Chrome Enterprise

Workforce segmentation in the new era of cloud workers

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As a program manager for Chromebook adoption at Google, my goal is to make sure as many people as possible can be productive and happy with their Chrome OS device. A big part of that is workforce segmentation—or in this case, figuring out which workers would benefit most from the cloud-native capabilities of a Chromebook.

When talking about how we’ve rolled out Chromebooks, we often get asked, “What job roles did you start with?” But what we found is that segmenting our workforce by job titles wasn’t effective, because people work in so many different ways. Instead, we identified workers that were already predominantly working in cloud-connected applications. These employees—better known as cloud workers—value speed, collaboration and mobility, and for them Chromebooks have offered a secure, seamless way to work and collaborate in the cloud.

We learned a lot through this process, which is why we recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to develop key recommendations for workforce segmentation. Based on the best practices they uncovered in their research, as well as insights shared by Google, Forrester has recommended the following step-by-step approach to segmentation:

1. Develop a fact-based approach. Forrester found that successful organizations use data to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ needs and this same method should be applied internally to better understand and serve employees. At Google, we spend a lot of time seeking to understand our workforce, getting their impressions on devices and understanding their day to day activities in order to provide them with the right technology to do their jobs.

2. Define more variables to inform segmentation decisions. The decision makers that Forrester spoke with, recognize that there are a number of variables influencing employee device preferences. At Google, we have found many instances where people within the same job function have different workflows with different technology needs. Defining more variables—such as time in the browser, travel behavior and use of collaboration software—can help you get a more holistic picture of your workforces’ needs.

3. Identify the addressable market for cloud tools. Forrester recommends that when evaluating potential segments for cloud-native devices, exclude workers you estimate would be less suitable. We have found that there’s a population of people who have special software needs where there’s no Chrome alternative, or have a workflow that Chrome OS can’t support (yet). We document these workflows and cases in as much detail as possible and give these cases to our product team so they can constantly improve the product.

4. Develop a target cloud worker profile. A cloud worker segment can vary from organization to organization. Forrester advises analyzing employee data within the addressable cloud segment to look for correlations between interest in using a cloud-based device and other factors in order to develop a target cloud worker profile. At Google, we found that in addition to doing most of their work in the cloud and spending a lot of time in the browser, the way that users interact with G Suite was an amazing indicator of who qualifies as a ‘power user’ of cloud.

5. Develop pilot programs to promote cloud-native experiences. As a first step in rolling your program out, Forrester recommends using your target profile to identify cloud workers and invite them to partake in cloud-native programs (e.g., device demos, loaner programs, training, or communities). At Google, in addition to creating documentation that highlights unique features and new ways of getting work done, we encourage people to give Chromebooks a spin through our Grab and Go program.

To learn more about Forrester’s findings, read the September 2018 study, Rethink Employee Segmentation for a Cloud-Native World.

Need more guidance? SoftWatch can help.

For enterprises that need a little more help identifying cloud workers in their organization, SoftWatch is offering a free three-month subscription to its Chromebook Adoption Readiness product.

SoftWatch gives you insight into how applications are being used, as well as dependencies on web-based and installed applications, at the department and user-level. This can aid you in your workforce segmentation and help you identify users who could benefit most from cloud-native devices.

For more information, contact SoftWatch through this sign-up form.