Let Them All Be Power Users

Anyone doing enterprise software probably has toyed with the notion of “power users” in an organization – users who use the software a lot and can teach their colleagues to do the same. Identifying or breeding power users (in Comcate‘s case, it’s usually NOT public works employees) and making them strong supporters is essential.

In the current (and fantastic) Harvard Business Review, the “HBR List: Breakthrough Ideas for 2005” has a number of interesting tidbits, including one titled “Let Them All Be Power Users.” Bottom line: increasing the productivity around the use of email, cell phones, PDAs, etc. is a big big opportunity. If I was to start a new company today, I would seriously consider a business working with professional services executives age 40 and up to increase the effectiveness of their use of technologies.

The idea, #12 on the list, was based on a study that showed the average knowledge worker spends 40% of their workday using email, phones, and other technologies to process information. (If you’re reading this blog, that percentage is probably much higher.) Although it cites Intel and Cisco as putting in aggressive programs to reverse a trend of throwing employees Outlook, a Blackberry, and a phone, and saying “go to work,” I still think a gap remains in professional services like law firms.

As email and PDAs become pervasive, the gap between truly effective, efficient use the technologies and the status quo widens. That’s a big problem, and opportunity.

2 Responses to Let Them All Be Power Users

  1. Michael Simmons says:

    Hey Ben,

    Frankly, this is an awesome business idea. Two things amaze me about the situation.

    1. Many of the successful professional I meet in their 50s are extremely bad with technology (read: copying and pasting text might make them think twice).

    2. They don’t take proactive measures to deal with it.

    It seems like a service that helped executives learn a comfortable, non-intrusive way to learn technology would be extremely powerful.

    – Michael

  2. Ben Casnocha says:

    Not only that, but especially when you’re working with professionals who bill by the hour you can quantify their savings in productivty by the thousands of dollars.

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