Q: I'm looking for a role-description for a 'generic' power user. In addition, I'm looking for his counterpart (assuming the power user is a person with high IT affinity I'm looking for an IT-person with high business affinity) - Is this a business analyst, business requirement analyst? Is there a common understanding of that role (similar to power user)?

Sid Adelman's Answer:

We normally don't think of the power user belonging to IT. This is someone from the business side, probably a business analyst or maybe a business requirement analyst who has the nerd gene. The power user will be technical in his or her ability to use the BI tools. The primary importance of being on the business side is having a thorough knowledge of the data and an understanding of what the results mean. The power user will be able to divine knowledge from the results and to ask the next question that will uncover actionable information that is critical to the success of the organization.

Clay Rehm's Answer:

I do not think there is a common understanding of the generic power user role, and quite honestly, it may be a term that praises some while scourging others. You may want to move away from that term and use a term and a custom built job description that highlights the strengths of the role you are looking to define. I would use this same rationale for the definition of the role that is IT specific with strong business knowledge.

Anne Marie Smith's Answer:

I would suggest that no common definition or understanding exists for the roles of business analyst or "power user." Even within one organization, different units may have their own view of a power user. Generally speaking, a business analyst is a person who has detailed knowledge of the business activities of a set of business functions and who has skills in discovering business needs, documenting them using various tools and techniques and can assist technical staff in translating these business requirements into information systems applications. Some business analysts are great data modelers, others focus on processes, but all should be analytically oriented and have a solid understanding of the technologies used within the organization and be able to communicate with the technical staff (programmers, database and system administrators, etc.). Some business analysts also function as testing staff, given their knowledge of the business requirements.

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