Consumerization of IT is defined as “the propensity for users’ experiences with technology as consumers to impact their expectations regarding their technology experiences at work.” It has become a habit of employees to utilize non-traditional information technology to complete their tasks at work. Enterprises have recognized this trend and have invested heavily in updating and remodeling their work spaces to include tablets, mobile devices, and cloud software. Unlike enterprises, however, small businesses have been slow to embrace this change. The IDG Enterprise Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise Study 2014 showed that 46% of enterprises with over 1,000 employees have invested in mobile app development, integration services and employee training on these new devices whereas only 36% of small businesses have followed suit.
Have you moved with the times? According to the IDG study, the consumerization of IT comes with a multitude of benefits, not just internally with your employees but externally as well, enterprises who utilize consumer friendly technology see an increase in consumer retention! Here is a list of the benefits that have resulted from the consumerization of IT:
Internal, Day to Day Operation Benefits
- Increased Employee Productivity
- Employees able to access work materials any place anytime
- Easier communication between employees
- Improved employee collaboration
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Increased employee retention
- Increased consumer satisfaction
- Improvement in communication with customers
- Increased customer retention
- Real-time updates available for customers
- Easier communication between customers and the organization
So as a small business owner, how can you embrace the changes and still maintain control and security over how your company’s information is being shared?
First, take action. Determine the new devices that will improve employee and customer experience. Make sure to consult your employees and customers, and take into account their prior experiences and their suggestions.
Second, set policies. Make clear what new tech additions the company will be liable for, and what new tech additions the company will tolerate, making the employee aware they will use at their own discretion and be held accountable for. Be firm on what is not permitted by the company.
Third, invest in software specifically designed to secure and manage consumer technology in the enterprise. Know that not all security needs can be met by one given software, and you will have to research and invest in various ones to ensure there are no blind spots, and the privacy of your company’s operations is not compromised.
And hey, if you’re not a business owner or entrepreneur yet, know that there is a demand and a market for new consumer friendly technology. IDG’s study showed that many companies are opting out of the traditional, established enterprise software vendors, and buying Cloud SoftWare solutions from start-ups and consumer companies. Companies have also been investing in consumer friendly IT solutions to use within the office. In surveys, workers have recognized email and meetings as their biggest drains on productivity. A start-up called Slack recognized the need for a more efficient way of internal communication. Yours could be that next start-up. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention so find your opportunity and go for it!
For more on the IDG’s findings, be sure to take a look at it here: