Have we reached a tipping point in which the workplace has become completely inundated by mass consumer technology? ReadWrite Enterprise points to a recent IDC/Unisys study in which 95% of 2,800 information workers say they use at least one self-purchased device for work. There likely won’t be compensation from their employers for these purchases — only about 30% of businesses surveyed separately say they would reimburse employees for such purchases.
There are a lot of advantages to having employees bring in their own technology. The company saves a lot of money on equipment expenditures. The IT department is not saddled with maintenance, support and upgrades. Training is minimalized, since employees already are very comfortable with their equipment and applications.
There are downsides, of course — security is a huge issue, since employees walk out the door every evening with their devices. And some employees may not have the financial resources for updated devices. And, as one survey shows, it appears that corporate management may be clueless as to what’s going on, and how to support it.
When it comes to bringing consumer device into the workplace, cell phones and smartphones come to mind. But they also bring their own laptops into the workplace. The study finds information workers report using an average of four consumer devices and multiple third-party applications, such as social networking sites, in the course of their day.
The study also points out that fewer than half of employers allow information workers to access enterprise applications via smartphones. Typically, information workers give their employers below-average ratings for the IT support that their organizations provide for such consumer technologies. Nearly half of workers surveyed (46%) also give their employers extremely low marks for the integration of consumer devices and social networks with enterprise applications.
Enabling a tech-savvy organization with high levels of user preferences doesn’t just have implications for productivity, but it also serves as a recruiting and retention tool for talent. A majority of employees indicate that the technology tools provided to them and supported by their organizations would be a critical or positive factor in taking a job with a new employer. Despite this, only about a third of organizations surveyed say that usage of consumer technologies in the workplace are key to employee retention and productivity.