There are no doubt plenty of people around your company carrying smartphones in and out of the office, chatting or using some kind of app. Now, a new survey out of Accenture finds they're more than likely using their personal smartphones to conduct business, and even access corporate applications and data.
It's part of a burgeoning trend called “IT consumerization,” in which common devices, off-the-shelf from Best Buy or Walmart or Sears, are becoming ad hoc corporate end-user platforms as well.
Is this a good thing? It potentially relieves IT departments of many of the mind-numbing and unproductive aspects of their jobs, such as assigning, installing software, and then re-installing said software on hundreds or even thousands of PCs and laptops.
But it also creates enormous headaches for IT as well, in terms of data security and also trying to support clients they aren't familiar with.
It has become a tidal wave that's difficult to stem. Accenture finds one in four (23 percent) employees admit they now regularly use personal consumer devices and applications for work-related activities, and 14 percent use them to access enterprise applications and databases. In addition, 27 percent say they routinely use non-corporate applications downloaded from the Internet to do their work. Almost half (45 percent) of the employees say that personal consumer devices and software applications are more useful than the tools and applications provided by their IT department.
Accenture outlined the four stages of IT consumerization:
1. Corporate email accessed from smartphones.
2. Web-based corporate applications and databases accessed from smartphones.
3. Non-corporate applications accessed or downloaded for use in the company.
4. Employee-driven technological innovation: employees start developing their own workarounds to problems formerly addressed by IT.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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