If I could actually see a show of hands, a great number of you would agree that you are now using your own personal devices and the apps on them in your jobs. Maybe you’re checking your work e-mail via your mobile phone, showing demos to prospects with your tablet, or posting Tweets from any number of devices. These tasks and more demonstrate that the bring your own device (BYOD) mobility trend is surging forward.
With more employees using self-purchased consumer IT in the workplace, the possibilities are endless, but what are the benefits and potential risks to your organization? “Embracing the consumer IT revolution – at work” details the results from the Accenture Institute for High Performance’s research project on IT consumerization.
After interviewing business and IT executives from large firms and looking at survey results from almost 4,100 full-time employees in 16 countries across a variety of industries, Accenture discovered the drivers, benefits and drawbacks, and the strategies companies are using to manage IT consumerization.
Accenture found three broad organizational benefits that come with the higher use of consumer IT in the workplace:
- Boosted employee job satisfaction – 60% of survey respondents said that job satisfaction could rise if they were allowed to use personal devices and applications at work. Consumer IT can offer more flexibility and ease to use than corporate-issued hardware and software.
- Increased productivity – 82% of Chinese respondents to the survey said they would be “more resourceful” if they were allowed to choose their own hardware and software for work. In other words, employees can continue working beyond office hours and walls.
- Advanced employee innovation – With BYOD on the rise, employees are innovating with consumer technologies. Whether finding or creating their own apps and using devices in new ways, employees aren’t waiting for their company’s IT department to come up with the solution.
Consumer IT approaches
There are drawbacks to consumer IT in the workplace. Finding a balance in your organization’s consumer IT approach can take time and experience. In May 2012, Technology Review reported that IBM lost sight of the apps and services its employees were using on their personal devices, which posed security risks. IBM has since set policies and guidelines for proper use for its 80,000 BYOD employees.
Accenture found three approaches companies are taking to managing consumer IT:
- Technology anarchy – A third of the firms surveyed admitted to not having or enforcing consumer IT policies, mandates, or incentives.
- Corporate authoritarianism – Conversely, another third said they have tight control over the scope and number of consumer devices and applications used inside the organization.
- Managed adoption – One-quarter surveyed realized that employees’ use of personal devices and applications for work-related activities is not only acceptable but desirable.
Steps for managed adoption
What are some steps your company can take to glean the benefits of consumer IT while mitigating risks? Accenture suggests the following:
- Broaden the scope of acceptable devices and applications, such as allowing iPhones and other smartphones to the list.
- Provide employees with IT allowances as a job benefit, where employees are given a stipend to purchase their own hardware, software, and apps from a list of acceptable items.
- Segment your workforce by roles and job descriptions, and tailor consumer IT policies to their needs.
- Advocate the uptake of consumer IT in your organization to advance innovation and enhance business processes.
To learn more about using consumer IT in your organization and the steps toward managed adoption, read the Accenture report, Embracing the consumer IT revolution – at work.