Nearly three-quarters of the 141 information workers (iWorkers) responding to a recent online poll indicated they would be willing to pay at least part of the cost for productivity-enhancing technology for work if they could choose it themselves. The respondents to the Unisys poll were asked: “What percentage of the cost of your job’s IT tools would you be willing to fund if you had freedom to choose what you could use?”
Nearly a third (32 percent) of the respondents said they would be willing to pay the full cost. Twenty-one percent said that they would pay up to half of the cost and another 21 percent said that they would fund up to 30 percent of the cost.
This indication of a groundswell of iWorker interest in using self-purchased technology for work reinforces the findings from the recent Consumerisation of IT research sponsored by Unisys and conducted by IDC.
“The results of the web poll are interesting as they hint at a coming trend. While our Consumerisation of IT research shows that New Zealand employees are less willing to purchase their own IT devices to use at work than the global average, those Kiwis who do buy their own devices are choosing the ones that allow them to be more mobile in their work - lap tops, mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs,” says Brett Hodgson, managing director of Unisys New Zealand.
Hodgson says the sole exception was the Blackberry which was more likely to be issued at work. “Clearly the increasing use of consumer-style IT in the workplace is an unstoppable trend which organisations should embrace. However, if some of these devices are employee-owned, organisations need to work out how to manage the insurance, security, HR and legal implications before they are attached to the corporate network,” he says.
The first part of the research – covering 2820 iWorkers in 10 countries – showed that enterprise employees are overwhelmingly willing to buy their own consumer technologies for use at work. In fact, 95 percent of respondents to that study reported that they use at least one self-purchased device for work.
About one-quarter (26 percent) of the respondents to the recent online poll said that they wouldn’t pay anything toward purchase of their own IT equipment. They said that they viewed such purchases as being the responsibility of their employers.
In the second phase of the Unisys-sponsored Consumerisation of IT research covering nearly 650 global IT decision-makers – 70 percent of the employer respondents indicated they intended to continue taking on that responsibility through traditional models for purchasing employees’ devices and covering business-related charges.
Sam Gross, vice president, global IT outsourcing solutions at Unisys, says by clinging to the old IT support models, employers could miss an opportunity to mobilise and unleash the innovation of an army of tech-savvy employees who want to use the technologies they rely on in their personal lives for work.
He says the online poll and the Consumerisation of IT research indicate the waning of the days when enterprises could require employees to use only company-procured laptops and mobile phones.
“In the face of increasing employee demand, IT organisations need to consider new models for end-user support that increase iWorkers’ satisfaction and productivity,” he says.
By doing so, management can also create potential for significant cost savings by letting employees choose and pay for the technology they’re most comfortable with rather than require them to use company-provided tools.
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