Modern IT-users today make higher demands of user-friendliness and functionality. The new generation of IT-users is therefore also a valuable source for update suggestions and improvement options. But to reap the experiences, the focus must increasingly be on the super users, by making them heroes and making sure that they are organised and educated for the task. Analyses show that this both increases employee satisfaction and optimises the IT-resources.
Years back, the solutions to IT-challenges were for many companies directed at technological solutions. Today solutions are increasingly based on the end-user’s demands and use of new technologies. The IT-challenges have changed. The focus today is on user-friendliness and this reflects the fact that end-users have taken control over the technology.
This is why many companies are faced with challenges concerning how to secure that their IT-development and -support reflects the user’s expectations and needs. In a global analysis from the Australian technology company Telstra, it is concluded that organisations wherein super users are professionally organised and work closely together with the end-users, also have a distinctly more effective and productive work environment, as well as a much improved employee satisfaction.
I believe that in many companies the structure around the super users and their support is locally founded. This creates sub-optimisation and inexpedient changes. In my opinion, the management risks losing the overview of both the collective IT-structure and its running costs. A collaboration with AlfaPeople can become the foundation of an efficient set-up for development and maintenance of the system, where the company’s super users distribute the tasks by costs, business terms, and knowledge levels.
The new generation of end-users, e.g. the digital natives, generally have very high expectations of their workplace – and of the IT-support as well. Most people expect both remote access, mobility, and desktop virtualisation, but also – not least – that their experiences and suggestions to improvements for new functionality are heard. These expectations have grown with the emergence of the latest IT-tendencies; such as cloud computing. This sets requirements for the company, which in turn has to make sure that user experiences are collected, understood, and handled. A structured approach to super user organisation can support this, and AlfaPeople can contribute to the process.
Avoid shadow-IT with a tight super user organisation
The analysis from Telstra shows that a well-functioning super user-organisation not only optimises resources regarding IT-adjustments and IT-support, but also improves employee satisfaction. The reason behind this, is that the users experience a continuous dialogue and concrete improvements that are relevant for their daily work.
It is also the increased expectations from the end-users that in recent years have made many ERP and CRM suppliers invest large sums in the development of user-friendliness or in takeovers of companies that have “usability” as their core competence. The systems have experienced a qualitative leap forward, and the integration opportunities have been improved. But for the companies it is not enough simply to rely on general updates from the suppliers. More is needed – the Telstra analysis points this out and pays special attention to the fact that 47 percent of the consulted estimate that they have a high-priority IT-project in their department.
This is a very large number, seeing as almost half of the respondents have IT-projects of a high priority. It might take focus away from the core tasks, but it might also create a breeding ground for so-called shadow-IT, where the organisation loses its overview of which IT-systems are critical in relation to their access to information and resource management. At the same time, I suggest that clear channels and educated super users can secure an optimal utilisation of the IT-capacity and minimise the risk of shadow-IT. When it has been clearly defined, who will collect experiences from the user and pass them on to us, we as support partners will be able to prioritise the tasks better as well. This creates transparency for all, and we as service suppliers will be far better able to act as business partners, which will benefit the customer.
If you and your company want to avoid shadow-IT and wish to make the super users your IT heroes, then we have 5 tips for establishing a super user organisation.
Five tips for establishing a super user organisation
- Establish a committee of super users who can support each other and exchange ideas.
- Identify clear report stages between users, super users and the IT-service supplier.
- Establish meetings with the IT-service supplier, so that the contact persons know each other.
- Create education plans for the super users, both for technical and management-related qualifications.
- Engage the IT-director in the project, thus embedding it with the highest authority.
Is your company up-to-date with the end-users? Do you recognise the issues that may arise if you are not up-to-date? By following these 5 tips you will reduce shadow-IT significantly.