Love it or hate it, consumerization of IT is here to stay

Today’s workplace is changing as technology becomes more integrated with our daily tasks. Employees are increasingly taking their favorite applications and mobile devices to the office in order to get work done; take, for example, Gmail, Dropbox, Blackberry or Skype. Because of this we’re seeing new tech strategies emerge in the workplace as the consumer devices we love at home are used more regularly in a professional setting. IT departments are now grappling to deal with this trend since it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

When we first heard about the consumerization trend and emerging Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies, employers were pushing back against them. IT departments initially created strict policies surrounding personal devices, but that has quickly changed. IT industry leaders are now seeing that the BYOD trend is not only the smarter option, but also an inevitable one. IT departments are adapting. They’re embracing the wave of consumerization, and the results are exciting for executives and entry-level employees alike.

For employees it’s simple; they get to use the device they have chosen and invested in themselves—instead of what was chosen by IT. Their beloved iPhone or Android gets to come to work with them, making work more accessible and easy to manage. They can check their email on the go, or take video calls outside the office, without lugging around a secondary device. When 83% of employees in the workplace « considered their mobile device more important than their morning cup of coffee », BYOD is one way to keep employees happy.

For employers, it’s a bit more complicated, but many smart businesses are warming up to BYOD because it has some appealing benefits. When employees are comfortable with a device, they don’t tend to get bogged down with technical issues or lofty software. Consumer devices also have cutting-edge features that keep devices running with auto-updates or push notifications. Most fixes only require an update from the app store and not a visit to IT. By moving away from dedicated devices, and shifting ownership to the employee, businesses have the opportunity to lower the IT costs and increase employee productivity. The benefits outweigh the risks for many businesses, making BYOD a smart solution for any company seeking to keep up with mobile trends without eating the cost.

One way to illustrate the growing trend of consumerization, and its success, is to take a look at the evolution of barcode scanning software and devices. If we were to take a trip back in time, we may be surprised to see that the dedicated barcode scanners of the past look almost identical to those used today. They’re bulky, expensive and riddled with complex user interfaces and software most employees aren’t familiar with. Advances in mobile devices allow software-based scanners to meet, and sometimes exceed, the performance of dedicated devices. These solutions work with personal devices that employees already use and love. Providing a friendly user experience at low cost to employers. What was once an obstacle for mobile barcode scanning has become its advantage. With it, we see this technology disrupting the market space and creating viable alternatives for many businesses looking to embrace mobility and take advantage of the growing BYOD trend.

Love it or hate it, consumerization of IT is here to stay. With an estimated 70% of professionals conducting work on personal devices by 2018, we expect the BYOD model to become a more integral part of the workplace. So, what will your IT department do with the wave of consumerization? Our advice is to embrace it.