Despite perceptions that companies and IT leaders are hesitant to embrace the consumerization of IT, a global survey by managed solutions specialist Avanade found companies are in fact embracing the change, and it is executives at the highest levels in organizations leading the charge.
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 consumerization 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. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of C-level executives reported that the growing use of employee-owned technology is a top priority in their organization.
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). 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.
"For business leaders, the consumerization 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."
Though media coverage has made iPhones and iPads synonymous with the consumerization of IT, Avanade's survey found that while Apple is certainly a factor in the consumerization 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.
The survey also indicated 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).
"Progressive CIOs and IT organizations have moved from gatekeepers of consumer technology to enablers of these innovative devices, applications and services to meet employee needs and demands," said Hartman. "The consumerization 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."