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IT Out of Touch about Mobile Devices, Survey Finds

A new study from K2 Advisory, Digital Workplace Choices: Preparing for the 2020 Workplace, found that UK employers are impeding productivity by not measuring employee satisfaction with technology devices.

The study of 228 HR, marketing, and customer-engagement professionals in both the private and public sectors, concludes that "most ‘millenials’ or ‘echo boomers’ in their 20s are more IT savvy than their Baby Boomer bosses, creating a generational divide of frustration around corporate devices issued to employees." Senior managers, board directors, and CIOs are "distancing themselves from workplace technology and tools," in part because when most employers think of strategic IT, they only think of large servers and enterprise IT infrastructure residing in their offices. What's missing: consideration of the small tech devices employees hold in their hands. The result: enterprises are hindering employee productivity and missing opportunities to improve the competitive advantages of their organization.

The survey revealed that of the 65 percent of enterprises that conduct employee satisfaction surveys, "only about half bother to measure employee satisfaction with their technology devices, despite the dependence on devices and their importance in improving productivity."

The report also highlights how employees working from home and the culture stemming from "always-connected" personal IT devices "are redefining traditional departmental functions and responsibilities."

In what should come as a wake-up call for IT, the survey found that in one-third of the enterprises surveyed, HR, not IT, makes key decisions on policies and training. "With the ‘Crackberry’ culture impacting the health of workers, employees are ignoring rules about using their own phones, netbooks, and laptops, and successful marketing campaigns challenging the ‘locked down’ approach to blocking social media sites at work, IT needs to increase collaboration with HR and Marketing in response to the changing workplace environment," the report said.

Dr. Katy Ring, director at K2 Advisory and the report's author, said, “It’s almost become accepted that corporate laptops and mobile phones are standard issue clunky, outdated pieces of equipment. New styles of working mean new rules. IT should be consulting HR about specific job profiles and take a much more cross-functional and collaborative approach. The one-size-fits-all approach to IT and personal IT devices is at odds with the way the digital workplace is evolving. In many cases, employees know more than their bosses about what they need. The focus needs to be on end user productivity rather than a ‘use what you are given’ approach. As a result, we will see the emergence of more ‘digital allowances’ with employers giving staff a set amount of money to purchase a digital device, in the same way a company car allowance operates. Whilst budgetary constraints will always be a key consideration, there is also a significant opportunity for CIOs to drive fundamental change across the organization through both strategy and leadership.”

The changing workplace was also reflected in the survey, which found that 82 percent of marketers "intend to increase their use of social media within marketing campaigns," and about half of respondents claim their IT department "does not provide the necessary technology to enable them to fully exploit social media for marketing purposes." The survey found that less than half of UK organizations "have no official policy regarding the use of social media sites."

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted by Jim Powell on 09/20/2010 at 11:53 AM