The 2010 book Empowered by Forrester Research analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler is about employees who are “HEROes”―Highly Empowered Resourceful Operatives. HEROes use accessible, do-it-yourself technologies to solve problems, connect with customers, and build solutions for their companies. HEROes are agile, innovative risk takers who share their learnings with others. They boost the business with projects that improve the flow of information.
HEROes need to provision their own technology
In this book, the authors make the point that two things are necessary for HEROes to be successful. First, the organization’s leadership must encourage innovation and give HEROes the autonomy they need to go off and find solutions. Second, IT must take on the role of advisor to HEROes and their managers.
In HERO-powered organizations, IT is not simply a provider of technology. Instead, IT is a supporter of technology projects created by HEROes. Bernoff and Schadler wrote, “HEROes don’t operate at the speed of IT, they move at the speed of the groundswell―and as a result, they need to provision their own technology.” IT’s job becomes supporting projects as a technology advisor, helping HEROes manage risks, and helping the organization move from what HEROes have built to a system the entire company can use.
QlikView: A technology for HEROes
This story is a very familiar one to us at QlikTech because it is HEROes who are the champions for QlikView. In many QlikView customer environments, the relationship between business users and IT is just as Bernoff and Schadler described HERO-powered organizations. Here’s a typical QlikView scenario.
- A HERO finds out about the QlikView Business Discovery platform. They may hear about it from a colleague, peer, or industry analyst, or in the media or from a social media platform like Twitter. They download the personal edition from QlikView.com and use the wizard-driven interface to import data from one or more sources into memory. They set up some charts and list boxes.
- The HERO begins exploring data. They conduct searches in QlikView and make selections to instantaneously filter the entire data set. They identify relationships in the data, seeing not only what data is associated but what data is not associated. (For example, when clicking on a customer name all products that customer has purchased are highlighted in white and all products that customers has not purchased are highlighted in gray.) They have “a-ha” moments as they make discoveries that enable them to solve the business problem they’re working on.
- More people start using QlikView and adoption spreads throughout the organization. The HERO shares not only their insights but how they arrived at those insights: using QlikView. They point other people in the direction of QlikView so that they can a) start creating their own insights and b) share insights on a common platform. As colleagues see QlikView and hear about how it helped HEROes solve problems, they want it too.
- IT takes on the role of advisor, taking the QlikView deployment to a new level. It becomes clear to business and IT leaders that QlikView is not just a team or departmental Business Discovery platform―it is a business-critical technology that should be deployed on a broad scale. IT gets involved and puts plans in place to optimize scalability, security, and performance of the QlikView environment, and to make sure the data is clean. IT partners with the business and empowers HEROs with tools to help them derive their own insights, rather than force-feeding them predefined reports or dashboards.
In nearly all our customers’ organizations, it is HEROes who bring in QlikView. They use it to solve problems, connect with customers, and build solutions for their organizations―typically in a way that improves the flow of information. QlikView is a Business Discovery platform designed for HERO-powered organizations.