Digitization empowers the workforce. That’s the promise of popular initiatives such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), anytime cloud access and remote desktop logins. And in large measure, these promises aren’t exaggeration: Cloud solutions can lower costs and enhance productivity, while mobile device adoption gives both staff and C-suite executives the apps and access they need to complete mission-critical tasks.

The challenge? There’s an emerging disconnect between IT and the digital workforce — users are frustrated that technology doesn’t always work as advertised while technology pros are looking for ways to streamline solution delivery without compromising security. How do companies deal with the disconnect and empower agile IT management?

Worlds Apart

The IT-worker relationship seems straightforward: Staff report problems to IT when they emerge or ask for new technologies to empower their agenda as necessary, tech pros provide solutions and everyone is happy.

But as noted by a recent Forrester study, the reality doesn’t match up. Just 20 percent of business users believe IT is aligned with their business needs, and most say IT doesn’t deliver projects on time or reduce the frequency of tech issues. Even more worrisome in a digitally empowered, always-connected work environment? Users believe their satisfaction isn’t a priority for IT staff. Employees don’t get off the hook entirely, since they often bypass IT and hope the problem disappears or try to find their own workaround.

The widening gap leads to a double set of problems: According to Net Imperative, almost half of marketers surveyed need IT to resolve issues at least once a week to effectively carry out marketing tasks, leading to stress on both side of the technology divide. In addition, the changing nature of work is also changing workers themselves, with many staff moving on after just two years of employment — even sooner if their expectations for a digitally-connected, agile workplace aren’t met.

Changing the Story

According to research by Deloitte, Millennials will soon comprise the bulk of American workers and are the first “digitally native” generation. As a result, they won’t accept arguments about the way things have “always been done” or why processes can’t be made more efficient with cloud-based apps or third-party services. Deloitte argues that to empower digital change companies must treat employees like customers, providing not only what they need to accomplish critical tasks but also what they want.

What does all this mean for IT? That it’s not enough to rely on a break-fix model of support, or one that tasks employees with reporting all network outages, software problems or hardware issues. Instead of getting there just after a problem has occurred or when employees are already frustrated, IT staff need to up their game with end-user monitoring tools that allow them to detect problems-in-progress and provide solutions on-demand. Consider the user having a problem with slow logins. They might believe they’re the only one or that network services simply don’t support improved speed. In fact, their issue is symptomatic of a larger problem, one that has a simple solution — if IT can see everything, all at once.

Bottom line? End-user employees are the new customers. Managing the digital disconnect demands more than just fixing problems case-by-case — IT teams need the tools and technology to identify, assess and remediate issues in real-time.