One-quarter of work devices are smartphones and tablets, Forrester finds

We all know the consumerization of IT is eating away at the dominance of Microsoft PCs for work (and irritating swamped IT departments), but how quickly are workers shifting away from the old standbys? Forrester Research decided to find out recently, asking more than 10,000 information workers in 17 countries about what devices they use to get their jobs done.

The results are now in, and while the fact that more and more knowledge workers are importing their smartphone and iPad addictions to the office probably won’t surprise you, the extent of the use of these devices and employees’ willingness to pay for them might. The survey found:

  • Globally, one-third of devices being used for work are non-Microsoft.
  • One-quarter of devices used for work are mobile (i.e., smartphones and tablets).
  • In Europe and North America many workers choose which devices they use themselves: Seventy-three percent select their own smartphone, 53 their laptop and 22 percent even choose their PC.
  • Forty-eight percent pay the entire cost of their tablets themselves; 41 percent shell out for their laptops.

That might be good news for mobile workers looking to get stuff done on the go and on devices of their choice, but it adds up to less cheerful reading for Microsoft. The report concludes that “mobile devices will become the majority of devices used for work, surpassing PCs” and “Windows’ device share will fall below 50 percent by 2016.” It goes on to suggest this will demand a shift in marketing on the part of Microsoft, obliging the company to target individual workers as much as IT decision makers. “Think about that for a minute,” says Frank Gillett, a Forrester analyst who co-authored the report, in a blog post coinciding with its release, continuing:

Microsoft’s share of OSes on shipping PCs is still far above 90 percent and declining only incrementally in the face of growing Apple Mac share. Microsoft’s share of PCs in companies is even higher. But seen through the eyes of the workers, not IT, Microsoft is down to about two-thirds of the devices they use to get work done. With the strong growth of mobile devices — personal or issued by IT — and Microsoft’s minuscule share of mobile devices, that means that Microsoft’s share of the OS on devices used for work will continue to erode.

Do these numbers surprise you at all?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Johan Larsson