Employees impatient to download the latest sales database and develop their own Web sites are the corporate stars of the future, claims new research.
?Tapping IT Volunteers?, by US-based Forrester research, uncovered a new type of worker - end users with a sophisticated IT knowledge - who were keen to construct their own complex data systems, build their own applications and apply new IT business solutions to everyday tasks.
Forrester research calls these people - around 25 per cent of any workforce - ?Technology Tigers?, as opposed to the remaining end users, who are mere ?Sheep.? Such tigers will raise profits and be highly sought after, in what the study terms an ?information democracy?.
The research examines employees? relationship with technology and their views on IT training. All those surveyed were working in a variety of large US corporations, outside IT departments.
If the findings are an accurate signpost for industry development, IT departments worldwide face a serious shake-up. The so-called tigers are outpacing what little IT training is given to them - the majority learn through trial and error - and over half of the enthusiasts call for more in-depth computer training. ?Tigers need special attention when technology is integral to every business process and service,? argues the report.
This is a formidable challenge for European and US businesses, according to Gordon Ewan, director of the National Training Organisation for Information Technology.
?With things like 24-hour banking and electronic commerce IT is an agent for change, challenging the way companies do business,? he said.
Ewan calls for a revolution in the nature and organisation of business IT systems. ?People in IT departments are already feeling threatened by more user-friendly software,? he observed. ?IT has the potential to radically change the workplace for the better, but it isn?t at the moment because systems are too centralised.?
But one downside of a great IT leap forward could be workers getting distracted by more complex applications and programs. ?Just because someone can master an advanced application or download a Powerpoint presentation they aren?t necessarily adding to company profits,? said one former Nissan IT manager.
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