The ultimate IT experience – part 1 of ?

This site is searching for solutions/products which will contribute to an ultimate IT experience. But what is the ultimate IT experience? The view from an IT administrator will be different than the view from the business (end-user). In this topic I will first describe the view from the business.

An IT infrastructure is used to transport data from the datacenter to the end-user (via network) and to convert this data to information (via applications). This process leads to some expectations from the business (end-user). An ultimate IT experience should produce happy and high effective end users, which will make your business more profitable.

Which characteristics should an IT infrastructure have to contribute to an ultimate IT experience? Based on some keywords I will describe these characteristics.

Perform: How fast can you get access to your information? When sizing your infrastructure, you should size on performance. Especially when working in centralized environments this is critical. What is acceptable for the Business?

Secure: Critical information needs to be protected against lost or theft.

Reliable: The Business need to rely on the information they get from the system, therefore it is important that the information is always accessible and consistent.

Simple: Access to information should be easy. Of course this is also dependent on the application itself but the infrastructure shouldn’t be a bottleneck. Because users will use the IT infrastructure 24×7, you should provide users with some kind of self service for example to reset their password or restore a file. Most companies don’t have 24×7 service desk available.

Mobile: Working hours are changing, endpoint devices are evolving. Users are searching for a good work-life balance. Access from any device at any time at any place is needed.

Usable: The Business may not be limited by IT. How much freedom do you want to give to your users; user installed applications, bring-your-own-mac pc concept. But also giving users the ability to choose their favorite browser, by a self-service portal, could be some kind of freedom. Of course the level of freedom needs to reflect your business needs.

Adaptive: It should be possible to quickly execute changes in your Business Model, like deploy new applications, acquisitions or mergers. The IT infrastructure must be able to adapt such changes quickly.

Green: This will probably be a trend for the coming years. Companies will have to prove what they are doing on reducing their carbon footprint.

Cost-Effective: In the end the infrastructure should “return on investment”. You can build a “Ferrari” infrastructure but if it not contributes to the business profit it is a waste of money.

When building an infrastructure solution, above characteristics should be kept in mind. Of course you also have to deal with different user types. If you give each user type 100 points to set importance on the characteristics you will see different interests.

To get a better understanding, I’ve classified end users by their roles. I think we could say there are 3 different user types:

The Knowledge Worker: creates, consumes, transforms, manages and analyses information. Needs reliable information to make decisions. Examples; Managers (middle senior), Consultants, Executives.

The Structured Task Worker: creates and consumes information. Needs to be able to find information quickly. Examples; Nurse, Call Centre Operator, Bank Clerk.

The Data Entry Worker: creates and consumes information. Needs easy access to information, works with standardized processes. Examples; administrative role, receptionist, call center employee.

When designing your infrastructure you need to know what kind of users you are dealing with. Each user type has different demands. Next to that you will also have different generations within you user types. The “Generation Y” user is used to deal with IT related stuff in her\his private life, the IT demands of this user will be higher than a user from “Generation X”.

We now have the characteristics of an ultimate IT experience, from an end user (business) point of view. In the next blog about this topic I will define the characteristics of an ultimate IT experience, from an IT operator/administrator point of view.
When the characteristics are clear, these will be translated to the different IT infrastructure layers. After that it is possible to review products/solutions to see if these contribute to the ultimate IT experience.

What do you think? How should you describe the ultimate IT experience? Please let me know.

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