CIOs Embracing Consumerization of IT
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While much has been made of companies not accepting the bring-your-own-device trend among employees, new research shows many businesses are actually embracing the movement.
A study by business-technology-solutions and managed-services provider Avanade revealed that an overwhelming majority of businesses, nearly 90 percent of those surveyed, report their employees are using their personal computing technologies for business purposes, while 65 percent of C-level executives report the consumerization of IT is a top priority in their organization.
The study, "Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerization of IT," also found that companies, on average, are allocating 25 percent of their overall IT budgets to manage the consumerization of IT, with 60 percent adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employees' personal technologies.
"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 Tyson Hartman, Avanade's global chief technology officer. "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."
Despite a sense that companies that encourage employees to use their own device do so as a way to recruit the best new talent, the study revealed that allowing personal technologies in the workplace is not a strong recruitment or retention tool. Less than a third of business leaders have changed policies to make their workplace more appealing to younger employees.
Instead of as a recruiting tool, the research shows the driving force behind the use-your-own-device movement is the ability for employees to work from anywhere and be more willing to work after hours.
"For business leaders, the consumerization of IT has less to do with the worker and more to do with the way employees work," Hartman said. "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."
While iPhones and iPads have become synonymous with the consumerization of IT, the research found that Apple – while certainly a factor – is far from alone in driving the trend. Surveyed business and IT leaders said the most popular consumer-owned devices used at work now are Android and BlackBerry smartphones, in addition to Apple laptops.
The report also dispels the myth that these devices are being used only to check email and browse social networks. The study found that employees have evolved beyond straight content consumption and are increasingly using mission-critical enterprise applications such as customer-relationship management programs, time-and-expense tracking applications and enterprise resource planning tools.
The research was based on surveys of 605 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business leaders at top companies in 17 countries across North America, Europe, South America and Asia.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who spent 10 years working as a newspaper reporter before working in public relations. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.