Monday, May 10, 2010

Does IT need to please the end user? has some interesting things to say on this subject.

Is it your job to make sure your end users can use new software or systems? Or, do you find the best solution for your company and hope the end users catch on?

It’s a tricky question, because while you can’t please every single end user, you must find solutions that they can and will use. You must find solutions that are easy for the technical and non-technical employees to pick up.

Why should user opinion affect tech decisions? When your end users hate your IT solutions, a few different things can happen:

1. They use it correctly, regardless of personal opinion. This is rare. If users find new software or systems difficult or confusing, very rarely will they figure it out and use it correctly. A small percentage will.

2. They use it, but incorrectly. This is common for end users who don’t understand new software or systems. Even though it may be perfectly simple for the tech department, the end users just can’t seem to figure it out. If the misuse continues, it will lead to all sorts of problems down the road…usually problems for the IT department.

3. They don’t use it at all, and blame their lack of progress on IT. Some end users become frustrated and refuse to use the new software or systems. They blame their lack of progress on IT and complain to their managers. Very often, they go back to the old way of doing things. This also leads to problems as now you have different users doing different things.

4. They don't use it, but find their own way to do things. This is the most dangerous scenario. Some of the more advanced end users know enough to work around your systems or software. Very often, they create security issues because they’ve figured out how to bypass the system. They remain productive, but create big problems for IT.

From my perspective, it is in an IT department’s best interests to take the end user into consideration when purchasing new software or systems. If you want to read further on the subject, this article in brings up some good points.

In conclusion, failing to consider your users not only leads to more work for IT, it could also lead to security holes or worse.


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