New Unisys-Sponsored Research Shows IT Organizations Not Quite Ready for Consumer Technologies in the Workplace

New research sponsored by Unisys has revealed gaps in readiness by global IT organizations to manage, support, secure and capitalize on the rapidly growing use of consumer technologies and tools in the workplace.

The "Consumerization of IT" research was conducted in two phases. A Unisys-sponsored study of 2,820 workers in 10 countries found that tech-savvy information workers are blurring traditional lines between home and work in their use of readily available consumer devices and web-based social media applications. According to Unisys, these information workers report that they are investing their own time and money in advanced consumer devices and applications - technologies often more powerful than those provided by their employers - and are using them interchangeably for business and personal activities.

At the same time, a separate Unisys-sponsored survey of nearly 650 global IT decision-makers reveals that their organizations frequently are not aware of what technologies their employees are using and how the technologies are being used; are providing poor IT support for consumer technologies being used by employees for business purposes; and are not integrating those consumer technologies in their enterprise.

The research was done as a result of trends that Unisys has observed in the market, Sam Gross, vice president, Global IT Outsourcing Solutions, Unisys, tells 5 Minute Briefing. Unisys, Gross says, has seen "a real division between what our clients and our customers were telling us, what the majority of the industry analysts were  saying and publishing, and what we actually saw with our eyes as we looked around the workplace, and how people are working, where we are servicing them."

"What we found by doing the research were a couple of things that we all know, but are not really appearing in black and white the way they should. The first is this obvious trend in that tech-savvy information workers clearly blur the line between the equipment that they use at home and the way they work at home, the equipment that they use when they are on the road and working virtually or remotely, and the ways in which corporate IT believes that they are supporting them," says Gross.

"We are convinced not only by our own experience but also by this data that we are clearly at another inflection point in our industry and in computing," Gross notes. "We are seeing this concept of a bottoms-up revolution that is being driven by iWorkers. not corporate IT, and that is what the data really proves out." Yet, he says, corporate IT has not grasped the significant changes in the demographics of their workers,

According to the Unisys-sponsored research, iWorkers report using an average of four consumer devices and multiple third-party applications, such as social networking sites, in the course of their day. The survey also shows that these workers are using smartphones, laptops and mobile phones in the workplace at nearly twice the rate reported by employers. About 50% of devices are used for both personal and business use; data is freely intermingled. Yet, despite this apparent reality gap, 73% of IT executives surveyed describe their enterprise networks as very secure. The study also finds that i-Workers are routinely using consumer technologies and applications for business, but give their employers poor grades for the internal IT support they provide for these technologies. Employees also say their employers are more permissive about use of consumer technologies than is reported to be the case by organizations.

And, according to the survey, employees are overwhelmingly willing to buy their own consumer technologies for use at work, yet employers still want to purchase standardized technologies for them.

According to PV Puvvada, vice president and managing partner for the Federal Horizontal Services Segment at Unisys, among government employees as well, there is a trend toward using more consumer technologies even among some of the agencies. "If you look at our survey, 16% of the folks that we surveyed both on the executive side and on the iWorker side are actually from government organizations."

The trends spotlighted in study are also occurring in the government world, not just at the federal level but also at the state and local government level as well, emphasizes Puvvada.

The complete results of the two Unisys-sponsored IDC studies, along with additional resources and commentary from Unisys and independent experts, are available on the Unisys "Consumer-Powered IT" blog, located at Business leaders can also conduct a readiness self-assessment at that will help them determine their organization's ability to harness and capitalize on this massive consumer trend.