Continuing with the series on elements of Organizational Elements of Effectiveness with IT, we have come to “Computer Savvy of the User-base”. Savvy-ness is not simply knowledge and it is not exactly acquired through training alone. When you look up “savvy” in Wikipedia, you get referred to “intelligence” and “common sense.” Somewhere between those two references lies a pretty good definition of savvy.
A person with Computer Savvy understand computers well enough to readily ingest the knowledge you send their way through training and can quickly adapt to changes in the “mechanics” of a computing process or interacting with the computer (re: joystick to Nintendo Wii or keyboarding to “thumbing” a Blackberry). Most importantly, a computer savvy user has a comfort-level using the computer that empowers them to think beyond the particular computer-based tool that happens to be in front of them to more robust critical thinking about how the tool fits/could fit/should fit into their work-life. They also make it all look pretty easy.
A computer‐savvy user base is highly important to the success of IT, if for no other reason than the fact that a good computer user can make up for a lot of mistakes by system implementers. If few mistakes are made in an implementation, which is the goal, a computer‐savvy user base is important to quickly using a system and getting the most out of it. They can also help speed up business cycles, by being able to take-in changes to the computing aspects of the overall work-o-sphere quickly. A computer-savvy user base is critical to being able to react quickly as a organization. Savvy computer users can also be integral to optimizing a system, and assisting in problem solving to generate more utility from each dollar invested in IT.
A computer savvy user-base can be created. To get there, it is best to think of the creation of computer-savvy-ness as a goal unto itself. Use every opportunity to grow computer-savvy in your organization. These opportunities can include very small things like putting meeting materials out electronically and using the projector instead of paper, to larger issues like hiring for computer skills, training at multiple-levels of intensity for users of all skill-levels when updates or system optimizations occur, or through extensive training campaigns that stand on their own or in combination with major implementations. Anything you can do to make your organization full of computer-savvy users will be an important element in using information technology highly effectively as an organization.