End-user personas help you avoid IT waste. They also help employees work smarter.
You can’t save your way to greatness, the saying goes. But you can certainly spend yourself into oblivion. And no CFO — or CIO, for that matter — wants to pay for IT resources the company isn’t using.
Around the world, organizations will spend $627 billion on devices and $332 billion on software in 2016, according to Gartner.1 But they could save as much as 30 percent on software during the first year of operation through licensing best practices, Gartner says.2
The elimination of wasted IT is one of two key drivers behind the growing interest in persona rightsizing — the process of putting the right technology in the hands of different work roles at the right time. “Organizations don’t just want to cut IT costs,” says Traci Taylor, CompuCom® consulting advisor for End-User Enablement. “They actually want IT projects to pay for themselves. Persona rightsizing can help you achieve that goal.”
The other key driver is the end-user experience. “End users are technology consumers, and they’ve come to have high expectations for enterprise IT,” Taylor notes. “They expect to have instant access to the devices, applications and IT support they need to do their jobs effectively.” Personas are an excellent way to meet those demands.
Defining the End-User Experience
A persona is a detailed definition of a specific group of end users with similar IT needs based on their roles, workstyles and workspaces. Personas give IT a better understanding of employees’ business requirements, and they give the business a better picture of employees’ technology needs.
Once you’ve implemented personas, you can understand exactly which devices and applications each end user requires. That’s when persona rightsizing comes into play. “Rightsizing lets you pull back unused or underused assets that can be redeployed to other team members or recycled,” Taylor explains.
For example, many organizations provide employees with smartphones. But end users who never travel probably have no need for a mobile device. “By redeploying those devices to people who actually need them, you can achieve significant savings,” Taylor observes.
Of course, you might identify end users who require more IT resources than they currently receive — and have to increase spending to meet those needs. But Taylor reports that most organizations end up with significant savings.
Practice Makes Personas
Taylor identifies four best practices of organizations that have been successful with persona rightsizing:
- Validate with the business — Personas are implemented by IT, but IT can’t operate in a vacuum. Work closely with the end-user community to understand their needs and gain buy-in.
- Communicate and collaborate — Many organizations find it’s helpful to work with a business liaison for each persona. The liaison interacts with IT on an ongoing basis to make sure IT continues to understand business needs.
- Manage change — If you take away end users’ mobile devices, you should expect pushback, Taylor says. It’s important to explain why you’re making the change and how persona rightsizing benefits the business.
- Operationalize rightsizing — Your initial rightsizing initiative will likely be a significant effort. But rightsizing isn’t a one-and-done proposition. You need to operationalize rightsizing to make sure personas continue to reduce costs and improve end-user satisfaction and productivity.
- Cost savings — Larger organizations often identify thousands of IT assets that are unused or underused. “Our experience has been that most organizations save money, oftentimes a lot of money,” Taylor says.
- Asset utilization — You should be able to measure usage of whatever aspect of IT you’re rightsizing. “If you’re rightsizing mobile devices, you should see a decrease in the number of devices per end user,” Taylor advises. “If you’re rightsizing software licensing, you should see appropriate changes in licenses.”
- End-user satisfaction — Conduct regular surveys to measure end-user satisfaction. You should expect to achieve measurable improvements in satisfaction as a result of delivering the right IT.
- End-user productivity — It can be difficult to measure whether productivity has improved as a result of persona rightsizing, Taylor concedes. But end-user satisfaction surveys should give an indication that employees have the IT tools they need. And your business liaisons should be able to report on how effectively IT is supporting the business.
Living With Personas
Taylor has worked with numerous companies that achieved success with persona rightsizing. One is a global food-services leader that realized significant savings through rightsizing of Microsoft® Office 365TM licensing.
Office 365 is available in a variety of licensing packages. Many enterprises purchase the most comprehensive package for all end users, Taylor explains. “We helped the company identify end users who needed only email,” she says.
The savings can add up. Taylor uses the example of a typical organization with 3,800 seats. Office 365 licensing costs would be more than $1.5 million a year using the most expensive license model. With persona rightsizing, that organization could reduce annual costs to around $1.1 million with a mix of licenses based on personas.
But Taylor emphasizes that cost savings are only half the equation. Just as important are end-user satisfaction and productivity. And for those reasons alone, more organizations are finding success with persona rightsizing.
1 “Worldwide IT Spending Forecast,” Gartner, July 2016
2 “Gartner Says Organizations Can Cut Software Costs by 30 Percent Using Three Best Practices,” Gartner, July 2016
3, 4 “Worldwide IT Spending Forecast,” Gartner, July 2016
5 “Gartner Says Organizations Can Cut Software Costs by 30 Percent Using Three Best Practices,” Gartner, July 2016
CompuCom® is a registered trademark of CompuCom Systems, Inc.
Gartner® is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc.
Microsoft® is a registered trademark and Office 365TM is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
All data cited in this article is used by permission.