Global Survey Dispels Myths About The Consumerisation of IT

Avanade, a business technology solutions and managed services provider, has announced the release of its report, Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerisation of IT, based on a survey of more than 600 senior business and IT leaders conducted in 17 countries.

The report challenges commonly held beliefs about the consumerisation of IT – including executive perspectives on Millennials as the driving force, employee brand preferences, and hesitance of business leaders to embrace the trend. The report also found an unstoppable shift in the use of consumer technologies in the workplace and significant IT investments being made to manage this trend. Globally, 88 percent of executives report employees are using their own personal computing technologies for business purposes today.

Much has been made of companies embracing “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies to accommodate younger employees and attract the best new recruits. Yet, according to executive respondents, allowing personal technologies in the workplace is not a strong recruitment or retention tool. Less than one-third (32 percent) of business leaders have changed policies to make their workplace more appealing to younger employees. Even fewer (20 percent) believe allowing personal computing technologies in the enterprise will benefit recruitment and retention efforts.

In fact, when asked about the impact of personal computing technologies on company culture, the majority of executive respondents (58 percent) said the greatest outcome was the ability for their employees to work from anywhere, followed by their employees being more willing to work after hours (42 percent).

“For business leaders, the consumerisation of IT has less to do with the worker and more to do with the way employees work,” said Tyson Hartman, Avanade’s global chief technology officer. “Our research shows that productivity and anywhere access are rated significantly higher by executives over improved employee morale or providing greater responsibilities to younger employees.”

Professor Lee Newman, Dean of Social and Behavioral Science at IE University and Business School in Madrid commented: “The increasing pace of business is requiring employees to think and make decisions under ever tightening deadlines. Mobile devices and other technologies have the ability to encourage new ways of working that can spark innovation, increase employee effectiveness, and positively impact an organisation’s bottom line. Personal technologies are driving new behaviours and improving the quality of decision making by providing immediate access to data, to virtual collaboration, and to networks of expertise and second opinions. Particularly for younger generations, technology has become an integral part of the way people work and think. More effective decision making can be a hidden and powerful source of competitive advantage, and those organisations able to rapidly accommodate and manage these new/personal technologies in the workplace will be best positioned to use this to their own benefit.”

Though media coverage has made iPhones and iPads synonymous with the consumerisation of IT, Avanade’s survey found that while Apple is certainly a factor in the consumerisation of IT, it is far from alone in driving the trend. According to business and IT leaders, the most popular consumer-owned devices being used in the enterprise are Android smartphones, BlackBerry smartphones and Apple laptops.

Another related myth is that these devices are being used to check email and browse social networks. But Avanade’s research revealed a major shift in the way employees are using their personal technologies in the enterprise. Employees have evolved beyond straight content consumption – checking email or Facebook – and are now increasingly using mission-critical enterprise applications.

When asked which applications and services employees were using, executives cited customer relationship management (45 percent), time and expense tracking applications (44 percent) and enterprise resource planning (38 percent).