A day in the life of an Information Worker

Forrester introduces its Workforce Technographics to ZDNet readers. What tools are Information Workers using?
Written by Ted Schadler, Contributor

How do information workers -- people that use computers or smartphones in their job -- spend their days?

We set out to answer that question using our new Workforce Technographics(R) data. In our launch survey to understand how regular people use computers, smartphones, and applications to get their work done, we surveyed 2,001 people in the US with jobs in which they use a computer. We asked about all kinds of things, including how much time they spend with their computers and phones, which applications they use daily or even hourly, what applications they find indispensable, whether they work mostly with other employees or with customers or partners, and much more.

Our first report is a quick snapshot of a day in the life of an information worker (iWorker). (We'll be sharing a lot more data at a Webinar on Thursday at 11 AM ET; register here.)For example, did you know that:

  • Gen X (not Gen Y) is the most likely to use Web 2.0 technology to get their job done?
  • Smartphones are available to only 11% of US information workers?
  • Email is still the only application used on an hourly basis by most iWorkers?
  • One in four information workers spend 4 or more hours a week looking for information?
  • 37% of information workers meet with customers or partners at least monthly?

A picture does paint a thousand words, so here's a sample of what we're able to do with Workforce Technographics to separate fact from fiction with accurate data:

What does this mean?

  • What it means (WIM) #1: IT Professionals get a benchmark to compare their company against. This will help them build a business case, drive urgency into the discussion, and understand what their competition may be doing.
  • WIM #2: Investment decisions can be made based on data rather than intuition. In scarce economic times, where even the relatively paltry spend on the information worker toolkit (a tiny fraction of their salary and on par with spending on desks, chairs, and facilities) is under intense scrutiny. Some of our clients require 7 signatures before spending money on new or refreshed workforce technology. Having data -- Forrester's or a custom analysis of your own workforce -- will help.
  • WIM #3: IT can speak in the language of business.For too long, IT has been operating apart from the business they support. There is no such thing as "the business" when we realize (as one client has shared) that IT professionals are also part of the business. But armed with real data, a CIO or enterprise architect or information & knowledge management professional can speak in the language of metrics, benchmarks, and return.
  • WIM #4: Market research can become a valuable tool in the IT portfolio.The availability of online survey tools, a growing capability for quantitative research, and the realization that survey real people (or employees) can help drive the business discussion.

Questions, comments, issues? Please comment.

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