2017 CompuCom Insights Series
The Device Has Become the Center of the Employees’ World
Employees are bringing consumer expectations of technology into the workplace. Consumers want technology to help them complete transactions and inquiries with maximum efficiency. They expect access to information through a wide array of channels with the ability to start transactions in one channel and then complete them seamlessly in others. They want proactive exposure to entirely new products and services, but they expect their information to be fully protected. Similarly, employees expect to have anytime, anywhere access to all important tools, services and support through any connected device — both mobile and stationary. Thus, the device has become the center of the employee and consumer’s world.
The result is a large impact on IT leaders and organizations to protect and manage the plethora of devices that are entering the workplace in a cost-effective and employee-satisfying manner.
IT Implementation Challenges
There are multiple ways for IT organizations to support consumer-centric IT delivery. As such, IT leaders must carefully consider what works best for their organizations. On the device side, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) is a popular option, because it delivers a number of business benefits; however it also creates complexities for IT organizations. In addition to keeping track of individual device histories, IT functions must handle an increased variety of break-fix, software patching, and security related issues as compared to standard-issue devices.
On the other hand, owning and distributing devices that are more consumer-friendly, reduces the amount of personal connection employees feel with their devices, and adds to the complexity of trying to separate work from life. However, it does make handling the variety of device-related issues less unwieldly. Organizations can choose to party with a third party services provider to procure and maintain devices, or can do this in-house. The selection of devices and features must be carefully balanced, keeping in mind cost, security and flexibility for employees. Relatedly, employee software delivered on devices must meet the latest consumer demands, drawing from the best of commercial software. Cutting edge UI/UX is not a traditional internal IT strength, and requires designing customer journeys in fundamentally different ways.
Finally, the delivery of services to employee devices and software — patches, break-fix, device swaps — must also meet the consumer demand. Giving employees the flexibility to receive support the way they want, whether through self-service, on-site support or remote provisioning, improves their IT experience. However, it adds additional cost considerations, and resource capabilities to ensure the channels of delivery are effective.
Benefits to Business
There are two primary drivers of value to businesses in delivering IT services through consumer-centric models. Device flexibility makes employers more attractive as employees can increase their mobility and can avoid the inconvenience of having both personal and work devices. BYOD is a popular option, as it reduces capital expenditures (CAPEX) for organizations, and enables employees to use the devices to which they have personal connections. BYOD is often associated with lower break-fix costs, lower hardware costs, and reduced application costs without increases in connectivity and support costs. Another large benefit for organizations is that the BYOD infrastructure investment makes IT platforms agnostic, which enables remote access from any other platform. Therefore, employees can increase productivity, are enabled to work from home, and the unique needs of each employee can be supported — whether the employee is a software developer or a marketing executive.
Risks to Business
Although there are significant benefits to the supporting consumerization forces at the workplace, there are also major risks. The top concern for IT leaders is security. Security concerns need careful examination across physical security (device loss), data security (weak encryption, data leakage), privacy issues (user data separation, custom applications), and compliance (government rules and standards compliance). These issues only increase with the functionality and variety of devices organizations allow. The consumerization of IT can also cause increased costs that are not always lower than the savings realized. Business applications, collaboration tools, and infrastructure investments can be drivers of cost, and companies must carefully develop policies to make sure these costs are minimal. Data loss, ownership of knowledge and data, and privacy are all also concerns for IT leaders. Many leaders struggle to create policies that are safe, integrate well with existing IT infrastructure, and have the ability to support the higher and more variable application loads.
As employee and consumer expectations change and become more demanding, there will be increased pressure for organizations to appeal to employees to retain talent and to appeal to consumers to drive sales. While there are both benefits and risks to the consumerization of IT, these expectations will inevitably force companies to create a unique policy to cater to both employee and consumer wants and needs.
With the consumerization of IT, IT leaders must design a policy that is right for their organization to enable employees, realize cost savings, and increase business value through increased sales opportunities.
Our insights are based on our 2017 CIO survey, where we interviewed top CIOs and technology executives from the Fortune 500 in 12 market segments — spanning retail to financial services — as well as our deep expertise in deploying solutions for clients over the past 30 years.