Small and midsize businesses are coming under growing pressure to enable their employees to use their personal smartphones, tablets and other devices for business use, according to the findings of a new study announced by Citrix.
Some 25 percent of companies polled are already supporting the use of such devices in the workplace, and many are benefitting from a significant increase of 30 percent in productivity, as their employees are able to work anywhere, anytime from any device. However, 62 percent of businesses surveyed have no controls in place to manage these devices, and 45 percent of IT managers are unaware of all the devices being used, raising questions regarding security and privacy.
"The nature of work continues to change," said Brett Caine, senior vice president and general manager of Citrix. "The survey shows that employees are using new consumer devices in the workplace for both business and personal use. Organizations need to respond to this trend by developing policies to address new mobile work styles that can drive productivity through more flexible working, while safeguarding the use of data and sensitive information."
Over the past few years, businesses globally have come under significant commercial, regulatory and environmental pressure to enable greater workforce mobility. With this demand, 57 percent of IT managers are most concerned over the security implications of employees using personal devices for business. However, as indicated by the survey, more than half of business executives and IT managers are unaware of all personal devices used for business purposes and lack an employee personal device policy.
Although many businesses lack a policy for managing employee's personal devices for work, 38 percent of businesses globally do have a process or tool to manage and account for consumer devices. These organizations are encouraging flexible work and a personal device policy supported by the adoption of online support and monitoring tools that include the highest levels of security. Businesses that are quick to adapt to these changes are experiencing significant improvements in productivity when personal devices are also used for business purposes. Productivity has increased up to 20 percent for many organizations with a further 17 percent confirming even greater gains.
In addition to the proliferation of personal devices used for work, businesses are also feeling pressure to adopt more flexible work practices that promote better work-life balance for employees. According to this Citrix survey, 35 percent of the participants say they are under greater pressure than they were five years ago to offer more flexibility for employees.
"The growth of mobile devices, bridging both personal and work use, represents new opportunities for IT support. The edge of the company network is extended while software ubiquity and complexity rapidly increases," said Elizabeth Cholawsky, vice president and general manager of IT services for Citrix. "Enabling support, [and] monitoring and managing remote and mobile workers is now a de facto requirement for IT to ensure highly productive and effective businesses."
The Citrix survey was undertaken to understand the global use and management of personal communications devices in the workplace to support the growing demands for workforce flexibility. Conducted by YouGov and Research Now between May 2011 and August 2011, the study is based on a survey of more than 1,100 senior executives and IT managers across Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.