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Understanding the impact of consumerisation on business IT

Consumerisation, the long-established trend of employees bringing their own devices and technology to work, is having a greater impact in the workplace than ever before. 74% of IT decision-makers globally now allow employees to use personal devices for work (1),and employees’ experience of their personal smart mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets and phones, is increasing setting their expectations of business IT.

However, while consumerisation offers benefits such as increased productivity, cost reduction and talent retention, it also presents significant challenges around security and governance. How should IT functions respond to this trend?

Forward-thinking organisations will embrace consumerisation and recognise that the future of IT in the workplace will be about empowering people to work effectively and manage information across a wealth of devices.

Businesses can expect to see consumerisation continue to exert its influence in three key areas:

Consumer technologies will set the pace for corporate IT

Future waves of consumer technology will continue to transform the nature of work. Just as social media – primarily a consumer technology – was rapidly adopted by business, technologies and applications such as virtual worlds, gaming, smart phone peripherals and the wealth of new web-enabled devices envisioned by the Internet of Things will be introduced to the workplace by employees.

Increased consumer awareness of “what’s hot” and “what’s not” will create an on-going challenge for IT departments to keep up with the latest fashions in consumer technology.

Applications will become a feature of business technology

Apps have been a key driver for consumerisation and have changed the way that people work. People now often use a simple, intuitive app designed and highly optimised for a specific task before switching to a different app to do something else. App stores create a commercial marketplace and hub for sharing applications, allowing both mainstream and highly niche apps to co-exist profitably.

In the future, corporate IT will start to make greater use of this model, both by developing apps that can be used for a while and then discarded, or by externally marketing apps originally created for internal use.

Future technologies will follow smart mobile devices into the workplace

While the current wave of consumerisation is focussed on smart mobile devices, the trend is also likely to deliver a wide range of future technologies to the workplace. 3D printing is one such technology. At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, MakerBot and Cubify launched 3D printers aimed at the domestic market. It is not hard to foresee this technology being used in the workplace for rapid prototyping and ultimately for the manufacture of specify business supplies and inventory parts.

Augmented reality is another technology that has started to gain traction in the consumer market via smart phone apps such as Layar and Junaio. Video eyewear specialists Vuzix plans to introduce glasses that can augment the visual field with digital information from smart connected devices for consumer and industrial use by summer 2012, enabling a wave of applications spanning everything from training to navigation and hands-free working.

The future will see an ever-wider range of consumer technology being used in the workplace by employees keen to increase their productivity and enhance their working experience. IT departments must embrace this trend and develop an IT strategy to exploit the benefits that consumer technology offers while maintaining security and a degree of control.

To find out how PA can help your organisation embrace and profit from digital technologies, contact us now.

Anita Chandraker
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Kevin O’Shaughnessy
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