The state of US workforce technology adoption

The state of US workforce technology adoption

Summary: Did you know that among US information workers that:35% use laptops and 76% use desktop computers?Only 11% use smartphones?


Did you know that among US information workers that:

  • 35% use laptops and 76% use desktop computers?
  • Only 11% use smartphones?
  • 57% are optimistic about technology, but 43% are pessimistic?

We know because we surveyed 2,001 US information workers that use computers in their jobs at firms with 100 or more employees. Here are a few highlights from a report we published today [available to Forrester clients]:

  • Most applications are not widely adopted. Email, word processing, Web browsers, and spreadsheets are the top four applications. But even in those apps, the level of involvement or expertise varies widely — while 60% of employees use word processing daily, only 42% actually create documents. Most other applications are used by only a minority of iWorkers.
  • There is pent up demand for smartphones. Only one in 10 information workers has a smartphone for work, but one in three agrees that they use a personal mobile phone for work purposes. Twenty-one percent of iWorkers would like to get email outside of work, and 15% would like email on a smartphone. Any way you slice it, this means that there is pent-up demand for smartphones at work.

  • Collaboration tools are stalled out, leaving email to reign supreme. Collaboration tools are important for people on a team, particularly if that team is distributed across many locations. But the tools are not widely adopted. For example, only one in four iWorkers uses Web conferencing, and one in five uses team sites. That leaves email with 87% adoption as the default collaboration tool for most people.

  • Gen Y employees are getting squashed at work. These younger workers behave very differently from others outside of work, but they are not so different in how they use technology in their jobs. Sixty percent of these 18- to 29-year-olds use social networking at home, but only 13% use it for work — the same percentage as Gen X employees ages 30 to 43.

This data will help Information & Knowledge Management and other IT professionals:

  • Improve your negotiating position by using data to drive license discussions. By knowing exactly which applications the workforce is using today and the frequency of use (read: importance) of each application, sourcing and vendor management professionals can bring hard data to the negotiating table.

  • Practice lean provisioning, making decisions based on workforce research. By tailoring the workforce technology tool kit to the specific needs of each information worker segment, infrastructure and operations professionals will improve adoption, activity, satisfaction, and productivity. And with tough decisions around desktop virtualization, mobility, and access, quantitative analysis is the right foundation.

  • Identify gaps in productivity and barriers to success. CIOs have plenty of scars from the failure of previous technology investments to thrill and delight the workforce. By asking workers what they truly need or why they don't think they need a new technology, this benchmark will lay the groundwork to prevent future failures.

  • Use data to help with tough architecture decisions. "Mobilize every application" is a mantra that rings ever louder in the halls of many IT shops. For an enterprise architect, it's important to have data to know who's working at home, who's working away from his desk, who's collaborating with customers from a customer site, and what each of those groups needs from technology.

  • Talk to business sponsors in the language of metrics. In presenting data on what different groups of information workers need and get from technology, information and knowledge management professionals responsible for a collaboration, portal, or knowledge management program can have a meaningful discussion about adoption, gaps, requirements, and funding.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Please share.

Topics: CXO, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Smartphones, Software, IT Employment

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  • "35% use laptops and 76% use desktop computers?"

    Really? Sure you don't want to check those numbers one more time?

    That would add up to 111% of workers who ues a computer.
    • People use more than one computer

      Keep in mind that some use more than one computer.
      I have both a laptop and a desktop at work.
      • I REALLY need to explain this to you?

        Generally, when a survey is taken, there is a TOTAL number that is found to a particular question. In this case the question was what type of computer did the respondent use...laptop or desktop. Any total can only add up to 100%...really.
  • RE: The state of US workforce technology adoption

    Wow.. you really do not grasp that people can use desktops and laptops.

    If you take the number of people who use laptops and those who don't, that equals 100%.

    If you take the number of people who use desktops and those who don't, that equals 100%.

    If you take the number of people who use laptops and add the number of people who use desktops, that equals whatever number it equals as there is *NO EXCLUSIVE USE OF EITHER PLATFORM*. You can use both.

    IT-Guy, you really have no grasp, at all.
    • He can spell IT...does that count? nt

  • RE: The state of US workforce technology adoption

    What about those of us who use desktops AND laptops? I keep my laptop live at all times, because when we have power failurs, reconnecting to our LAN can take too much time when the generator kicks in, and then when the generator is replaced by utility power, it happens all over again. And lots of my colleagues take laptops into the field.

    What is sad though is the lack of expertise in using standard office software for too many alleged professionals.
  • 2 Monitor Desktop

    I wish I had a system at work with a 2 monitor desktop. Better yet how about a extra wide screen monitor with dual inputs and split screen? Either that or an operating system that could use one monitor output and the ability to split a signal to put two applications out to two monitors. Just use a splitter cord. If you can run two applications at once, why do you need two display devices?
  • Use Both?

    So the obvious question is how many use both?

    I wonder what the fail rate is on Laptops vs Desktops?