A new report advises enterprises to modernize old mindsets and support the swelling numbers of worker-owned smartphones already being used for work.
sales are soaring, and young enterprise workers are more technologically savvy
than ever. But a disconnect between worker activities and management's
readiness to manage, support and secure those activities is resulting in lost
business opportunities, according new
research from Unisys that was conducted by IDC.
time to modernize policies, many companies are even out of touch with the ways
their employees are working. According to the report, 95 percent of the workers
surveyed said that they use at least one device they purchased themselves, and
are using smartphones, laptops and mobile phones at work at twice the rate
reported by their employers. Despite this, 73 percent of IT executives
described their enterprise networks as "very secure."
more mobile than ever, businesses need a "fundamental change in
mindset," though most "lack the policies, infrastructure or security
to address this change," Unisys reports.
faced by BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion to compete in the United States
against Apple and Android-running devices underscores the issue: Consumers are
purchasing and bringing to work increasing numbers of smartphones that haven't
been traditionally sanctioned by IT staff. That IT should be inflexible about
the devices they support, needs some adjusting.
are still largely operating in the standardized, command-and-control IT models
of the past," stated the report. "Those models are very good at
managing risks and costs, but they prevent the typical organization from
navigating the swift waters of breakthrough thinking and innovation being
unleashed by the fourth wave of productivity."
Henry Ford's assembly line, in which the corporation dictated and employees
complied, was the first; the Japanese model of "Kaizen," in which the
collective is continually making small improvements is the second; and the
Chinese model of productivity-"mass production, low prices and global
domination," the report offers in summary-is the third.
wave, "unlike the top-down, process-driven trends of the past ... is
bubbling up from the bottom," states the report, driven by "millions-even
billions-of networked people around the world who are using technology to bring
new ideas and unleash powerful innovation to those organizations that are ready
and willing to take advantage."
ready, willing and clued in. According to the study, 69 percent of workers reported
they could access non-work-related Websites, while 44 percent of employers said
it was the case. And while 37 percent of employers said workers could store
personal data on company resources, 52 percent of workers said they could do
The study also
found 40 percent of workers to use instant messaging and text messaging for
business purposes, and 25 percent to use blogs and professional online
communities for business purposes; however, enterprises are failing to harness
this savvy and know-how, with 40 percent of workers saying they don't have
access to enterprise applications on their smartphones.
away from this opportunity to benefit from not only workers' competencies, but also
their willingness to fund their own devices, the report advises.
modernizing their policies, procedures and IT systems to harness this trend,
organizations have a rare chance over the next three to five years to leapfrog
competitors and overturn existing business models-much as Apple and Google did
with their own consumer-led IT business revolutions," states the report.
fail to do so will find themselves missing an opportunity to "avoid costs,
increase their organizational productivity and flexibility, and appeal to a new
generation of consumers and employees."
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.