Information Workers – who are they and what do they do?

April 6, 2006

The rise of IT as a driver and enabler of modern business has been accompanied by the rise of a new class of worker: the information worker. Information workers were initially those inside the organization responsible for the production, analysis and distribution of information: the writers, editors, financial analysts, planners and facilitators who were the first adopters of technology such as the word processor, the spreadsheet, email and presentation software. As IT spread across the enterprise and applications became less structured and more user-friendly, the tools and practices of information work came to be adopted by more and more roles within the organization. Today, information pervades every aspect of the modern organization, from executive decision-makers to customer-service representatives, skilled professionals like doctors and engineers, and those who work in the call center or the retail bank branch.
Advances in technology over the last two decades have transformed the world of work and commerce, driving wave after wave of economic growth and opportunity worldwide, dramatically changing many industries and opening new competitive opportunities for organizations small and large. Companies like eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Dell, Jet Blue and Etrade – to name just a few – have transformed the playing field in all industries, from retailing to manufacturing to transportation and financial services.

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