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Interview: Adopting consumer IT in the enterprise

T.C. Seow | Jan. 23, 2013
IT-savvy employees are ruling the enterprise with their own devices. Is this trend a boon or bane? What things must be done right to embrace this trend? CIO Asia talked to Yaj Mallik, Area Vice President (ASEAN) of Citrix on what issues enterprises need to be addressing in the era of BYOD and consumerisation of IT.

IT-savvy employees are ruling the enterprise with their own devices. Is this trend a boon or bane? What things must be done right to embrace this trend? CIO Asia talked to Yaj Malik, Area Vice President (ASEAN) of Citrix on what issues enterprises need to be addressing in the era of BYOD and consumerisation of IT.

Yaj Malik, Area Vice President, ASEAN, Citrix
Photo: Yaj Malik

CIO Asia: How is mobility affecting the modern workforce?
Yaj Malik: The workplace is undergoing a fundamental transformation, driven in part by innovation in consumer technology. The consumerisation of IT trend is driving rapid changes in business and IT, bringing in smartphones, tablets and other devices into the workplace. According to Citrix's Workplace of the Future survey, the typical employee in Asia Pacific connects on average four personal devices to the corporate IT network each day.
Where previously, IT would respond by banning the use of personal devices in the workplace, today they are accepting that consumerisation of IT is here to stay, and that workplace mobility can contribute to increased productivity and performance. According to the Citrix Workplace of the Future survey, 71 percent of organisations in Asia Pacific plan to adopt mobile workstyles by 2014.

What do CIOs need to do to effectively manage the consumerisation of IT in the workplace?
Younger workers, sometimes known as "digital natives", for whom technology has always been a natural and intuitive part of daily life, are reshaping enterprise IT. Unlike previous generations who learned about technology primarily through the workplace, today's employees enter the workforce already primed by consumer technology—from digital media to web applications to cloud computing—and commonly own and use consumer products at least as sophisticated as the tools they're provided at work.
These users will be a powerful agent for IT transformation, increasing agility and flexibility while helping the enterprise make effective use of emerging technologies. Instead of passively receiving tools and instruction from CIOs, employees are now likely to have their own ideas about the potential business value of the latest technologies. CIOs should thus think about harnessing this interest and knowledge from employees and putting it to work. Best practices include:

1. Increase IT transparency
While CIOs will always have final say in matters such as vendor selection, budget priorities, and governance policies, employees should have a seat at the table to discuss the decisions that will affect their daily work. CIOs should publish its long-term strategy as well as timely project information on internal web sites. Feedback mechanisms and communications channels such as surveys, internal advisory communities and enterprise social media groups create an ongoing dialogue that fosters and validates user engagement while capturing valuable insight for CIOs. By viewing employees as partners—not merely recipients, CIOs can set a more collaborative tone that encourages useful input, facilitates change management and earns crucial credibility and user buy-in for their priorities.

 

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