The payoff enterprises expect when they indulge their employees’ tech preferences

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Prior to the influx of smartphones, tablets, and other consumer devices into the workplace, enterprise IT and business leaders made top-down decisions regarding which technologies would be used by employees — who typically had little or no input — to do their jobs.

Consumerization rendered that approach as obsolete as a pager. Enterprises today must first take into account the needs of users before making technology development and deployment decisions. Failure to do so can result in users ignoring or under-utilizing a technology. Worse, employees may go rogue and use their own devices, storage solutions, and other tools without informing IT, creating potential security vulnerabilities.

But enterprises aren’t indulging the technology preferences of employees simply to keep them happy, although that (along with the need to attract talent) definitely is a major factor. Rather, business decision-makers are looking for a return on their investment that is reflected in the bottom line, concludes a new report from research and advisory firm Information Services Group (ISG).

“With growing support for BYOD and a greater focus on improving user experience, enterprises are reexamining how they can empower employees via technology to increase produc­tivity and improve collaboration,” ISG said.

Mobile clearly is the most useful technology in this regard, providing employees with flexibility to work from anywhere and at any time. While mobility in and of itself improves collaboration because mobile workers are more available, a growing number of collaboration and project management platforms such as Slack, Yammer, and Trello are being used to allow enterprise employees to communicate, brainstorm, and develop new products and services.

The ultimate goal of collaboration is to leverage the abilities of employees in a synergistic way, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Enterprises that are able to use technology to accomplish this will benefit competitively and financially. Conversely, enterprises that fail to provide end users with the tools they need and prefer to both be more productive and collaborate with colleagues will fall behind. It’s all about empowering, not indulging.

RELATED LINKS

What’s the Achilles’ heel of BYOD agreements? Employees

BYOD pays off in productivity — and staff loyalty

Report: Productivity boost proves catalyst for BYOD management

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