Tag Archive | Next Generation IT

Super users – arise!

We’ve all been there – we’ve gone to book a holiday or shop online, filled in our information and entered credit card details, only for the connection to crash; or we need to update a plug in to latest version of Adobe to open PDFs.

When this happens at home, would you give up if you didn’t understand how to rectify the issue?

No, of course you wouldn’t. You would resolve the problem as quickly as possible, using your existing knowledge of software updates, reconnecting to local Wi-Fi networks or even switching devices to increase speed of response.

However, if we put the same individual in a professional environment with identical issues, using work-issued devices on a corporate network, the trouble-shooting nature of that person drastically changes. The tech-savvy, problem-solving ‘Super User’ that was actively resolving IT issues at home is now a shadow of their former self, relying on help desks, or IT teams, to take charge of the problem.

Why stay in the shadows?

This knee-jerk reaction to ask for help eats into both the employee’s and IT staff’s time. While the problem is being worked on, the user often can’t work, just as the IT team can’t focus on bigger, more challenging issues happening across the organisation.

I fully believe that the majority of employees have the knowledge when it comes to solving basic IT issues. However, many choose to rely on the IT team when in the office – perhaps out of habit or maybe even fear of creating a larger problem.

If an organisation has a group of skilled users and empowers them to address their own low-priority everyday problems, such as resetting passwords and lost files, not only would it increase the productivity of the employees, but also that of the IT team. These ‘Super Users’ should be embraced and encouraged by businesses, allowing IT to reinvest time and resources into other , more strategic areas, such as  cloud enabled technologies and increasing security in an ever growing device driven office.

Empowering your employees

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To enable employees to find their inner super user, organisations must prioritise the development and deployment of user-centric technology to encourage and incentivise employees to act when a problem strikes.

This means giving employees access to the devices they are used to using at home and empowering them with a sense of freedom to fixing problems and not dread. This will motivate them into acting when something goes wrong and quickly move their mind-set away from picking the phone up to call the IT team for help.

The expectation and demand for IT Service Desks are evolving beyond our imagination, creating a distinct need for agile, flexible and innovative solutions to meet rapidly changing business and individual needs.

Modern IT service desks are and will be positioned as the central hub for technological innovation within the workplace, offering and enabling users to empower themselves and their peers. Seamless integration between platforms, devices and applications are a desire for modern IT teams and by integrating intelligent service desk functions, this can be bolstered to maximum potential.

So with this in mind, I am urging management teams to find a way to uncover the Super Users in their workforce and enable those skilled individuals amongst us to step out of the shadows and start acting as they would when dealing with an IT issue outside of the office. That might be by pinpointing those who have a different device for every aspect of their lives, leaning on generation Z employees or just putting people on the spot.

Modern systems are designed and developed with the desire to be as user-centric as possible, as such meaning systems should work consistently and users shouldn’t experience issues of technological downtimes, however we are not quite there yet.

For these initiatives to become the working norm and adopted by all, it is down to the Super User champions in the workforce to drive the technology and functions.  By working together, we can solve trivial IT issues, boost productivity and have a business full of IT superheroes.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will explore our NGSD proposition in more detail, and the work we have done to create Super Users in organisations such as Hays. To find out more on the work to date, see the full case study here.

If “IT doesn’t change “IT” stays the same.

We are in the midst of interesting times. Is there ever a day when the bulk of the dialogue isn’t about the implications of “change”. Now more than any time in the last 25 years the rate of “IT” (Information Technology) change is more likely to fill the average enterprise decision maker with dread rather than the childlike excitement of yesteryear. But is “IT” really as transformational as commonly inferred – is the digital DNA always discussed that underpins modern business and society really that fundamental?

A very important topic but one often only discussed in economics or business schools is one of General Purpose Technologies (GPTs). A GPT and there have been less than 25 identified and universally accepted, is a technology introduction that permeates society then fundamentally transforms a whole economy (the real definition is much much longer than that). If we roll back in time the advent of the steam or the internal combustion engine and also electricity are examples of GPTs that are easy to quantify when based on transformational impact.  It should be no surprise that “IT” or Information Technology is also considered a GPT but the in my opinion the current and future resonance of “IT” equips it with the potential to surpass many of the better known GPTs to date by a magnitude (please note, this is a very loose concept as for example without electricity, “IT” doesn’t function).

We have witnessed and been affected by “IT” over the last 40 years to a previously unimaginable degree. However the last ten years has propelled this beyond the realms of science fiction or even the minds of the freest thinking individuals.

We are bordering on an era of IT evolution and advancement potentially tempered only by a lack of imaginative thinking or dare I say it initial financial funding, rather than capability. It now seems virtually anything is possible. And there lies the problem, paradigm or opportunity, the expectations of users / customers of IT are now at a level where they also believe that “anything is possible” and potentially pour scorn on anyone who fails to help them to realise it. This means that not only must “IT” continue to change but so too must the services and solutions providers that deliver “IT” outcomes.

Successful infrastructure product supply and installation services are expected, not optional.  Moving forwards the primary “IT” value add is to help individuals or organisations to realise the transformational affect or outcome of an IT solution deployment that is personal to them. This will not only require a different sales and consulting approach from today’s services and solutions providers but also an attitude change from customers who may need to revise how they position or frame the business benefits they seek from any deployed solution.

Never has the “IT” landscape looked more exciting with the promise of the future truly inspiring to an indescribable degree. In summary. if “IT” doesn’t change “IT” stays the same – we know for certain it will change and therefore we MUST all continue to change.

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: @Colinwccuk