When is a device more than a device? When it changes the way corporations do business. The prevalence of bring your own device (BYOD) policies has already attracted much comment in the business technology sector, but what we’d like to ask looking forward to next year is: will the consumerisation of IT bring about changes that go beyond a choice in device?
In fact, the device is just the tip of the iceberg; employees who have seen their personal technology advance in leaps and bounds are less willing than ever to be burdened by corporate systems. We’ve all learnt to exercise our opinion as consumers and demand more when it comes to technology – now we’re applying these standards as employees.
As a result, corporate systems are expected to offer the same functionality and usability as personal devices or applications. The sense of employee dissatisfaction is evident in our mobile computing survey, which reveals that 47% of respondents believe home technology to be better than work solutions for managing information. This sentiment has forced organisations to relook, and in some cases redesign databases, CRM applications and other corporate systems.
In case we needed proof of this shift, the launch of Windows 8 demonstrated how employee demand for mobility and usability has driven a new phase in the Microsoft operating system; rather than the traditional separate operating systems for mobiles and static devices, the focus has shifted to creating a seamless experience between the two. Apple has also begun to cross fertilise features of its iOS and Mac OS operating systems to prioritise the user and mobility.
Designing a corporate system without the user in mind has always been a risky business; some of the most expensive implementations have fallen at the hand of user dislike. Now this power is more profound as employees not only shun systems that they can’t interact with as they would like, but become more vocal about their expectations. IT departments that are used to calling the shots on what system, software or application to introduce, must now accommodate employees who are armed with a knowledge of technology and demand more involvement in the decision-making process.
Take the database as an example. Despite its crucial role, many organisations have failed to even begin to innovate and develop a solution that works for business and users alike. Databases have a reputation for being a necessity but not something that users like to interact with, but its position as an essential business tool demands a change in this perception. Advances in the possibilities offered by customisable applications mean businesses can no longer ignore users when purchasing and designing new corporate systems.
To make significant returns on technology investment in the current economy, businesses must recognise the importance of incorporating usability that is designed against the user’s specific goals. Benefiting fully from a new technology investment will mean putting the user at the heart of any decision.