User Segmentation – A Brief Note

There are plenty of disruptions taking place and the most disruptive ones are user centric. When IT is performing a strategic Revisit to their AS-IS Portfolio and looks at these disruptions, there is a strong call to Identify the Type of Users and bucketize them to make IT Planning a simpler exercise with the best Interests of the Users in Mind. This brings up the problem of deciding the logic by which this needs to be performed and best technology fit for their portfolio of users. This is where user segmentation comes into the picture and Most organizations are stumped at this very crucial stage of overarching End-User-Productivity Centric transformation … I have been seeing some approaches where the users get segmented by organization position roughly on the following lines:

  • Office staff – staff working from Office most of the time
  • Mobile staff – staff working in continuous state of Transit as part of job
  • Guest – External Users utilizing the Office Premises during visits and meetings
  • Partner – Similar to Guests but slightly more trusted and could be using your IT provided equipment
  • Senior management – Managerial Staff where Productivity delay or slowness would impact on productivity of multiple staffs
  • Executive management – High Management responsible for Strategic Management of the Enterprise
  • Contact center – Customer Service Staff using Specialized Solutions for Customer Service and Remote Sales
  • Hazardous workplace – Staff working in Not-So-Normal workplace.. take a guess. Even homes can be hazardous in the presence of naughty kids and angry spouses roaming around J


I’m not convinced with this method for the following reasons:

  1. Tech savvy (not technology savvy) is probably the most important reason why the current generation is going to be very different than previous generations…Actually this apart from economic situations can be clearly noted as a aspect that changes the attitude in every generation. Within a Generation however, this is not defined by position in org structure but personal attitude. For example executives are typically expected to be non-tech savvy and brand conscious… Look at bill gates, mark z…they are geeks and I have worked with several senior execs who are way more tech savvy than I would expect.
  2. User preference for personalization – This capability is available in open market at much lower cost, easy replacements and support both from the product and tech community.
  3. Economic pressure to go wise on tech and try to restrict investment only on items that directly provide business process adherence. Anything else should be purged from the ecosystem.

Considering the above aspects I believe user segmentation coupled with IT asset business impact study is what should be the start of any Strategic plan. Even user segmentation should have multiple dimensions

  1. Tech savvy…This could fall under the following buckets
    1. Geek – Person who has motivation to learn Tech and will do anything to personalize the equipment by hook-or-crook. Typically such people are looked at as nasties but remember if their talent is channeled into Digital Business Capabilities…The possibilities are enormous.
    2. Trainable – Person who is readily trainable but would prefer to not play around too much with the device given to them except what the job requires
    3. Normal – Person would adapt with group training and adopts with the crowd.
    4. Restricted – Specialized Profiles who of course are trainable but need to confirm no matter what. This would be the current generation IT’s favorite target but unfortunately this population is a minority in most organizations.
    5. Shared – Users who are external or Guests or Non-Human Shared Users like Meeting Rooms.
  2. Volume of Official Collaboration – People who need to use Official Communication Methods as part of their job like company provided phone number, official IM Client, Official Content Management Solutions etc.
    1. High – Like Call Center Agents, Sales & Marketing & Legal
    2. Medium – As in Back office Operations, Finance etc
    3. Low – All Others…For these people the message needs to go and doesn’t matter if its from the Office number or email-id
  3. Business Criticality of Collaboration – Lets monetize this and measure the damage of Collaboration downtime individually per person
    1. High – 1 minute downtime = $100K damage (Damage = Loss of Revenue or Production or Reputation)
    2. Medium – 1 hour downtime = $100K Damage
    3. Low – 1 Day Downtime =$100K Damage
    4. Negligible – Too Low to be of any value

Further when these get looked at from the media of communication the spread changes further…but IMHO the above three would give a clear buckets into which the users split and can be used for Intelligent Plans for the next round of Investments. With the above the possibility of Clearance of Tech also may be encountered in many cases saving IT some more cash… What do you think makes sense in your company?


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