Is User Empowerment Worth the Disruption?
|Subscribe to receive updates when new Debates are released:|
|Receive emails | RSS (What is RSS?)|
Employees are expecting access to ever-more-sophisticated technologies in the workplace. Empowering users with such tools can generate value, but is there a point where CIOs should put the brakes on continual technology disruption?
Not too long ago, employees began asking CIOs to make business systems user-friendly. Shortly thereafter, these same employees began expecting CIOs to provide the kind of simple, innovative technologies they became accustomed to in their personal lives. Today, they want personal and contextual functionality and an IT environment in which everyone can use effective apps to accomplish their tasks – regardless of being internal or third party. Some claim that empowering users in the workplace with leading-edge technologies can spur productivity and efficiency. Yet, others may wonder if the ongoing disruption caused by largely unproven innovations may be too high a price to pay for such gains. Should going “all in” with user empowerment be a business imperative?
Explore all sides below by clicking on each button:
|We’re stretched too thin as it is.
Even if we could create things like contextual and personal functionality, IT groups don’t have the capacity to support and maintain them on an ongoing basis.
|Empowering users with leading-edge technologies may be easier than you think.
Not every new solution requires a reinvention of the IT wheel. In some cases, persona-based layers can be added on top of existing systems.
|Introducing a host of new technologies could degrade system integrity.
Maintaining the integrity of enterprise systems and data is already challenging. Now you want me to introduce unproven technologies to this environment? The net result will likely be bad systems and bad data.
|The longer-term benefit may justify the short-term pain.
Yes, unproven technologies can increase certain IT risks. But by embracing innovation and experimentation now, you can gain a wealth of experience with leading-edge technologies that late adopters are unlikely to have.
|We’ve already done enough to meet employee requests.
The company has invested considerable resources to make our systems more user-friendly, and at some point we have to draw the line between supporting our core business model and becoming an in-house application development shop.
|Creating user-friendly systems and actually empowering users are two different things.
The idea that business systems should be easy to use is yesterday’s news. The future lies in harnessing leading-edge innovations to meet each user’s particular business needs. You need to do both.
|Most employees at my company are not ready to use leading edge tools.
Why introduce so much disruption just to please a handful of “power users”?
|The theory that “if you build it, nobody will come” is unfounded.
Many business users are likely to follow the “power user” lead and use the technology that can help them work more effectively to achieve their goals.
Nelson Kunkel, National Creative Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP
What may separate great companies from merely good ones is their ability to identify and take bold steps towards promising opportunities on the horizon, rather than waiting for a sure thing. These pioneers understand that even with the risks involved, early experimentation and successes with new innovations can lead to lasting competitive advantage.
Such can be the case with user empowerment. We are shifting quickly from an Internet of Web pages to an Internet of things – of connected objects. Organizations should leverage innovations to interact with entire systems in new ways, absorb and analyze vast amounts of data, and socialize with others. It’s true that some of the innovations that more advanced users want their CIOs to provide today are unproven and may carry some risk. What’s more, not all users are likely to embrace leading-edge solutions immediately.
But consider this: In today’s economy, it can be far riskier to trail your user base than to be ahead of it. At an enterprise level, it is important that CIOs consider empowering more demanding users; viewing them as an indicator of the desires of the rest. To do the opposite – or to take a careful, measured approach – could frustrate the leading edge and contribute to losing critical talent.
Today, user empowerment is a significant business opportunity on the horizon. CIOs and other leaders can seize it by thinking beyond content-centric architectures and systems that match the company’s organizational structure, to context-sensitive design systems organized around the specific needs and circumstances of each individual. They should consider abandoning the persona-driven and compartmentalized view of what it means to be merely user-friendly, and consider instead architectures and experiences that can adapt to the unanticipated aspirations of individuals.
By participating in this poll, you consent and acknowledge that your responses may be disclosed without attribution by Deloitte in future publications and you are authorized to respond to the poll on behalf of your company.
Please review the guidelines before providing your comments.*
Conversations on this debate may lead in many directions. We encourage spirited debate and varying perspectives but honesty, decency and mutual respect are essential. Please remember:
Keep your entries succinct and on topic.
Don’t post confidential information.
Don't use names of companies or individuals.
Use appropriate language and refrain from attacking others.
Comments will be reviewed prior to posting.
We reserve the right to edit, remove or not publish comments at our discretion.
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.