Ted-Schadler  by Ted Schadler

Do you truly understand your workforce and what they need from technology? Hint, it's a loaded question. You might think so, but you'd probably be wrong. They're not like you. Not at all.

We weren't sure, either, which is why we surveyed 2,001 US information workers — people that use computers in their jobs to find out what technology they use and what they need to be successful in their jobs.

We discovered something that consumer market researchers have known for generations: Not everybody needs or wants the same stuff. So we drew on our decade of experience with quantitative analysis and created a segmentation that highlights the differences between employees based on their need for location flexibility (mobility) and their application use:

  • Location flexibility, a.k.a., mobility — drives differences in the need for smartphones, wireless networks, collaboration tools, and telecommuting support.
  • Application use drives differences in social computing, consumerization of IT, and tolerance for virtual desktops.

We brought these segments  [license required] to life by borrowing a technique from market research and creating "workforce personas" with a name, picture, and detailed description of what they need.

  • There's Michael, a Mobile Professional, who needs to be connected and productive from anywhere;
  • Diane, a Deskbound Contributor, who wants you to keep it simple, but powerful;
  • Oliver, an Offline Practitioner, who's typically on his feet but needs access on the go; and
  • Andie, an Accidentail iWorker, who uses computers only because she has to at work.

Meet your real workforce below.

What does knowing your workforce personas really mean? It means you can do a much better job with that desktop virtualization project, with saving money in your next upgrade of Microsoft Office licenses, with a smarter smartphone strategy, with more targeted social network or wiki investments, with better telecommuting decisions, with training programs, with IT satisfaction measures.

It also signals the end of one-size-fits-all provisioning and ushers in a era of persona-driven provisioning. Start by analyzing what your own workforce truly needs from technology.

Questions, thoughts, experiences? Please share.

Segmentation factors small