Businesses unprepared to support new mobile ways of working: Survey

Personal devices increasingly used to access company information
||Last Updated: 11/22/2011

Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are under growing pressure to enable employees to use their personal smartphones, tablets and other devices for business use, according to a global survey by Citrix, provider of virtual computing solutions.

One-quarter of companies are already supporting the use of such devices in the workplace and many are benefitting from a significant increase of 30 per cent in productivity, as employees are able to work anywhere, anytime from any device, found the survey of more than 1,100 senior executives and IT managers across Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

However, 62 per cent of employers have no controls in place to manage these devices and 45 per cent of IT managers are unaware of all the devices being used, raising questions regarding security and privacy.

"The nature of work continues to change," said Brett Caine, senior vice-president and general manager at Citrix. "Employees are using new consumer devices in the workplace for both business and personal use. Organizations need to respond to this trend by developing policies to address new mobile work styles that can drive productivity through more flexible working, while safeguarding the use of data and sensitive information."

Over the past few years, businesses globally have come under significant commercial, regulatory and environmental pressure to enable greater workforce mobility. With this demand, 57 per cent of IT managers are most concerned over the security implications of employees using personal devices for business, found the survey. However, more than one-half of business executives and IT managers are unaware of all personal devices used for business purposes and they lack an employee personal device policy.

Businesses are also feeling pressure to adopt more flexible work practices that promote better work-life balance for employees. Thirty-five per cent of survey respondents said they are under greater pressure than five years ago to offer more flexibility for employees.

This provides an opportunity for IT to change the way it works, by adopting new services to proactively monitor, manage and support the increasing mobile workforce, ensuring business continuity and minimal lost productivity of people working away from the office, said Citrix. IT managers also need to be able to work more efficiently, supporting people and machines from anywhere.

"The growth of mobile devices, bridging both personal and work use, represents new opportunities for IT support. The edge of the company network is extended while software ubiquity and complexity rapidly increases," said Elizabeth Cholawsky, vice-president and general manager of IT services at Citrix. "Enabling support, monitoring and managing remote and mobile workers is now a de facto requirement for IT to ensure highly productive and effective businesses."

Other survey findings:
•45 per cent of IT managers are unaware of all the personal devices being used by their staff for business purposes.
•Businesses are seeing productivity gains of up to 36 per cent from employees using both personal and business devices.
•Bring your own (BYO) is becoming an accepted business practice for both SMB and enterprise, with 25 per cent supporting use of personal devices for business purposes.
•Security is the top adoption barrier for allowing remote work for 57 per cent of participants.

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