What are user personas?
Determining your company’s user personas—those distinct buckets of personalities and skill levels throughout the organization—is a necessary exercise for those looking to increase user adoption of a particular enterprise tool or strategy. Knowing the personas within your company and their competencies will not only help you chose the right software solution to meet your needs, but it will help shape corporate strategy from implementation and beyond.
Defining user personas is a common practice for sales and marketing teams, who use these personalities to help sharpen their campaigns and better understand their buyer audiences. These teams typically go in-depth, creating back stories, personal preferences, motivations, and attitudes for each of these personas. Creating a buyer persona is an exercise in crafting a well-rounded, developed character. Each is a fictionalized representation of each type of person they may encounter in the funnel.
Why should you care about user personas?
When it comes to successful software implementation at your own company, it’s just as important to turn that lens inward. The benefit of creating personas within your own company is that you are able to create a sharper, more precise end-user character by taking the time to evaluate, talk to, and understand the employees in each of your departments.
Understanding the daily problems employees face and how they best interact with technology brings the type of solution you need into sharper focus, ensures you are addressing the full holistic needs of the entire company, and creates greater ownership of the solution from the outset by including everyone in the buying and implementation process.
Who are the user personas in your company?
Every company is different when it comes to determining your own company user personas, but there are many common traits across organizations and industries. Below, we’ll give you the four most common and describe who they might be.
The Consumer is a head honcho decision maker within the organization. This user almost exclusively relies on others to provide them with the information they need in order to make those decisions, which is why we call them a Consumer of information. Often, the Consumer doesn’t even know he or she is working within a specific platform when dealing with information. For example, within a meeting management solution, the Consumer is likely to only utilize the meeting management tools that were already available within their Outlook Calendar interface without paying much additional attention to the other features and functions, such as catering. This user will have dashboards delivered directly to them with insight into office space utilization whenever a decision needs to be made. They will not be producing the analyses themselves.
Who are they: C-level employees
The Dabbler likes to get their hands dirty with new software solutions and tools, but their skill level with such tools does not extend beyond what is most immediately available to them. They are competent in basic technical tasks in any enterprise software related to their role, but not much else. They enjoy the perks brought about by new technological solutions, but don’t want to spend significant time or resources learning new tools or interrupting their current workflow. It is important that any new solution is integrated seamlessly into the Dabbler’s existing tool box.
Who are they: Managers, VPs
3. Business User:
This user has enough technical skills to start to peel back the layers of a software solution’s onion. The Business Users is often a team leader who others turn to when they need technical help, even though this is not a role within the IT department. They take interest in new tools and enjoy flexing their technical muscles by testing the basic limits of an enterprise software solution. This user will likely be an outspoken advocate for any new tool they find worthy. They are early adopters and the first to find short cuts to better integrate the tool into their routine. With a little training, they are a valuable technical asset.
Who are they: Mid-level employees
4. Power User:
The Power User is the member of the IT team who typically served as the initial Evaluator for purchasing and integrating any new software solution for the company. This user is on the IT team or has a strong IT background. He or she knows the ins and outs, shortcuts, and full range of capabilities of all or most of the company’s software solutions. The Power User serves as a liaison between the rest of the company employees and software partners. They can be counted on to dive right into new solutions and may show some impatience for those who don’t immediately see the benefit of a new tool in their daily routine.
Who are they: IT, Information Analysts
These outlines are just scratching the surface of how deep you can go when creating user personas for your own company. Use your imagination and craft a full character. How old are they? Do they have a family? What are their hobbies? Do they play or watch sports? Are they a work-a-holic or out the door at 5 p.m.?
Of course, the best way to know your company personas is to get to know your employees. A deeper understanding of their passions and personalities may uncover some surprising or un-tapped into skills that could be extremely beneficial in the evaluation, implementation, and daily and future usage of any new technology platform. This is the easiest way to ensure a smooth transition, and set each of your teams up for success. And as an additional bonus, it helps foster a healthier work culture when the personalities of the entire company are taken into consideration.