The Consumerisation of IT: common myths dispelled
While consumerisation is undoubtedly one of the major IT business trends of 2012, it’s not been entirely clear — so far — whether it’s something that’s been enthusiastically welcomed or begrudgingly tolerated by business leaders.
In a recent bid to dispel common myths and rectify untruths surrounding it, Vodafone’s Enterprise division recently picked apart the results of a global survey conducted earlier this year by Wakefield Research on the consumeration of IT, which was completed by 605 respondends, including C-level executives, business unit leaders and IT decision-makers from 17 countries.
They split their findings into six bite-sized myths, each revealing some interesting figures in the process. Here’s a breakdown of what they found with some additional commentary by ourselves.
Myth 1: Businesses Are Resisting the Consumerisation of IT
Mobile phones are truly personal possessions in every sense — it’s extremely rare for the majority of us to step out of the house without one. We rely on them for many tasks, and even if businesses banned them from the workplace, employees would still have them in their pockets. For this reason, it makes sense for businesses to try and turn such devices into productive tools as opposed to forcing them out of sight. The first set of findings show that this is the direction that we’re heading in, and that businesses are beginning to not only embrace and accommodate “bring your own device” policies, but actively prioritise them within their organisations.
Key Finding: Enterprises are embracing the consumerisation of IT
73% of C-level executives reported that the growing use of employee-owned devices is a top priority in their organisation
88% of C-level executives reported employees are using their personal devices for business purposes today
60% of responders said they are now adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employee’s personal devices, rather than restricting employee use of personal devices.
Myth 2: Companies Don’t Have the IT Resources They Need to Manage the Consumerisation of IT
As employees’ personal devices are their own, it would be reasonable to expect that they would, at the very least, have a working knowledge of how to operate their handsets in a basic business capacity — checking email, planning time and expense, and accessing websites. In that sense, it shouldn’t require many staff resources to integrate consumerisation into existing work practices, although additional training may be required in the future as mobile business intelligence applications become more complex and collaborative.
Key Finding: Companies are investing in staff and resources to enable the consumerisation of IT
91% of C-level executives and 75% of IT decision makers said their IT department today has the staff and resources needed to manage the use of consumer technologies
62% of IT decision makers and 84% of C-level executives said it is a relatively simple matter to integrate the employee-owned devices, applications and online services into the enterprise IT system
25% of IT budgets will be used to manage some aspect of the consumerisation of IT
79% report they plan to make new investments in areas like mobile device management (MDM).
Myth 3: The Need to Attract and Keep Millennials is Driving the Consumerisation of IT
While Millennials, on average, may possess more technological know-how than your average person, the survey found that adapting their policies to attract younger people was not a priority for organisations when it came to recruitment, and only a fifth of executives surveyed agreed that allowing personal devices into the workplace would benefit retention efforts.
Key Finding: Executives say allowing personal devices and social technologies in the workplace is not a strong recruitment or retention tool particularly among younger employees
32% of executives report they have changed company policies to make their workplace more appealing to younger employees
20% of executives agree that allowing personal computing technologies in the workplace will benefit recruitment and retention efforts.
Myth 4: Personal Devices in the Workplace Are Used for Checking Email and Browsing Facebook
You wouldn’t bet against this myth being one initially shared among business leaders when consumerisation began: that bringing personal devices into the workplace would mean inviting facebook — and by extension — higher levels of procrastination into the workplace. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t turn out to be a myth at all, but it did come with a positive spin — that almost half of the respondents indicated that they also use their personal devices to access corporate systems and applications too. It’s evident that the increased levels of productivity driven by consumerisation justify the occasional status update, and the ability for employees to perform mission-critical tasks from anywhere makes it even more of an attractive proposition for executives.
Key Finding: Enterprise applications from customer relationship management (CRM) to enterprise resource planning (ERP) are finding their way to personal devices
85% of employees browse email and social networking sites on their personal devices
45% of employees access the corporate CRM system
44% of employees use expense tracking applications
38% of employees access enterprise resource planning
Myth 5: Apple = Consumerisation of IT
Apple phones may have been prevalent in the workplace in recent years, but the Cupertino-based company’s devices are no longer the sole driving force behind consumerisation. Arch rival mobile OS Android has been rapidly gaining popularity in recent years for many reasons — have a read of our ‘Which mobile OS would suit your business?’ article here to discover a few of them.
Another interesting figure emerging from this myth is that only a quarter of the respondents surveyed felt that their company apps had the capabilities they required. It’s evident that corporate apps are still in their relative infancy, and the challenge to organisations will be to produce usable, efficient apps capable of increasing productivity in the workplace that will run smoothly on a variety of handset makes and models. They will need to be simple to operate, capable enough to warrant their use over their desktop counterparts and accessible enough (quick and easy to download over Wi-Fi) in order to succeed.
Key Finding: Personal devices coming into the workplace are broad and diverse
The most popular device used by employees is the Android phone
25% of respondents said their company does not offer the types of devices employees want
25% of respondents said their company apps do not have the capabilities employees want
40% of respondents say they allow employees to bring any smartphone they want into the workplace
30% of companies cover the entire cost of smartphones and tablets their employees are bringing into the enterprise.
Myth 6: Consumer Technologies with Built-In Security Measures are Safe for Use in the Enterprise
As the bring your own device culture gains traction in 2012, so does the security risk posed by an increasing and diverse number of personal handsets being brought into the workplace. There are anti-virus apps available for different platforms, but this merely reduces the threat of viruses breaching companies network defences rather than eradicating it. That over half of the companies surveyed had already experienced a security breach shows that BYOD culture poses a real risk if employees are not suitably briefed on the dangers of taking infected handsets into the workplace.
Key Finding: Today, the majority of companies have already encountered a security breach as a result of consumerisation of IT
55% of companies reported they have already experienced a security breach as a result of personal devices being able to access the corporate network
81% reported their IT infrastructure needs some improvement in order to address these security concerns
35% reported they will invest in training for the IT staff responsible for security
79% report they plan to make new investments in areas like mobile device management (MDM)
We’re beginning to see new, exciting opportunities arise from the back of consumerisation, and it’s good to know that executives are embracing the trend rather than being dragged into it kicking and screaming; however, it’s not without its issues. Security is the main one and is an area that will be devoted an increasing amount of attention as Mobile Device Management (MDM) becomes more widely implemented. The advantages are there for anyone to see, though, and the ability to innovate in the process makes the consumerisation of IT an exciting proposition for executives everywhere.