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It's The User, Stupid!

Posted by Matt Dircks Aug 8, 2013
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Sitting in a coffee shop trying to catch up on some work.  A quick scan around the room reveals a lot of folks with laptops and tablets, some playing games or updating social media, but the vast majority connecting to their co-workers via email, web conferencing or other collaboration technologies.


While I am sure the same scene is repeated in thousands of places around the world, a number of things come to mind:


  • Users expect, if not demand, the ability to access content, applications and whatever infrastructure they need to engage with other team members, customers or partners - regardless of where they happen to be or with whatever device they may be using.
  • To enable productivity, the user experience has to be simple, engaging and contextually relevant- whether on a tablet, a smartphone or god forbid… a laptop.
  • If I am in a location or on a device that has specific pre-requisites or that will provide me with unique capabilities- take advantage of them automatically &  transparently.
  • If I need certain applications to do my job, push them to me or provide them to me in a manner that I can easily install and use. Ideally, make me feel like I am in Apple’s App Store or Google Play, but without having to search through 800,000 apps to find the ones I need to do my job or those that my corporate IT folks say are “approved” for users.


Done well, a user-centric approach to delivering applications & “context” regardless of location or device creates opportunities for business to be more dynamic, more collaborative and more effective.


Done poorly, user-centric initiatives run the risk of becoming loosely organized chaos- with huge spikes in calls to IT help desk, increased security risks, and unplanned software license compliance costs from unmanaged users.


Ignored completely, businesses run the risk of becoming  “road kill”, unable to respond to increasingly competitive & dynamic markets.



This shift to a user-centric approach underscores a more significant change in IT, an evolution from looking at services in the context of routers, servers, clients & firewalls to thinking of services from a users perspective.  Services in terms of applications, content, and context -delivered from many sources via  on-premise, cloud or hybrid environments.


As the the emerging trend of user-centricity continue to gain momentum over the coming months/years, we are already seeing profound impacts on how businesses organize themselves, structure work, and redefine relationships between employees, suppliers, and customers.


Ignore it at your peril.