Businesses begin to benefit from the consumerisation of IT

The use of personal smartphones in the workplace has led to a 20 per cent rise in productivity in some instances.

According to a survey of 110 IT decision makers, 35 per cent claimed that the consumerisation of IT has improved productivity by up to 20 per cent, while 66 per cent said the ‘magic balance' of user benefits and business integrity will be achieved within five years.

The survey also found that 70 per cent of organisations would promote the use of consumer IT if it would both benefit the user and maintain business integrity, yet 72 per cent admitted that the cost of purchasing and managing an enterprise device is higher than the cost of managing a ‘free' consumer device in the workplace.

Jon Pickering, managing director of Block Solutions, which conducted the survey at this year's IP Expo conference in London, said consumer technology can provide a more intuitive experience at work, but many IT decision makers are concerned about the management burden and securing these devices.

He said: “Organisations have begun to understand that supporting technology that staff want to use, rather than that which they have to use, can make a significant difference. Rather than the clunky interfaces and devices of yesteryear, we now have a variety of devices that are a pleasure to use.

“However, it is not just about ease of use. A third of those surveyed believe that consumer devices make employees more contactable. Surprisingly, only seven per cent predicted that the consumerisation of IT will lower support costs because users are familiar with the equipment, showing a clear need for IT support to help make using new technology second nature.”

Richard Absalom, consumer impact IT analyst at Ovum, claimed that Apple and Google's marketing and product strategies for iPhone and Android are geared toward the consumer market, not the more demanding enterprise market.

He said the popularity of iOS and Android devices among consumers means enterprises are now having to respond to employee demand for them.

Absalom said: “This is shifting enterprises away from the traditional model of IT department control and forcing them to plug the gap with a 'bring your own device' (BYOD) strategy. With Apple and Android driving the BYOD trend, the individual employee will become an increasingly important primary device channel into the enterprise.”

An Ovum report on the subject says the BYOD trend will continue as long as Apple and Google maintain their current market strategies.

Absalom said: “The constant stream of new mobile devices pushed to consumers means that BYOD is here to stay, at least in the medium term. Consumers are willing and able to replace their mobile phone or tablet at a quicker rate then their employer can afford to, and they expect to be able to use their latest gadget to improve productivity in the workplace.

“This rate of innovation means that mobile device management vendors are here to stay. It is unrealistic for most IT departments to keep up with every device, platform and API update needed to keep their data secure.”

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