A power user is a user of a personal computer who has the ability to use advanced features of programs which are beyond the abilities of "average" users, but is not necessarily capable of computer programming and system administration. In enterprise software systems, this title may go to an individual who is not a programmer, but who is a specialist in business software.
"Power user" can also be described as a term for a leader (non-programmer) in enterprise software. Often these are people who retain their normal user job role, but also function in testing, training, and first-tier support of the enterprise software.
Self-identified power users may sometimes label themselves as power users if asked, even when they are less than fully competent. In one 1997 study involving design testing of a web application, self-identified power users refused to read any instructions, made wrong guesses, and repeatedly became so lost they could not complete the test.
SAP & Oracle
SAP and Oracle are well known enterprise systems which often require a complex set of training in order to learn. Because of this, and also to encourage engagement with the systems, many companies have created a "Super User Model" (also called Power User, Champion) in order to take regular users and raise them to a level of leadership within the system. Doing this accomplishes three objectives:
- More engaged use of the system as there is a personal face assigned to champion the system and make acceptance of the technology less challenging.
- A significant time and cost reduction as companies are not seeking or hiring new or temporary resources for the purposes of developing and/or delivering documentation, training, and support.
- ROI[disambiguation needed] or proof of concept of the SAP investment should be more easily achieved as users are directly involved, thereby using the system invested in, which benefits the company overall.
Extensive research has been done with the Super User Model in SAP, specifically in regard to the role they take in training and supporting end users. Currently, more than 70% of SAP companies utilize a form of the Super User Model.
In Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, and Windows Server 2003, there is a "Power Users" group on the system that gives more permissions than a normal restricted user, but stops short of Administrator permissions. If a user is a member of the Power Users group, he or she has greater chance of exposing the system to malware over a normal user and can promote their account to an Administrator by purposely installing malware. Thus, the Power Users group should be used with trustworthy and knowledgeable users only; it is not suitable to contain untrustworthy users. The Power Users group has been removed in Windows Vista as part of the consolidation of privilege elevation features in the introduction of User Account Control.
- User.pdf Super User Whitepaper, The Super User Model in SAP
- The SAP Super User - Video Summary, The Super User Model in SAP - Video by Insite Objects
- Bruce Tognazzini. "Maximizing Windows". - 1997 date taken from the fact that the study and design (in the link) were all completed three days before the release of Netscape 4.0, an event which occurred in June of 1997.
- A member of the Power Users group may be able to gain administrator rights and permissions in Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, or Windows XP, Microsoft Knowledgebase
- What happened to the Power Users group?, Microsoft Windows Vista Help
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