For many people, the commute from home to office looks like the evolution of man in reverse – you leave your MacBook Pro on the counter, switch from your Galaxy Nexus to your BlackBerry, your Kindle to a stack of files.
Obviously, I’m generalising.
But companies today are faced with the challenge of recruiting from a Facebook-generation of “digital natives”, shocked by the state of technology in their workplaces. They’re used to powerful and easy-to-use technologies – and they want them in the workplace too.
A growing mobile workforce has also contributed to making smartphones and tablets popular in the corporate workplace. As the line between work and play has gradually blurred, consumer gadgets are allowing employees to work and play anywhere at any time.
But should IT departments approve a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policy? What about security?
Security is, of course, a big concern for firms. But many smartphones and tablets allow users to “wipe” their device’s content remotely. The same can’t be said of PCs. For iPhones and iPads, later versions of iOS includes ready-made encryption capabilities as standard.
“IT’s Arab spring”
Workers’ demands to use their own gadgets is a challenge to the authority of the IT department – and, as an article for The Economist (‘IT’s Arab spring’) suggests, the trend is unstoppable.
“Rather than a few geeky rebels,” writes Martin Giles. “There are now entire armies of employees equipped with smart mobile devices.”
Accenture, a consulting firm whose staff often work at clients’ offices, has 223,000 employees. The Economist reports that less than two years ago 30,000 smartphones and other mobile devices were connected to its network, most of them bought by the firm. Today there are 85,000, less than a third of which were provided by the company.
Good for business?
There is an argument that suggests firms that embrace consumerisation of IT are more likely to attract tech-savvy workers, who are also more likely to introduce innovations in personal-technology that could improve business practices.
Indeed, we interviewed mobile working employee José Reyes, who told us that software he introduced, such as Skype, became widely-adopted by the company.
What do you think?
Is consumerisation an unnecessary threat to security and IT departments? Should firms allow their employees to bring in their own gadgets? Should they provide a stipend for workers to buy the tech of their choice?
Let us know in the comments.
Photo credit: Tricia Wang 王圣捷