Playing with BlackBerry phone

Avanade survey dispels myths of IT consumerisation

The majority of companies are adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employee’s personal devices, rather than restricting use, a survey has found.

Avanade’s research, which surveyed 605 IT leaders and senior executives in 17 countries, found an unstoppable shift in the use of consumer technologies in the workplace and significant IT investments being made to manage the trend. Globally, 88 per cent of executives report employees are using their own personal computing technologies for business purposes today.

The report by the business technology solutions and managed services provider - Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerisation of IT - challenges commonly held beliefs about the consumerisation of IT, including executive perspectives on Millennials as the driving force, employee brand preferences, and hesitance of business leaders to embrace the trend.

Much has been made of companies embracing “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies to accommodate younger employees and attract the best new recruits. Yet, according to executive respondents, allowing personal technologies in the workplace is not a strong recruitment or retention tool. Less than one-third (32 per cent) of business leaders have changed policies to make their workplace more appealing to younger employees. Even fewer (20 per cent) believe allowing personal computing technologies in the enterprise will benefit recruitment and retention efforts.

In fact, when asked about the impact of personal computing technologies on company culture, the majority of executive respondents (58 per cent) 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 per cent).

“For business leaders, the consumerisation 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.”

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.

Another related myth is that these devices are being used to check email and browse social networks. But Avanade’s research revealed a major shift in the way employees are using their personal technologies in the enterprise. Employees have evolved beyond straight content consumption – checking email or Facebook – and are now increasingly using mission-critical enterprise applications, the survey found.

When asked which applications and services employees were using, executives cited customer relationship management (45 per cent), time and expense tracking applications (44 per cent) and enterprise resource planning (38 per cent).

Despite perceptions that businesses are hesitant to embrace the consumerisation of IT, Avanade’s global survey found companies are embracing the change and it is executives at the highest levels in the enterprise leading the charge.

Other key findings included, the majority of C-level executives reported the consumerisation of IT was a top priority in their organization, and on average, companies allocated 25 per cent of their overall IT budgets to manage the consumerisation of IT.   

“Progressive CIOs and IT organisations 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 consumerisation 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.”

Further reading:

Read the report, Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerisation of IT.

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