence derived helps us determine not only our IT priorities and goals, but also the best approach for achieving them.


You can read more about the VoU survey and how we are building stronger bridges with our users in the Intel IT Business Review, which is now available in a mobile app.


The VoU is an invaluable tool that is helping us become more effective and strategic over time. We dive deeper and gain more insight every year, giving us a much richer picture of the work we do on behalf of our user community.


Beyond baseline satisfaction and preference data, we can use the VoU to take the pulse of different roles, geographies, and teams. We can identify and track trends. We can learn more about the value and usability of emerging technologies. And we can evaluate our past efforts and investments, and finely tune our current and future activities.


For Intel IT, listening is one of the first and most important steps to meeting the needs of our business. It helps us evaluate the past, inform the present, and aim for the future our customers demand and deserve. Learn more by downloading the Intel IT Business Review mobile app. And please reach out to me on Twitter or in the comment section below to share your best practices and experiences.


I’m all ears. Follow me here in IT Peer Network or on Twitter @edlgoldman.


Ed Goldman

Enterprise IT Segment CTO