Managers Unsatisfied With Third-Party Enterprise Tools

A survey finds 9 out of 10 managers, regardless of company size or team function, spend time on administrative tasks outside their core job function.

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Managers in corporate environments spend nearly two days a week on unnecessary day-to-day administrative tasks that are not core to their jobs, according to a survey of nearly 1,000 managers in the United States and the United Kingdom by enterprise cloud specialist ServiceNow.

The survey found nine out of 10 managers, regardless of company size or team function, spend time on administrative tasks outside their core job function, such as providing status updates, filling out forms, requesting support and updating spreadsheets.

"The legacy systems that run the day-to-day work at most organizations are email, spreadsheets and other personal productivity tools that came into vogue back in the late '80s and early '90s," Chris Pope, ServiceNow's strategy leader, told eWEEK. "They exist on our desktops and have been carrying the weight of doing work because they are easy to access and comfortable. However, email was never intended to run a company's business processes. It is a communication vehicle that has been bastardized to fill a gap that exists in the systems permeated throughout the enterprise."

Pope said organizations could easily streamline and automate their internal business services today.

"At its core, a service is defined as a transaction between a requester and a provider. Every department across the enterprise has its own set of services that can be automated to improve the service experience for both requesters and providers," he said. "Customers use service management to define, structure and automate those services, removing inefficient, manual processes, such as using emails and phone calls to get something done, or spreadsheets to track progress."

On average, respondents said they spend more than 15 hours, or two days, a week on routine administrative tasks, with 20 percent spending three days or more, and as a result, half of those surveyed said they do not have time for more strategic initiatives.

Respondents reported having to deal with four different departments for the enterprise services common in almost every organization, and more than 30 percent said five to 10 departments are typically involved in getting a new employee set up for their first day.

In addition, more than 30 percent said that it takes more than 10 individual interactions such as emails, phone calls or personal visits to make sure the company is ready for that new employee's first day.

However, three-quarters of those surveyed said they think that work processes and systems should work more like those they experience as consumers, and they desire the simplicity, self-service control and transparency that they experience with popular online services they use in their personal lives.

The vast majority (80 percent) of those surveyed said they rely primarily on inefficient, manual tools such as email, telephone calls and personal visits to get work done.

The survey also revealed email is the top method used for opening a purchase order (53 percent) and onboarding a new employee (46 percent), while nearly half of the respondents said that using email and spreadsheets for managing work is reducing productivity at their companies.