IT consumerisation: Does it mean covert activity at work?

Nobody likes it when people go behind their backs to get what they want. IT departments are no different. But, with IT Consumerization a fact of life for all businesses today, is this something that they need to expect and learn to live with it?

If you can’t beat ‘em…

CIOs are reporting on high numbers of employees bringing their own devices, such as smart phones and tablet computers, into the workplace. So much so that some organisations are updating their IT infrastructure to allow this to happen and adopting policies that proactively encourage people to do so.

Clearly, no organisation is going to simply open up their IT systems and allow anyone with any device to access them. So, this really does need some thinking and preparation behind it before UK businesses can embrace IT consumerization.

The challenge for IT departments is to formalise unstructured behaviour to give employees the freedom of MSN-style services while they maintain control over corporate applications and data.

To achieve this they need to give business users their applications right away (not ask them to wait traditionally long development times) and they need to deliver more stylish and easy to use applications, like those publicly available on the Web.

But does it work?

Despite the rise of tools such as GoogleDocs the fact is that if you can’t access the service for any reason, say you’re travelling on a train, any employee can end up twiddling their thumbs because “they can’t get onto Google”.

By providing staff with more robust and structured tools to remote work then organisations (and more specifically IT departments) can avoid any such user issues, helping to make staff as productive out of the office as they are when they are in it. Cloud service providers specialise in taking these technologies and making them business ready so you don’t have to accept poor service levels.

How do you get to the cloud and what are the benefits?

We argue that cloud service providers will help smooth the path of IT Consumerization in the work place by providing the means for users to securely access their workday tools. The forward thinking businesses that are letting their staff use consumer gadgets at work are prepared to make the investment because it has a number of expected benefits:

  • Firstly, workers become more engaged because it helps improve their experience of technology in the work place. This is often seen as clunky and difficult to use with a poor user experience that is embarrassingly blown away by the high quality public services available to them over the Internet. How frustrated do you get and how much time do you waste completing your expense claim form on your company’s ERP system at work compared to the ease in which you can buy your groceries online?
  • Next, as a direct consequence of the more engaged workforce with a high quality experience of using consumer devices at work, employers expect to see a significant uplift in productivity. Accessing applications and data securely, from anywhere and at any time really does mean businesses can leverage the power of the Internet to have a connected and collaborative workforce with improved response times to communicate with customers and service their needs.
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Martino Corbelli is Marketing Director of Star.