You're used to poking fun (gently, I'm sure) at your end users' screw-ups. But do you ever want to hand out gold stars to some of them? In general, do you see any overall improvement in the computer skills of your users? Take the poll and let us know your perspective on the current state of end-user tech savvy.
IT pros, especially those in user-support roles, get a big kick out of the flubs and generally clueless behavior of their end users. Let's face it — it's more fun to tell jokes about the dumb things users do than it is to praise superstars. Plus, it's a good way to blow off steam when work is stressing you out. But just to be different, let's consider the opposite issue and give credit where it's due.
Do you have well-placed end users who actually run interference for you by being able to answer their coworkers' questions or troubleshoot simple issues? When a cube denizen declares that his monitor is broken, is there someone you can count on to ask him if it's powered on before he files a help-desk ticket? Or even more rare, do you have an office full of users who you think are generally pretty computer savvy, allowing you more time to attend to the real challenges of keeping the technology hopping?
I think users often exhaust the knowledge of their coworkers before giving up and contacting the help desk. Personally, I always pester my fellow editor Mark Kaelin first (and he can't avoid me — I mean, he's literally right there!). Poor guy. (See Toni Bowers' recent post.)
So, here's your chance to throw around a little praise for your tech-stars among users, or share a story of when one of them actually stumbled across a solution to something you'd been scratching your head over. Are we going to hear crickets?
Take the poll below and let us know if you've noticed any shift in general computer-savviness on the part of end users over the years (for those of you who've been around awhile, especially). Perhaps the explosion in consumer technologies and gadgets has raised the level of computer smarts? In a related poll that ran recently in the Microsoft Office blog, the results were almost evenly split between IT pros who rated their users as "self-sufficient" and "barely skilled." Interesting.