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It's official: Your IT department doesn't cope well with change

A survey from Gartner says 30 percent of users think their IT departments are slow to deal with change. That could jump to 50 percent in five years.

Perhaps it should come as a shock to no one, but a Gartner survey released Wednesday makes it pretty clear that people aren't thrilled with how their IT departments handle change.

The survey, released as an early teaser for Gartner's Web Innovation Summit and Gartner Portals, Content, and Collaboration Summit (that's a mouthful!) in September, says 30 percent of users are unhappy with the slow rate of IT change at their companies. That number is expected to climb to 50 percent by 2013.

In other words, if someone wants to use a Firefox browser or noodle with that free Google application, please, please Mr. IT person, let them use it and don't give them the "Well, you're on your own when it fails you!" lecture. (This in no way should reflect on CNET's outstanding IT department, of course, which has embraced Firefox. By the way, I'll really need help today since that VPN software I heroically installed with little aid is making my laptop crash every two hours.)

In March, Gartner surveyed the proverbial IT pros at 360 companies to get an understanding of "what workplace technologies (including social software and new communication and collaboration tools) they were investing in and why" in order to reach the conclusions.

There are obvious culprits for the problem: Understandably, IT departments don't want to be stuck supporting half-baked software, and aren't exactly eager to learn an endless array of downloadable tools. Also, many young users are more savvy about social Web tools than the IT people who are trying to support them, which explains why that dissatisfaction number is expected to go up in the next few years.

Gartner has a few helpful suggestions: Companies should reconsider uniform technology deployments. Instead, they should seed new technologies with cutting-edge users who are more than willing to experiment. But at the same time, they shouldn't ignore the laggards, who just want their computers to work without a fuss. The survey found that one in five users still think the rate of tech adoption is too fast, rather than too slow.

Now about that VPN software: I swear, it's corporate-approved, and there's just no way it could be clashing with some non-approved software I've downloaded. Really, I swear. I'm stumped.