What surprised Unisys Asia-Pacific IT outsourcing vice-president and general manager, Lee Ward, this year was the attitude of many IT managers towards mobility.
Ward said they still viewed employees’ desire to use mobile tools at work as a personal preference than a work tool for greater productivity.
“They accept that mobile devices at work are inevitable, but regardless of whether a smartphone or tablet is personally owned or provided by the employer, it’s the mobile apps beyond email and calendar that enable real changes to business processes and better productivity,” Ward said.
She added many organisations currently risk lagging behind when it comes to providing the mobile apps that would help their employees be more productive.
Ward bases this observation on the results of Unisys’ Consumerisation of IT 2012 study, which found 66 per cent of Australian employers believe that employees bring their own devices to work because they use them at home and simply want to use them at work.
At the same time, the survey found only 41 per cent of Australian organisations say employees need the mobile tools but are not provided to them by their employer.
Conversely, Ward says Australian employees cite productivity as the reason they want greater mobility in the workplace.
“The 67 per cent of Australian employees who use a smartphone for work say they do so because they can get things done whenever and wherever it is convenient, and 60 per cent say it is so they can quickly and easily interact with partners and customers,” she said.
Other key results from the survey was 56 per cent of employees using tablets for work and do so because the apps help them get their work done more efficiently, and 53 per cent saying personally owned devices and apps for work makes them personally more efficient and productive.
Mixing business with pleasure
Looking towards 2013, Ward expects the increasing popularity of tablets will be accelerated by the expanding range of formats, such as the the iPad mini, and operating systems, such as Microsoft’s Surface running Windows 8.
“As a result people will each own, use and juggle a growing number of devices, some personally owned, others provided by their employer,” she said.
Ward expects predicts most will be used for a mixture of work and play.
“From a personal point of view this means we will want to be able to easily move from working on one device to another, picking up where we last left off whether it is reading an eBook, watching a movie or updating a spread sheet,” she said.
Many users may turn to Cloud based storage and collaboration apps to enable this.
“For employers, this may raise security concerns if the Cloud apps, such as DropBox, do not have the rigorous security required by their business,” Ward said.
Ward points to Unisys’s survey, where it was found that 29 per cent of Australian employees say they have downloaded file sharing apps such as Box or Dropbox in 2012. The opportunity for the channel will then be able to respond to this trend by implementing enterprise grade shared storage solutions.
“The channel can also help organisations design and build their own enterprise app store containing apps, either custom developed or from approved third party developers, to provide employees with the collaboration tools they desire, combined with the high security that most organisations require,” Ward said.