According to Gartner, Inc., IT leaders now
have an unprecedented opportunity to help shape the working environment of a
company due to the rise in the ‘business consumer’. Whilst once business and
consumer technologies tended to be separate, these days people tend to take
work home with them and consumer devices are increasingly encroaching on the workplace.
"Starting with the rise of PCs and the
internet era, users have a greater influence on IT strategy and we are
currently witnessing the rise of what Gartner calls the "business
consumer" — an employee for whom business activities are one part of a
wider lifestyle," said
Matthew Cain , research vice president at Gartner.
"Individuals do not stop being
consumers when they go to work. Business consumers often make more
consumer-like choices in their workplace computing tools and styles to increase
This can make for a more flexible working
environment and enable a better distribution of expertise around the company,
whether that be confined to a single geographic location or several. IT leaders
should focus their efforts on creating a "socially active workplace” which can
easily access knowledge both inside the organisation and externally.
In order to be successful and a true
digital workplace, business consumers can access digital work styles such as
crowdsourcing, social media and job sharing, for example. IT leaders should
harness the "digital literacy of employees” by promoting the sharing of
information and by fostering a more "results-orientated work environment”.
This means that tactics designed to boost
employee engagement should be utilised, as should the encouragement of flexible
working, collaborative work and the increase of information volume and flow
from partners and customers.
"The substantial gap between the
business computing environment and the consumer computing environment is
traditionally explained by reasons such as culture, security and
compliance," said Mr. Cain.
"However, those assumptions must be
re-examined. For many organizations, the partial or wholesale embracing of a
consumer style of computing for business purposes will be beneficial and, in
some cases, transformational. Considering a digital workplace helps
organizations determine if and how rapidly they should embrace consumer-style
Research from the analysts suggests that
the response by organisations to consumerisation is spotty. Whilst there has
been a lot of movement in schemes such as BYOD, these are often in isolation
and do little to impact employee communities.
Mr. Cain goes on to say that it’s
inevitable that business will have "to embrace” consumer trends at some point
and at the moment, most organisations sit somewhere in the middle of two
extremes – those that have already embraced it and those whom it may take up to
a decade to respond to change.
"At a minimum, IT organizations need
to be working with business and human resources leaders to identify workplace
changes that will affect the business, and determine if a response is
warranted," Mr. Cain added.
More information on the research can be
found in the report Create a Digital Workplace to Respond
to Critical Changes in the Workforce . Analysts will also discuss the
findings further at an upcoming summit taking place in London on September 15 –
16: Gartner Portals, Content &
Collaboration Summit 2014 .