In a report just published by Unisys, research into enterprise mobility by Forrester Consulting has also revealed that Australian employers perceive that their employees’ desire to use mobile tools at work is a preference rather than a requirement and, as a result, those organisations are lagging behind in providing the mobile apps that would help their employees be more productive.
According to the report, 72 two percent of Australian business and IT decision makers surveyed, predict that tablets will become integral to the way they conduct business and provide services in the future – but, only 39 percent believe supporting employee-owned devices will be inevitable.
This year, 57 percent of Australian employers say they rate their organisation as providing a high level of support for company-owned mobile devices, up from 32 percent in 2011, while the proportion rated as having high levels of support for employee-owned smartphones and tablets fell from 24 percent to 15 percent over the same period. A key reason for the fall is the belief by almost half (47 percent) of surveyed employers that BYO devices increase workload on the IT department.
“BYO devices won’t necessarily create the strain that IT departments fear. IT management should understand that self-service portals and peer support via wikis and blogs could be acceptable to employees as a means of accessing support.” Ward said.
According to the survey, 52 percent of IT and business decision-makers believe that employees who encounter trouble with their personally-owned devices are most likely to contact the IT department, whereas 60 percent of employees say they are most likely to troubleshoot the problem themselves and 14 percent say they will ask a friend.
Unisys says that support for mobile apps lags behind employee demand, with the research showing that there is a clear disparity in perceptions of why employees use mobile devices and apps for work, with 66 percent of surveyed employers believing that employees bring their own devices to work because they use them at home and simply want to use them at work.
Only 41 percent of organisations say that employees need the mobile tools but aren’t provided with them by their employer, and overall they see their employees’ desire to use mobile tools at work as a preference rather than a requirement.
Conversely, employees responding to the survey cited productivity as the driver for greater mobility in the workplace, with 67 percent of iWorkers who use a smartphone for work doing so because they can get things done” whenever and wherever it is convenient”, and 60 percent saying it is so they can “quickly and easily interact with partners and customers.”
Similarly, 56 percent of employees using tablets for work, do so because the apps help them get their work done more efficiently.
The survey also found that the majority of employees – 53 percent – responded that the top business benefit of using personally-owned devices and apps for work was that it makes them personally more efficient and productive.
“It seems fair to say that by continuing to view employees’ desire to use personally owned devices for work as a preference rather than a necessity, IT departments and organisations have been slow to respond to employee demand for mobile apps that would enhance their productivity,” Ward observes.
According to the survey, the most common mobile apps that Australian organisations make available to employees are email/calendar/contact (75 percent of organisations), word processing and spreadsheets (54 percent) and IT help desk (49 percent). This is in contrast to the fact that organisations are much less likely to provide mobile apps for productivity and collaboration, with only 29 percent providing web conferencing, 37 percent team site collaboration tools and 37 percent providing productivity tools.
Only 28 percent of organisations deploy and manage custom developed or third-party mobile apps. “So not surprisingly, 42 percent of Australian employees surveyed say they have downloaded unauthorised mobile apps or PC software – BYO apps, in other words. The most common reason for doing so – given by 63 percent of respondents – is that they need those apps for work purposes and their employer didn’t provide an alternative,” Ward concludes.