A critical competitive advantage will accrue for businesses able to create a socially active workforce that can tap internal and external knowledge and expertise with ease, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
The company said that IT leaders have a significant opportunity to contribute to the business by creating a more flexible work environment that accommodates the needs of the business consumer.
Gartner research suggests that most organizations are responding to consumerisation in an ad hoc fashion, with IT groups and business units juggling initiatives such as, bring your own device (BYOD), bring your own application (BYOA), mobile application development and DevOps development.
Gartner recommends that IT leaders assemble a portfolio of digital workplace tools and services to better manage and amplify the impact of the investments, as opposed to customer-oriented investments that offer little to the partner and employee community.
"Starting with the rise of PCs and the Internet era, users have a greater influence on IT strategy and we are currently witnessing the rise of what Gartner calls the 'business consumer'—an employee for whom business activities are one part of a wider lifestyle," Matthew Cain, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "Individuals do not stop being consumers when they go to work. Business consumers often make more consumer-like choices in their workplace computing tools and styles to increase efficiency."
This digital workplace can provide numerous advantages in how business consumers work, including delivering higher returns on technology investments by leveraging technology and skills across partner, employee and customer channels and aligning the strategies of key work teams, such as digital marketing, customer relationship, human resources (HR), and product support and development.
Other advantages include increasing volume and flow of information from partners and customers inside the organization, which can lead to more informed product development, supply chain and customer service, and boosting overall employee engagement, resulting in a more flexible workforce and improved talent attraction and retention outcomes.
"At a minimum, IT organizations need to be working with business and human resources leaders to identify workplace changes that will affect the business, and determine if a response is warranted," Cain said. "The critical element is not necessarily how IT leaders will respond, but that there is a program in place to strategically and consistently respond to these changing workplace dynamics."
Digital workplaces can also increase the productivity of distributed workgroups through the introduction of technology and engagement styles that facilitate interactions similar to those experienced by employees working in the same physical location, the Gartner report noted.