IT strategists and commentators alike have been talking about the cost impacts and benefits of the Consumerization of IT for years. However, no-one seems to agree on what’s actually going on out there from a financial perspective. Why? Because no one has managed to formulate an effective framework for measuring the financial impact of consumer-grade technology on the enterprise. IT managers are effectively flying blind with only a vague notion of what to measure and how to measure it.
That is until now. Thanks to comprehensive research commissioned by Trend Micro and recently carried out by analyst Forrester Consulting, we have for the first time collated an invaluable set of rigorous scientific data on the subject. So what does it tell us? Well, as discussed in the last post, it clearly shows that not enough businesses measure BYOD programs in the correct way. But what it also highlights is that an overwhelming number of enterprises find that allowing staff to use their own technology for work increases productivity – in fact quite a lot.
In total, 82% of respondents said they thought BYOD programs increased staff productivity, with the largest group (52%) claiming it increased by 10-20%. In many ways this seems like a no-brainer. Consumer technology is widely accepted to be more exciting, user-friendly, innovative and just easier to use than its enterprise equivalent. Employees want to use their mobile devices, laptops and home PCs for work, and are also likely to get more out of the technology because they’ll be more familiar with it. The employee will usually be multi-tasking in front of the TV on their iPhone long after the corporate BlackBerry has been switched off, for example.
But it’s important for IT managers reading this to understand that these results need to be viewed in the context of their particular industry vertical or individual organization. It’s certainly not the case that all firms will see such a potentially dramatic impact on their bottom line. Yes, if your organization is a service-oriented business with a large number of white collar personnel then there are likely to be big gains to be made from allowing staff to use their own technology for work. However, if you work in manufacturing, for example, there is likely to be limited impact on staff productivity. The assembly line worker will gain little productivity-wise from being able to check work emails from their own smartphone, for example.
The lesson here is that although productivity gains may offset many of the costs and risks associated with BYOD programs, as with most things in life, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. IT leaders would do well to think very carefully about their own circumstances when reading the research and building an ROI framework specific to their organization.
Companies that are questioning whether or not to allow workers to bring personal devices into the workplace should just stop asking. Thanks to this authoritative independent study, it is now scientifically demonstrated that you can get a competitive edge when you put the right precautions in place. The BYOD phenomenon gives companies that allow it a competitive advantage as it enhances innovation and creativity in the workplace while reducing overall costs for the entire organization. The key to not being overwhelmed by this trend is that all these consumer-grade technologies need to be secured by implementing the proper BYOD policies and procedures.