Avanade, a business technology solutions and managed services provider, has released its report, Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerization of IT, 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 and 87 percent in Canada report employees are using their own personal computing technologies for business purposes today.
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 percent globally and 34 percent in Canada) of business leaders have changed policies to make their workplace more appealing to younger employees. Even fewer (20 percent globally and 24 percent in Canada) 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 percent globally and 71 percent in Canada) 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 globally and 49 percent in Canada).
“Our research shows more than three quarters of Canadian executives are comfortable with employees bringing their own devices into the workplace and this is a great indicator that business environments and mindsets are changing,” said Benoit Bertrand, vice president and chief technology officer at Avanade Canada. “To capitalize on the benefits consumer technologies can bring to the workplace, business leaders should consider extending existing application investments to maximize the new way employees work.”
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.
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.
When asked which applications and services employees were using, executives cited customer relationship management (45 percent globally and 42 percent in Canada), time and expense tracking applications (44 percent globally and 42 percent in Canada) and enterprise resource planning (38 percent globally and 32 percent in Canada).
Despite perceptions that businesses are hesitant to embrace the consumerization 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. Key findings include:
- An overwhelming majority (88 percent globally and 87 percent in Canada) of respondents report employees are using their personal computing technologies for business purposes today
- The majority of C-level executives (65 percent globally and 66 percent in Canada) report the consumerization of IT is a top priority in their organization
- On average, companies are allocating 25 percent (21 percent in Canada) of their overall IT budgets to manage the consumerization of IT
- The majority of companies (60 percent globally and in Canada) are now 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.”
Avanade’s global survey was conducted by Wakefield Research, an independent research firm, in October to November 2011, and surveyed 605 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders at top companies located in 17 countries across North America, Europe, South America and Asia.