Outdated technology is costing companies a ton of money — $1.8 trillion a year, to be exact — according to a survey released today by Cary, N.C.-based IT firm Samanage.

The online survey of 3,000 US adults this month focused on employee attitudes and preferences toward the hardware and software they use for work. It found that most grapple with slow networks, inefficient collaboration software and tasks they think should be automated.

While $1.8 trillion in waste sounds a little hyperbolic, the responses shed a light on the state of employee satisfaction with their choices and processes.

The Culprits

Workers spend an average of 520 hours per year on mundane, repetitive tasks that could be easily automated, such as password reset requests, new employee onboarding, contract reviews and approvals, and office supply requests, the survey found.

Here’s another eye opener: 63 percent of those surveyed said the collaboration technology used most frequently was email. Really? You don't have to look far to find an expert to complain about email, which forces us into constant task switching, is inefficient by design and seems archaic  in an era of ubiquitous collaboration platforms.

It's not surprising then that a little over one-third of those surveyed described their company's technology as outdated. 

Nor is it much of a shock that almost 20 percent of those surveyed said they downloaded an app to a company device without IT department permission. While such activities are difficult to monitor, they can be the pathway for malware to enter into the company’s networks.

There's a lot of confusion in the workplace. For example, 17.4 percent of those surveyed didn’t know what software their company used to collaborate. Same thing in response to the question: “do you use technology and devices to complete your work?” About 23 percent said they didn’t know or were not sure.

What to Do

It would seen that many of the companies in the study could use some additional training. If you’re not sure what your collaboration platform is, or if you’ve downloaded apps without a manager’s approval, then you have some bigger problems to solve.

Embrace a solution like Slack or Yammer, which helps workers collaborate more quickly. 

Of course, Samanage is only too happy to pitch its own solutions, particularly its Software-as-a-Service options that can perform IT service desk and asset management roles. The more data, assets and other logistics that can be streamlined by technology, the better for all.

Nonetheless, there continues to be a disconnect between how effectively people want their technology to be and what it really does for them. Should this survey return at this time next year it will be interesting to see if that “wasted money” figure creeps even higher.

Title image "Burning Money" (CC BY 2.0) by purpleslog