User profiling: does everyone need the same?

Miniature de l'image pour Sans titre.jpgWhen I'm discussing where my customers want to go with their workplace environment, one of the first questions that comes up is "what do your users do?".

Following the widespread adoption of ITIL, a lot of work goes into defining a service catalogue and looking at the best way of delivering those services, but not so much in how users consume those services.

From usages to profiles

I believe that to get true value out of deploying UC and other workplace services, IT (and suppliers to IT) need to understand:

  • what usage patterns/profiles exist
  • who fits into which profile (or, quite often, multiple profiles)
  • how each profile consumes services and what they need (which services, what SLA, what support, at what price...)
  • how usage will change over the life of the workplace environment (impact of new usage patterns and technologies). For example, do you have plans to incorporate Twitter/Facebook/G+?

Example: from Mobility issues to Virtualization

I worked with one company recently who have more than 40,000 users globally. The conversation started off as a discussion about mobility and how to provide services to mobile devices. After a user profiling discussion, we found out that more than 90% of users are static and use a small range of enterprise applications. So mobility is not the major issue.

Their big problem is delivering the same set of applications to multiple countries to a wide range of desktop devices (PCs and voice/video are sourced from multiple vendors). Now we're working on virtualising and/or web enabling applications so that we can cut the link between device and application for 90% of the users. We will work on the mobility aspects later.

My conclusion

So, the answer to my title question was: 'no, they don't all need the same'.

One of the fun parts of the conversation is naming the different profiles. Some customers go for 'Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum', some go for more descriptive (and sometimes more insulting) like 'Airport-junkie, Desk-Jockey'.

What names do you associate with user profiles? (keep it clean!)


Image by Nick Chaffe of the Young Creatives Network

Peter Glock

With management roles in sales, marketing, and strategy I have over 30 years in IT and telecoms specializing in transformation projects.