iPhone and Android in the office yield higher profits, happier employees

A new survey finds that companies embracing consumer tech are more likely to report increased sales

IT admins have been understandably resistant to BYOD. After all, granting user-owned gadgets access to sensitive data and critical applications poses not only a security threat, it also creates compatibility challenges and tech-support headaches. However, embracing BYOD appears to be worth the trouble: Organizations that support consumer tech are nimbler and more profitable says a new survey from software and consulting company Avanade.

According to the company's survey of C-level execs, business-unit leaders, and IT decision makers from around the globe, organizations that have adopted consumer tech were 73 percent more likely to report improved sales and new customer acquisitions than BYOD holdouts. Fifty-eight percent reported a greater ability to bring new products and services to market, and 54 percent said their companies were more likely to report increased profits.

What's more, the survey found that companies were enjoying intangible benefits from embracing consumer tech, including happier workers. Those organizations are 37 percent more likely to report improved employee satisfaction, according to the report, as well as "a greater emphasis on creativity and greater ability to solve problems."

As to how employees are using their consumer devices for work, 54 percent of respondents said most of their employees use smartphones for basic work tasks such as checking email, reading online documents, and managing schedules. Forty-two percent said most of their employees use smartphones for advanced purposes such as CRM, project management, content creation, and data analysis. Meanwhile, 33 percent said that the majority of their employees use tablets for basic work tasks, the same percentage who said most employees use tablets for advanced purposes.

Although companies are reporting benefits of incorporating smartphones and tablets, they are still playing catch-up with the technology. About 70 percent said they had changed at least one business process in support of emerging mobile tech, such as in IT management, sales and marketing, HR, or customer service. But only 20 percent reported changing four or more business processes. Considering the potential disruption of smartphones and tablets, that number should arguably be higher.

Part of the problem, says Avanade, is disagreement in organizations as to who is responsible for devising new processes in support of BYOD. "Major business change involves many functions and departments, but Avanade's research shows that more than half of respondents (56 percent) believe that IT departments are now responsible for managing elements of the company not traditionally in the job description of IT, such as improving business processes and collaboration across the business," according to the report.

Additionally, 51 percent of respondents said that IT should play a role in creating and supporting consumer tech for business purposes; 28 percent said it was up to HR.

The report also pointed to a noteworthy disconnect between C-level execs' BYOD bullishness and that of employees lower on the corporate totem pole: 71 percent of C-level execs said they believed the rest of their organization could accomplish work tasks outside the office walls, versus 32 percent than the rate of IT staff and business unit leaders who reported the same.

The report said that 61 percent of organizations reported that most of their employees now use personal computing devices in the workplace, and 35 percent of respondents deemed "training for all employees" to better support consumer technologies in the workplace as the top investment priority for 2013 in the next 12 months.

This story, "iPhone and Android in the office yield higher profits, happier employees," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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