Mobile to the hilt: nine out of ten employees bring own technology to work, survey says

Mobile to the hilt: nine out of ten employees bring own technology to work, survey says

Summary: Have we reached a tipping point in which the workplace has become completely inundated by mass consumer technology?

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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.

Topics: Mobility, CXO, IT Employment

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17 comments
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  • and 7 out of 10 bring their own lunch

    A company provides tech that the employees need to get the job done while employees want to bring their own tech so they can get their personal stuff done.
    Will Farrell
    • True Story

      Back in the days when touch-tone phones were new, I worked at a place where the bean-counters figured out that they could save millions by going back to rotary-dial telephones, thus eliminating the buck-a-month or so that the phone companies then charged for touchtone service.

      I kid you not, the salesmen started bringing in their own telephones... hybrid things that had pushbuttons, but which emulated a rotary dial when talking to the telco.

      So no, a company does <i>not</i> provide tech that employees need to get the job done. Companies provide the tech that the IT department and the bean counters agree is adequate to get the job done. Productivity and personal convenience are tossed over the side; after all, the time wasted by thousands of employees dealing with sub-par equipment is never measured, while the "savings" claimed by the bean counters are highly visible.
      Robert Hahn
      • Not really valid...

        @Robert Hahn I think convergence has rendered your argument a little useless in this case. But, Kudos to showing your age with the touchtone comment =)
        greg.austin@...
      • Employees subsidizing the company

        @Robert Hahn

        There has been a massive trend in corporate circles to shifting expense burdens on employees. It started with big-ticket items like health coverage and pension plans, then it was work-at-home, now it is down to employees buying their own cellphones, office supplies, and furniture. My wife's company put gates on the company-owned parking garage and started charging employees parking fees!

        At the same time, IT is faced with declining budgets and managers who are not interested in spending money or personnel to support "gadgets". Unless they happen to be owned by VPs that is ...
        terry flores
  • Fiasco

    The recent FAA air traffic controller fiascoes prove that supervisors are largely incapable of performing the work they supervise. So how is management in any position to evaluate the tools needed to effectively do the job?

    The visible "savings" vs. the "invisible" costs transcends mere business and is the root of our current Government debt problems.

    Its in fact one of the cliches of Socialism that the benefits are few and visible, while the costs are spread far and wide, and thus hidden.
    wkulecz
    • You can't equate an air traffic controller

      @wkulecz
      to that of IT management at a company as a defense of employees using personal tech items, or company supplied.
      John Zern
  • Downside

    "The IT department is not saddled with maintenance, support and upgrades." I call BS! In MY IT organization, the users want to bring their toys in, put them on my network, and expect us to keep the devices maintained, updated AND they expect us to config and repair them, as well as train them how to use them.

    My company provides BBerries for people who need them, so in this scenario the only reason people bring their toys and gadgets in is a perception of cool.
    stevedcook
    • Not to sound like a jerk....

      @stevedcook but your IT Manager/Director/VP should be fired. If someone brings in an outside device (phone, iPad, netbook) and puts it on the corporate network without approval, the network is now at risk from virus, etc. If they expect the IT department to train, support and maintain their personal devices, they should provide a cost center for the IT folks to charge their time to each request. That's a complete lack of policy or at least enforcement.
      ccspir2
      • RE: Mobile to the hilt: nine out of ten employees bring own technology to work, survey says

        @ccspir2

        A. You're assuming corporate IT is competent.
        B. You're assuming corporate IT hasn't been razed to the ground already by bean counters.
        C. You're assuming people are bringing in their own equipment to play farmville. My work PC would play Farmville fine, if I hadn't blocked it. I need my PC because I can't run 1 VM, much less 5 with the limited cycles and complete crap, low resolution screen on the machine they give me for work.
        D. If IT can't keep up, they're under-resourced or their policy is inherently too conservative. Happily, I work at a networking company. We were able to run singlemode fiber to and about our labs, and we're running IPv6. We route out on the corporate only to get new copies of Linux, and most of our work is done completely parallel to the corporate network. IT made it to the boardroom, and was assimilated by business people.
        tkejlboom
  • not mine

    I'm an admin at a fortune 500. The employees have the ability to connect their smart phones to the email service and sync calendar, email, etc..

    I see where some may find this convenient but I suspect that it is a hindrance to work/life balance. If the company wants me to have email and calendar on a mobile device, they are welcome to provide one for me or subsidize the cost of my device and plan, but I'm not interested in using my own tech for the corp at my expense. I had a company provided BB at my previous employer and I'd rather leave work at work. Family time is way to valuable to have that as a distraction.
    fireman949
  • Just goes to prove...

    ... accountants don't know how to run a company and never should. Some of the best companies in the world 60 years ago are practically gone now because of it.
    Vulpinemac
  • RE: Mobile to the hilt: nine out of ten employees bring own technology to work, survey says

    This article could be about Education as well and Educators would do well to adapt to the new participatory model.
    dallasmcpheeters
  • Joe Mangum is one of the 9...

    Maybe It's just because I'm an <a href="http://www.joe-mangum.com">internet marketer</a> but I'm all about the virtual workplace. However, when devices go with me to work that means work goes with me home, to recreational activities, on vacation... The more mobile technology gets the tougher it is to draw the line.
    jkieth
  • All-in-One

    I don't want to carry around a company sponsored device plus my own personal device. While I did pay for my own device, I get tech support on it from our IT folks and the convenience of having both my work and personal mail all on one phone. Works for me.
    JenniferRoveIT
  • coporate management may be clueless

    "And, as one survey shows, it appears that corporate management may be clueless as to what?s going on"
    That statement pretty much sums up what is going on in America right now. Corporate mgmt is clueless about much much more than technology.
    jahfrey
  • More and More With Less and Less - Now We Can Do Everything With Nothing!

    Doesn't anyone see that these two statements highlight the absurdity of this? How in heck is IT supposed to support "consumer technologies" without resources, training or even the opportunity to literally touch the latest iSomething or AndroidThat? Not to mention the fact that users are loath to let IT work with THEIR gizmo to try to get it working. <br><br>"The company saves a lot of money on equipment expenditures. The IT department is not saddled with maintenance, support and upgrades."<br><br>"Typically, information workers give their employers below-average ratings for the IT support that their organizations provide for such consumer technologies."
    Lazarus439Z
  • More detail, please

    The original Unisys study says 95% of employees use at least one personal device at work, but doesn't describe the devices. Isn't it safe to assume that in 2011 nearly everyone who isn't issued a BB by their company is using their personal cellphone to make business calls while away from a land line? It's low-or no-cost to the employee, and doesn't breach any company-controlled systems. I'd like to see the equipment breakout before I interpreted this survey as a massive flood of consumer technology into the workplace.
    Biotechguy