Global survey dispels myths about the consumerisation of IT

Study reveals unstoppable shift globally in the use of consumer technology in the workplace

September 20, 2012

Study reveals unstoppable shift globally in the use of consumer technology in the workplace and significant IT investment being made to manage this trend

A survey report by Avanade – a business technology solutions and managed services provider – titled ’Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerisation of IT’, challenges commonly held beliefs about the consumerisation of IT – including executive perspectives on Millenials as the driving force, employee brand preferences, and hesitance of business leaders to embrace the trend. The report, based on a survey of more than 600 senior business and IT leaders conducted in 17 countries, 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 Rudi Greyling, Avanade South Africa Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Director of Innovation. “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.”

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.

On the question: 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).

Despite perceptions that businesses are hesitant to embrace the consumerisation of IT, Avanade’s global survey found companies are embracing the change and it is executives at the highest levels in the enterprise leading the charge. Key findings include:

  •  An overwhelming majority (88 percent) of respondents report employees are using their personal computing technologies for business purposes today
  •  The majority of C-level executives (65 percent) report the consumerisation of IT is a top priority in their organisation
  •  On average, companies are allocating 25 percent of their overall IT budgets to manage the consumerisation of IT
  •  The majority of companies (60 percent) are now adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employee’s personal technologies

“Progressive CIOs and IT organisations have moved from gatekeepers of consumer technology to enablers of these innovative devices, applications and services to meet employee needs and demands,” said Greyling. “The consumerisation of IT provides companies with an opportunity to transform the role of IT from a function focused on mitigating risk into a strategic enabler that leverages the breadth of today’s powerful consumer technologies to drive business results.”

Avanade’s global survey was conducted by Wakefield Research and surveyed 605 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders at top companies located in 17 countries.

To learn more about Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerisation of IT, please visit http://www.avanade.com/CoIT.