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The consumerisation of IT is a positive trend, offering the potential of cost savings, increased productivity and enhanced user experience, but it can also throw up risks that could put your organisation in the press for the wrong reasons. 

Sanjeev Kumar, IT delivery expert

The impact of consumer IT in the workplace: four key risks – and how to avoid them 

Companies such as Apple, Samsung, Google, Dropbox, Twitter and Facebook have had a huge impact on the way people use and interact with IT in their personal lives. This experience is now influencing how they expect to be able to access IT at work and this trend (often referred to as consumerisation) looks set to completely change the way organisations deliver IT.   

At PA Consulting Group, our experience helping clients in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and retail sectors get the best from consumerisation tells us that this trend is positive, and the benefits of getting the right approach are significant in terms of cost saving, productivity and enhanced user experience.  But it can also throw up risks that, in some cases, could put your organisation in the press for the wrong reasons. Here are the risks to consider, with pointers on how to avoid them by rethinking your existing approach.  

Employee loses sensitive information held on personal iPad 

Most people now have a smartphone or an iPad or other tablet. They have these devices with them all the time and often find them considerably easier to use than the technology (Windows laptop and BlackBerry) they get from work. The temptation therefore is to send work information to their personal device. This creates a security risk if that personal device is then lost with sensitive information on it. 

Address this risk by implementing a mobile device management solution (MDM), which gives you the ability to remove information from a device remotely (including personally owned devices).PA has experience of advising on and piloting MDM solutions for a global oil and gas company.   

IT department unable to cope with business demand for mobile apps

Mobile apps in the workplace are forecasted to cause major disruption to the way the IT department works. Once the demand materialises, the business will expect the IT department to be able to respond quickly. If you’re not ready, then the business is likely to implement some ‘point solutions’, which fix the immediate problem without considering related issues, leaving you with a mess to sort out at a later date. 

Reduce this risk by implementing a central framework for managing demand, and developing and distributing mobile apps. This will often include developing your own ’app store’ where employees can find and install company-approved or -developed apps. PA has developed mobile apps for a range of clients in the media, consumer and utilities sectors.

User feedback shows IT services fail to meet expectations

Products and services provided by Apple, Dropbox and Amazon have changed the level of expectation for usability and customer service. As a result, employees will start to get frustrated with the quality of the IT they get at work, which could lead to a loss of trust and reduced productivity. 

Overcome this risk by putting in place quick and easy processes to capture feedback from users. Make your existing tools easier to use, and get tougher on the usability-testing required for all new tools.  

IT department misses opportunity to exploit social collaboration tools 

Most people are now familiar with using social collaboration in their personal lives (Facebook, Twitter etc). As yet, few organisations have found a way of using these technologies at work to maximise productivity. In many cases organisations have tried to implement new technology, but haven’t had the take-up they would like from users. There are a number of new social collaboration products on the market, but the challenge of how to get improved productivity from these products remains. 

Meet this challenge by identifying a small number of use cases which could be improved by the use of social media and provide the best tools to support the use of social collaboration in those areas. 

To find out how we can give your business exceptional results through consumerisation, contact us now.

Anita Chandraker
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Kevin O’Shaughnessy
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