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Consumer technology is changing business: study

Canadian companies are not only embracing consumer technologies, they're enabling them.


TORONTO—The widespread use of consumer technologies is changing the landscape of doing business and the results companies can achieve, according to the results of a global survey of more than 600 C-level executives by technology and services firm Avanade.

Traditionally,technology use at work has been dictated by business requirements. Executives authorized technology purchases based on corporate needs and objectives. New regulations led to email archiving systems and bigger customer rosters led to centralized customer relationship management (CRM) systems. More recently, this dynamic has shifted from enterprise-driven to employee-driven technologies, especially in the area of mobile devices and consumer technologies.

Rather than shut out mobile and consumer technologies, the survey shows companies are not only embracing these technologies in the workplace, they’re enabling them.

The study found that:

  • 54% of Canadian companies (61% globally) say the majority of their employees now use personal computing devices in the workplace.
  • 46% of Canadian companies (54% globally) report the majority of their employees use smartphones for basic work tasks such as reading email, online documents and calendar invitations.
  • 31% of Canadian companies (33% globally) say a significant portion of their workforce uses tablets for business tasks.
  • 31% (33% globally) suggest the majority of their employees are using tablets for advanced business purposes such as CRM, project management, content creation and data analysis.

Progressive companies are  also redesigning how work gets done, building entirely new business processes around these trends. According to Avanade’s research:

  • 69% of Canadian companies (71% globally) surveyed have changed at least one business process, including processes in IT management, sales and marketing, HR and customer services, to accommodate emerging work trends including the use of mobile and consumer technologies.
  • 42% of Canadian companies (20% globally) have changed 4 or more business processes to capitalize on the rise of mobility and consumer technologies at work.

These same progressive companies are seeing measurable impact and positive results on profitability, product development and employee satisfaction.

  • Companies are deriving greater value from collaboration technologies. They are 73% more likely to report improved sales and new customer acquisition using collaboration tools than other companies.
  • Companies that have adopted emerging mobile and consumer technologies are 54% more likely to report increased profits than businesses not leveraging these technologies, policies and processes.
  • Similarly, those same companies are 58% more likely to report improvement in bringing products and services to market.
  • These companies are 37% more likely to report improved employee satisfaction, a greater emphasis on creativity, and greater ability to solve problems.

“Mobile and consumer technologies are becoming predominant in the workplace and are driving the transformation of how work and business is done. Business and IT executives are not only embracing these technologies, they’re enabling them and achieving measurable results including increased employee morale, enabling new product development and driving profitability,” says Benoit Bertrand, vice-president of Avanade Canada.

There’s also a significant gap in views between business leaders and IT regarding the role of mobile and consumer technologies in the enterprise. The disconnect between C-level executives and their IT staff may be the biggest factor limiting more widespread redesign of business processes enabled by mobile and consumer technologies. Security is often a chief concern with new technology adoption.

  • 71% of C-level executives believed the rest of the company could accomplish work tasks outside of the office walls, while 39% higher than the rate of IT staff and business unit leaders who reported the same.
  • IT decision makers are focused on minimizing potential risks (55%) with personal computing technologies at work.
  • The C-suite’s primary concern is capitalizing on the potential benefits (56%) these employee-owned devices can bring to the enterprise.

Avanade, which is majority owned by Accenture,was founded in 2000 and provides business technology solutions. It has more than 17,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.