Consumerisation of IT forcing IT departments to respond – survey

13 Dec 2011

The consumerisation of corporate IT – as employees bring their own devices and applications into the workplace – is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing organisations worldwide in the next five years, new research published by Accenture suggests.

Consider this: More than a quarter (27pc) of survey respondents said they would be prepared to pay for their own devices and applications to use at work and 45pc of the employees surveyed said personal consumer devices and software applications are more useful than the tools and applications provided by their IT departments.

Managing the consumerisation of IT – a managed adoption approach:

  • Broaden the scope of allowable devices and applications (while simultaneously tailoring and updating policies to the needs of the workforce)
  • Promote technology choice (for example, by providing stipends to purchase consumer tech as a job benefit)
  • Proactively advocate consumer technologies (by actively pushing smartphone applications or technology sandboxes into the workplace and allowing for safe experimentations)
  • Segment consumer IT needs by role (by developing a usage profile for each job description)

Source: Accenture

Employees also claim such technologies enhance innovation, productivity and job satisfaction.

“Employees feel increasingly empowered to make their own technology decisions and say that corporate IT is just not as flexible and convenient as the personal consumer devices and software applications they use in their personal lives,” said Paul Pollock, Technology Lead and senior executive at Accenture Ireland.

“Employees are surprisingly willing to pay in order to use the technologies they love at work, and as a result, they are going to use them – with or without their companies’ approval.”

Nearly one-quarter (23pc) of employees worldwide use personal consumer devices and applications for work-related activities on a regular basis despite employers’ concerns about data security and IT protocol.

The research highlights that many organisations are struggling to decide how to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the consumerisation of IT. 

While some have followed an authoritarian approach and simply prohibited the use of outside technologies, others have chosen to ignore the issue altogether. 

“IT consumerisation will be one of the biggest tests for organisations in the next five years, but resisting it is simply not an option and is tantamount to capitulation,” said Pollock.

“A good first step is to learn just how extensively consumer IT has embedded itself into your workforce: Consider how to manage the risks and opportunities, and experiment with ways to channel employees’ enthusiasm for consumer technology. 

“The goal is to develop pragmatic strategies regarding consumer IT that will attract the best employees and make the company more competitive in the marketplace while protecting enterprise information.”

The ‘Consumerization of Enterprise IT’ research, carried out by the Accenture Institute for High Performance, surveyed more than 4,000 employees in 16 countries across five continents, as well as more than 300 business and IT executives.