E-mail tops support bottleneck poll

E-mail's emergence as a critical business tool has also made it the number one bottleneck for IT support.

A global survey of nearly 200 IT managers, including 38 from the Asia-Pacific region, identified e-mail software as the single biggest IT support burden in their organisation.

An estimated 36 per cent of respondents said basic e-mail malfunctions can be serious obstacles to productivity, often halting communications for hours.

Password resets (27 per cent) came in at number two followed by networking software issues (12 per cent).

Corporate Express CIO Gary Whatley agreed e-mail support can pose serious problems.

"Our e-mail traffic on Microsoft Exchange has increased sixfold in the past 12 months; it is being used for more business-critical tasks such as tender information," he said.

Whatley also agreed with the survey findings that point to sales and marketing departments as the biggest users of IT support.

More than 50 per cent of respondents said sales and marketing request the most support followed by administration and senior management.

The Macquarie Area Health Services information manager, Srimal Abeysekera, said demand for e-mail support was a significant issue and equalled network printing problems within the organisation.

"The main problem is lack of user knowledge in office applications followed by network login and password problems as well as Internet intranet access," he said.

Toyota corporate and manufacturing systems manager, Grant Crocker, said while e-mail is critical to business there were not many support issues.

He said the company used Lotus Notes and the largest component of support requests were "interface issues".

Telstra's business process and information managing director, Dwight King, disagreed with the survey pointing out that e-mail should be a basic infrastructure support issue.

"Basically it does not cause any significant support problems and is practically seamless," King said.

Support.com Australia's regional director, Jon Baxter, said the study revealed many companies still have highly paid, senior level IT staff responding to the most basic and time-consuming queries.

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