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Summary:

Enterprise employees have shifted from the gray and controlled world of corporate IT to the colorful Oz of consumer technologies, but according to data from an IDC/Unisys survey, everyone is in need of some kind of wizard to sort things out.

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Enterprise employees have shifted from the gray and controlled world of corporate IT to the colorful Oz of consumer technologies, but according to data from an IDC/Unisys survey, IT is in need of some kind of wizard to sort things out. According to dual surveys of 560 IT managers and another interviewing 2,660 employees and executives at large companies, IT underestimates the number of employees using laptops, mobiles and tablets and is also unable to support those consumer devices.

This isn’t just a matter of IT angst; there are issues for the bottom line, as 89 percent of IT departments say they have not yet — and have no plans t0 — modernize customer-facing apps for mobile devices this year. A mere 6 percent have adapted their customer-facing apps for mobiles so far, which any of the 25 percent of folks using a smartphone for their web access instead of a computer can likely tell you.

Presumably as an IT services provider, we can expect   to use this data to sell their services, which could help IT out of their morass. When it comes to mobile tech, Unisys/IDC counts laptops, smartphones and tablets. In some cases, totals will not add up to 100 percent because other options offered on the survey were not included in the infographic. Finally, the 20 percent of respondents who said they are texting, tweeting or emailing while driving need to stop. Seriously.

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  1. Just to be clear, 25 percent of folks *don’t* use a smartphone for their web access instead of a computer. The figure is, 25 percent *of smartphone owners* use their smartphone for web access more often than a computer.

    The same Pew study shows that just over a third of adults own a smartphone. So that’s less than 10 percent of adults who primarily use a smartphone for accessing the web. And it still means that three out of four smartphone owners still primarily use a computer rather than their smartphone for web access.

  2. Nick Sharratt Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Some thoughts:
    If people are already able to do so much without IT systems/processes/services changing then is this an issue? The reason things are taking off is because mobile tech has finally reached a point where it can deliver a near desktop experience for web browsing (and with many apps) – so the IT systems don’t actually need to change to be usable.

    Also, IT systems have adopted many open standards for a long time so things like email, calendars etc all “just work” as far as users of mobile devices are concerned. Yes, there are security issues etc which they are probably stumbling into without knowing the minefield they have entered, but with the genie out of the bottle, I can’t see many areas successfully closing the door now the horse has settled down in a nice villa and completely forgotten ever running away.

    Next, there are now so many IT services provided “for free” in the cloud that users can effectively by pass any/all corporate IT services and still work effectively if they choose to – and because it’s their own device on their own (mobile) network and often in their own time, there’s very little that IT policies could do to reign this chaos in. Of course this chaos is also a creative maelstrom – sometimes time wasting, risky or even reckless but also agile, flexible, responsive.

    Lastly, investment. Most IT departments are being squeezed to cost the organisation less rather than being seen as an area requiring investment. This is no surprise when senior execs see services provided for free out there and an old creaking IT system which has lost it’s shine – not seeing it as needing investment to improve the overall organisational efficiency.

    I also see these things in waves. Mainframes used to be single task systems, then people were liberated to be able to run their own jobs on them in batch runs. Then mainframes became seen as centrally controlled and PCs became popular as people felt they had control back. Slowly as networks took off and PCs became subservient to centrally controlled server, people lost that sense of control again. Now, people feel liberated from all central control again and are running free – eventually, the problems with this will become more apparent (data loss etc) and corporations will find a way to regain control again and eventually, something else will come along to liberate people’s creative spirit again. Things look so dramatic right now as we’re in the middle of a transition – this isn’t the end of the world or a periminant condition, it’ll settle down and balance out again eventually…or not.

    Perhaps it’s a reverse industrial revolution where the individual in an organisation becomes independent and the whole nature of corporations will eventually have to change to be more amorphous and fluid?

    1. @Nick. Nice observation on the shift of control from employee to the employer. However, I think comparing PC revolution to the this recent trend is not justified – simply because in the earlier case, the change was brought about by the organization rather than the employee himself.

  3. I may check mails and respond by one liners from by mobile device. I still like to use my laptop for serious work. It depends on a person’s work how these hand held are useful, for example if you are in a job where you need to go through a 50 page document with detail charts and tables and then make few relevant comments, I think you will prefer a large screen display…

  4. Working at a fortune 500 IT department that does manufacturing, I can tell you we won’t be doing any major supporting of mobile devices anytime soon. Only exception being pushing email to people’s iPhones that really want it, even though most don’t actually need it. I’m sure other companies are the same way, hence the high “not reimbursed” numbers on that one.

    I can’t speak for other industries, but I doubt they’ll be used much in manufacturing except for corporate folks. Most of these numbers don’t match my workplace at all. If they’re using mobile devices at work it’s on cellular networks as the networks are locked down. Supporting iOS so a handful of corporate people can take iPads to work just isn’t justifiable. Industrial handhelds have trouble enough surviving on the manufacturing floor, iPads and Androids wouldn’t stand a chance.

    Take what I say with a grain of salt, I’m in low-tech manufacturing where the vast majority of our workers don’t have a college degree. Other industries like retail or even higher-tech manufacturing are probably entirely different.

  5. 1. This is a failure of leadership to understand and recognize the security threat of unmanaged/personally owned devices on their corporate network. Maybe their network is not that important to business ops?

    2. If you want to use your personal device on the corporate network, it’s no longer your personal device.

    3. The cleanest solution is the company establish a business case for purchasing portable devices with some allowance made for personal use of the company device (e.g. e-mail, Facebook, Twitter). The company must, without exception, control what is on their network.

    4. Unless the company’s business model requires them to be on the leading edge of technology, then they should not be early adopters.

    5. I love my iPhone and iPad, but bringing them into my work environment is cause for termination because the network and data is that critical to mission success.

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