Employers still lag in supporting real employee mobility: report

by Stephanie Zillman01 Nov 2012

New research has revealed that while employees want to be more mobile and use their own devices, the business community is lagging in making the new world of work a reality.

The 2012 Australian Consumerisation of IT research from Unisys and Forrester Consulting found that compared to 2011, IT support for company-owned smartphones and tablets in Australian organisations has nearly doubled, but support for BYO devices has decreased significantly.

The reason for the slow take-up is that employers continue to misunderstand why staff want greater mobility, and are missing out on opportunities to increase productivity as a result. Employers perceive that their employees’ desire to use mobile tools for work is a preference rather than a requirement of increasing output. What’s more:

  • While 72% of Australian business and IT decision makers predict that tablets will become integral to the way they conduct business and provide services in the future, just 39% believe supporting employee-owned devices will be inevitable.
  • A key reason for the slow take-up of mobile devices is that almost half (47%) of surveyed employers believe that BYO devices increase workload on the IT department. 

“The research reveals that there are some fundamental differences between how employees and the IT department view IT support requirements for BYO devices,” Lee Ward from Unisys said.

Yet the worries may be unfounded. The survey found 52% of IT and business decision-makers believe that employees who encounter trouble with their personally-owned devices are most likely to contact the IT department. Yet 60% of employees said they are more likely to troubleshoot the problem themselves and 14% said they would ask a friend. 

“BYO devices won’t necessarily create the strain that IT departments fear. IT management should understand that self-service portals and peer support via wikis and blogs could be acceptable to employees as a means of accessing support,” Ward added. 

Consulting firm Kelly Services also weighed in on the call for organisations to embrace the technology generation. Managing director Karen Colfer commented today that the rapid and ongoing technological advances have triggered a procession of change, and as a result, the idea of a fixed employer and a fixed work location is all but disappearing. “Organisations need to accept that the new workforce will be in a constant state of flux. Smart organisations will find ways to maximise the opportunity by investing in the development of their employees and creating an environment that facilitates communication and interaction across a group of employees that don’t physically sit together,” she said.


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