Analyst firm IDC (news, site) has released a newstudy on the consumerization of information technology (IT) within theenterprise that indicates workers are increasingly using personally owneddevices likesmartphones and tablets to perform work on behalf of their companies. Thetrend is also driving adoption of social media applications for businesspurposes.

Employees Want Their Gadgets and Want Them Now

It wasn’t long ago that corporate employees used whatevertechnology IT  assigned to them andthey liked it (in my best grouchy old man voice). However, the environment haschanged. According to the latest study from IDC, consumer technologies -- tools thatemployees purchase or technology used as a part of their personal life -- are increasinglybeing leveraged within corporate walls.

IDC studied employees who use PCs, smartphones and/ortablets for work, or iWorkers as the study termed them, to determine howconsumer technologies are being used in the workplace. The study included morethan 3,000 information workers and business executives in nine countries. Thedata shows that there has been a 10 percent increase in the last 12 months ofpersonal devices being used for work purposes.


Study participants predicted that tablets, which didn’t evenexist 15 months ago, will grow more important than any other consumer devicefor completing work by 2012. The same is true for social media. The sameapplications workers are using to share family photos are now increasinglybeing used to engage customer communications, market products and performmarket research.

Taking Office Work into the Home

The data also shows that it isn’t just personal technologybleeding into the office. The office is bleeding into home.


Learning Opportunities

Mobility is driving many of the trends. Workers are tryingto squeeze every drop of productivity out of their day by fitting work in atevery opportunity from commuting to while “relaxing” on the couch in front ofthe latest reality T.V. show. It’s no longer sufficient to only respond toemails between 8:00 and 6:00 when at adesk.

Is Consumerization a Good Thing?

Although enterprises mostly agree that allowing employees touse their own devices is a good thing because it allows them to be moreproductive and reduces internal costs, the consumerization move is not withoutchallenges. Consumerization increases IT complexity; companies have moredevices and more applications to understand and manage. Many do not havepolicies and procedures in place to adequately deal with the influx of different devices.The study data shows that security threats are by far the largest area ofconcern.


Despite the challenges and complexity of consumer technologyadoption, IT leaders would be well advised to figure out how to support thetrend.  Potential and existing customersas well as partners are beginning to expect the faster responsiveness that manyof these consumer technologies offer.

Are you currently using your personal cell phone or tabletfor work? Does your company have an official policy around this or do you justdo it? We’d love to hear from you.