User segmentation is not a new concept, it has been around for a while. What has apppeared to be lacking is an operational definition and a set of compelling reasons to adopt the approach. Given all that IT has to deal with the economy, delivering high service levels and a continuing focus on end user satisfaction, the timing may be optimal for the methodology to take off into the main stream. As with all of my blogging, the opinions and views expressed in the blog are mine, and not necessarily those of my employer.
For quite a while user segmentation has been in the background while other disciplines such as TCO and optimization were top of mind. Part of the issue, perhaps, was that the methodology was lost in the larger belief that across the board standardization was considered to be the single driver of costs. However, with innovation occuring at a frantic pace, today, there is technology that frankly did not exist in scale 2 to 3 years ago, and now can deliver cost benefits that may be greater than that of standardization. Think about virtualization scaling from the pilots and proofs of concept to the main stream, the ubiquitous handheld devices, the too many to count number of form factors that an end user could have. These are but a few of the examples.
Interestingly, user segmentation has been considered subjective or annecdotal, but we are all using it every day. A case in point- is there a company among us, that has the same service level for all of its workers ranging from executives to teleworkers to engineers. Of course not. And yet, in IT if the charge back system or allocation back to the end user departments is not able to be altered, there may be no consequence for departments, business users, or end users in making certain IT decisions. Yet IT still is required, usually at a lesser cost, to support these solutions. User segmentation has also "sufferred" in being considered the same as end user "profiles" as one could address in certain software tools, or within HR job codes.
So how does your business deal with this type of issue?
In my working with various businesses, it is becoming more apparent that due in part to the economy and due in part to risk associated with certain decisons, that user segmentation is now a main stream discipline. Closed Loop Lifecycle Planning, which is the name for my body of work, defines user segmentation as the optimal alignment of end user requirements to the suite of access devices, risk, costs, and service levels.
The conversation is no longer solely about enabling end users, but what is the most effective solution to improve the experience without changing the overall set of economics - particularly if there is cost reduction and cost avoidance available in bringing about the change.
The other driver that is making or will make user segmentation main stream is simply the device diversity and where, how and what is contained on the device(s).
The argument could be made not to adopt user segmentation which could be a logical decision. It is suggested that the cultural, social, or political rationale (or the economics) may play a large role in user segmentation adoption.
Given this as a backdrop, what are your thoughts about user segmentation as a main stream methodology? Has your business considered the approach and if so, has it been successful or has it been dismissed for any reason.
Past implementations were based upon user descriptions such as power users and knowledge workers, which would seem itself to present a challenge in terms of execution across an entire enterprise. Most businesses seem to have 6 or so predominant user segments that can be identified and managed in an manner that optimization could occur.
Have you seen the same experience in your business? My opinion is that user segmentation, is ready to be a prime time approach and where it works, it could work exceeding well.