End users becoming accidental IT managers: survey

New Accenture survey of of 4,000 employees finds a large proportion make their own technology decisions, and one-fourth bring their own devices or access their own applications from the Internet.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

Over the years, as organizations embraced service oriented architecture, cloud and social media, there has been a long and simmering debate as to how much leeway business users should have in building or deploying their own applications.

Now, these trends, combined with the budding "bring your own device" (BYOD) phenomenon, are turning many business end users into accidental IT managers. Many of today's businesses are being run by employees on their own devices, rather than equipment specified and purchased by IT.

A new Accenture survey of of 4,000 employees from across the globe finds a large proportion (43%) feel comfortable and capable of making their own technology decisions for work. There is also an increasing trend for employee-driven technological innovation, as 24% of employees admitted to coming up with their own consumer technology solution to help solve a business problem.

This may sound threatening to IT departments, bit It means IT can turn its attention to higher-order activities such as strategizing with the business.

However, IT consumerization often means end-runs around IT and the organization's infrastructure. The survey finds one in four (23%) employees admit they now regularly use personal consumer devices and applications for work related activities, and 14% use them to access enterprise applications and databases. In addition, 27% say they routinely use non-corporate applications downloaded from the Internet to do their work.

A lot of employees even prefer their own options. Almost half (45%) say that personal consumer devices and software applications are more useful than the tools and applications provided by their IT department.

Is management upset about all these devices? Not really -- 54% of IT executives and 49% of management executives say they also bring their own devices into the workplace. In fact, 88% agree that consumer technology used by their employees can improve job satisfaction.

The study makes the following recommendations when it comes to bringing consumer devices into the workplace:

  • Broaden the scope of allowable devices and applications (while simultaneously tailoring and updating policies to the needs of the workforce).
  • Promoting technology choice (for example by providing stipends to purchase consumer tech as a job benefit).
  • Proactively advocate consumer technologies (by actively pushing smartphone applications or technology sandboxes into the workplace.
  • Allow for safe experimentations and/or segmenting consumer IT needs by role (by developing a usage profile for each job description).

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