End-User Experience: IT / methodologies that impact Knowledge Workers using / training Mission Command, LVCG, Mil2.0 & Gov2.0 capabilities.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Enable US Army Knowledge Workers

I recently had the thought (and shared)...

"Good Knowledge Workers blur this line: Creating/enabling then DOING with IT tools."

Here is an expansion on that thought in the context of US Army IT End Users...

3 simple facts:
  1. GUIs were first established to empower End-Users (and sell computers to the masses). End-Users now had a huge array of software that could be used, but make it do much more, a user had to consult the programmers. 
  2. YouTube taught a generation about URLs and HTML. These are terms and concepts once relegated to developers and technicians. This has forever changed the landscape. Technical terms, concepts and sharing have become the norm. 
  3. There is a huge difference between SharePoint and Google Sites. Beyond primitive read, upload, download, you need a CS degree to do simple back-end stuff (and a lot of licensing money) in SP. You only need to be literate to find huge success in Google Apps. I chose this example, but everyone has their own examples of this. Same comparisons could be made for ATCCS, ABCS and New Age Non-POR systems.
Knowledge Workers (War-Fighters included) toe the line between developing, tweaking IT tools and using these tools in the daily execution of their work. These are trained experts in a field using IT tools they have been trained on to execute their mission, they then become the experts to consult on development of said tools (no different in the Mil, Gov, Civilian or Private sectors). These experts are thirsty for info and new tools to use. This thirst leads to wanting inter-operable tools to mash-up and tweak for their own peculiar use. The current state of commercially available OS, desktop apps, web apps and social media generally meet this need. Knowledge workers like GUIs and understand the underlying "nuts and bolts" to a certain extent (that is why lack of interoperability upsets them - they are just smart enough). To be quite honest - if the GUI does not work / makes no sense, if they cannot import info from an authoritative data source, if they cannot export correctly... they do not use it (US Army POR and Non-POR system use comes to mind - the guys behind TIGR back in the dark ages just may epitomize this).

Developers must remember the audience - the End User. Do not get freaked out because your business model is changing, make your money now from use NOT maintenance. Build it on the back end, provide authoritative data sources and let the End-User control and USE the front end. Handle the code, data sources, SDKs and APIs but allow GUI based app creation and intuitive user interfaces too. Military endeavors are paying close attention to this. The US Army Enterprise initiative is moving forward rapidly. I believe they are on track with planned permeation of network and enterprise capabilities, but apps may suffer due to uphill fights with entrenched IT contracts (we should not need a zillion Field Service Representatives (FSR) for each system / app like the Verizon Network commercials).

Every single War-Fighter is a Knowledge Worker and their IT use is getting ready to explode (imagine the first time you saw the Internet and now your use of it today). They will have it in their barracks, offices, TOCs and pockets. This is bigger than the Knowledge Management Officer (KMO) deal. Industry must make IT capabilities unique, useful, application based, inter-operable, standard, data portable, web based, mobile, synchronized and off-line capable - give them what is now the standard Knowledge Workers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting.