Study Reveals Technology Adoption Is Off at Work

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-10-09 Print this article Print

The headline for a recent Forrester report should be: "If you build it, they won't come."

Forrester's "Workforce Technographics US Benchmark Survey" from the second quarter of this year and released this week shows that the most advanced applications are simply not used by the largest groups. The top things used: e-mail, Web browsers, word processing and spreadsheets.

Most sophisticated applications are used by a small group of individuals. It doesn't necessarily negate their need, but it reveals that there may be better ways for your management to spend some of its annual tech budget and refocus on widening adoption on those collaboration tools they were sold. Here's some context: 87 percent of 2001 respondents use e-mail as their default collaboration tool, while word processing (16 percent) and spreadsheets (14 percent) are used very little on an hourly basis. Tools like Web conferencing and team Websites fared worse. Only one in four use Web conferencing technology, and one in five use team Websites.

Desktops still dominate at work: 63 percent use desktops more than 4 hours a day, and over 50 percent use laptops. Smartphones are used by only 11 percent on a weekly basis. Those Gen Y workers who are supposed to be adopting new technology like ants at a picnic are spending more time texting than using Facebook at work--over 60 percent use it at home.

Forrester's Ted Schadler says that companies should be looking more closely at using this kind of data to help make smarter purchases, "identify gaps in productivity" and use the data to inform architecture decisions like mobile applications. Schadler writes:

CIOs have plenty of scars from the failure of previous technology investments to thrill and delight the workforce. By asking workers what they truly need or why they don't think they need a new technology, this benchmark will lay the groundwork to prevent future failures.

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