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IT Power Users Will Lead the Way

Have you ever wondered if your company's utilization of Business Technology is in line with the creative market leaders? The Harvard Business Review recently published an interesting commentary by Susan Cramm entitled "How to Support Your IT Innovators."

Ms. Cramm believes that to realize the full potential from business technology, all enterprises need IT-smart business leaders -- up, down, and across the organization.

According to the results of her ongoing survey, however, business leaders apparently don't feel very smart about their IT adoption and application practices.
  • Only 11% personally use and fully leverage the capabilities of the technology currently in place.
  • 50% agree with the statement that "business leaders don't understand how to use their systems and technologies."
  • And, only 25% of business leaders consider themselves "IT-smart."
Liberate the Business Technology Innovators
One person she interviewed said "business groups that have somebody on their team who is an IT expert do much better -- in terms of leveraging technology to meet their needs -- than those who do not." While that may not be profound, it's a noteworthy comment.

Tech-savvy business users perform a valuable function for their less-informed peer group. They are able to determine what is truly possible, with current technology. Why? It's because power-users sometimes have better productivity enhancing tools in their home-based office than they do at their place of work.

How can this be possible? Well, IT managers focused on total control of all physical infrastructure are consumed by operational tasks and remedial user support activity. They have little or no time available to research, test and adopt the best-fit productivity tools for their business user needs.

Don’t Assume, Follow the Informed User
Moreover, there's often a major disconnect between what business users say they need, and what their IT team assumes they would apply. Most organizations use only 64 percent of their enterprise systems core functions, according to a recent Accenture survey.

"About half said they don't need all the capabilities, while a fifth explained that they didn't make use of all the functionality due to lack of time to learn how to apply them," said Accenture.

In summary, Ms. Cramm says that you should identify your lead users, give them more of what they really need, free up your IT team's time to study what they are doing (and why), and then decide how to standardize and scale the most promising innovations to benefit the whole enterprise.