IT Support for Company-Owned Mobile Devices in Australia Has Increased, but Employers Still Lag in Supporting Real Employee Mobility, Unisys Research Finds

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Employers who misunderstand why staff want greater mobility miss opportunity to benefit from high productivity

SYDNEY, 1 November, 2012 – The 2012 Australian "Consumerisation of IT" research into enterprise mobility, commissioned by Unisys and  conducted by Forrester Consulting,1 has found that compared to 2011, IT support for company-owned smartphones and tablets in Australian organisations has nearly doubled, but support for BYO devices has decreased significantly.

The research also revealed that employers perceive that their employees' desire to use mobile tools at work is a preference rather than a requirement. As a result, those organisations are lagging behind in providing the mobile apps that would help their employees be more productive.

Enterprise mobility does not have to be BYO

Seventy-two percent of Australian business and IT decision makers surveyed, predict that tablets will become integral to the way they conduct business and provide services in the future. However, only 39 percent  believe supporting employee-owned devices will be inevitable.

In 2012, 57 percent of Australian employers responding to the survey rate their organisation as providing a high level of support for company-owned mobile devices, up from 32 percent in 2011.  However, the proportion rated as having high levels of support for employee-owned smartphones and tablets fell from 24 percent to 15 percent over the same period.  A key reason for this is the belief by almost half (47 percent) of surveyed employers that BYO devices increase workload on the IT department. 

"The research reveals that there are some fundamental differences between how employees and the IT department view IT support requirements for BYO devices," said Ms Lee Ward, vice president and general manager, IT outsourcing, Unisys Asia Pacific.

According to the survey, 52 percent of IT and business decision-makers believe that employees who encounter trouble with their personally-owned devices are most likely to contact the IT department, whereas 60 percent of employees say they are most likely to troubleshoot the problem themselves and 14 percent say they will ask a friend.

"BYO devices won't necessarily create the strain that IT departments fear. IT management should understand that self-service portals and peer support via wikis and blogs could be acceptable to employees as a means of accessing support," Ms Ward said. 

Support for mobile apps lags behind employee demand

The research also shows that there is a clear disparity in perceptions of why employees use mobile devices and apps for work:  66 percent of surveyed employers believe that employees bring their own devices to work because they use them at home and simply want to use them at work. Only 41 percent of organisations say that employees need the mobile tools but aren't provided with them by their employer. Overall they see their employees' desire to use mobile tools at work is a preference rather than a requirement.

Conversely, employees responding to the survey cite productivity as the driver to for greater mobility in the workplace: 67 percent of iWorkers who use a smartphone for work do so because they can get things done whenever and wherever it is convenient and 60 percent say it is so they can quickly and easily interact with partners and customers. Similarly, 56 percent of employees using tablets for work, do so because the apps help them get their work done more efficiently. 

The majority of employees – 53 percent – responded that the top business benefit of using personally-owned devices and apps for work is that it makes them personally more efficient and productive.

"It seems fair to say that by continuing to view employees' desire to use personally owned devices for work as a preference rather than a necessity,  IT departments and organisations have been slow to respond to employee demand for mobile apps that would enhance their productivity," Ms Ward said.

According to the survey, the most common mobile apps that Australian organisations make available to employees are email/calendar/contact (75 percent of organisations), word processing and spreadsheets (54 percent) and IT help desk (49 percent).  Yet organisations are much less likely to provide mobile apps for productivity and collaboration: only 29 percent provide web conferencing, 37 percent provide team site collaboration tools and 37 percent provide productivity tools.

Only 28 percent of organisations deploy and manage custom developed or third-party mobile appsSo not surprisingly, 42 percent of Australian employees surveyed say they have downloaded unauthorised mobile apps or PC software – BYO apps, in other words.  The most common reason for doing so – given by 63 percent of respondents – is that they need those apps for work purposes and their employer didn't provide an alternative.

About the Research

1Unisys commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct the two global surveys in June 2012. They first polled 2609 employees/iWorkers to evaluate the state of mobile and personal device use and application use in the workplace. The second, separate study surveyed 590 business and IT decision makers from organisations of more than 500 employees with responsibility for purchasing computing devices or applications to support their enterprise. Respondents in both surveys were randomly recruited and screened from international panels, and came from nine countries: United States, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand and United Kingdom.

In Australia, there were 307 iWorker respondents and 79 IT respondents. Ninety percent of the Australian organisations that responded have more than 1,000 employees.  For complete details, including country reports and global findings, visit Unisys' Consumerisation of IT site.

About Unisys

Unisys is a worldwide information technology company. We provide a portfolio of IT services, software, and technology that solves critical problems for clients. We specialise in helping clients secure their operations, increase the efficiency and utilisation of their data centres, enhance support to their end users and constituents, and modernise their enterprise applications. To provide these services and solutions, we bring together offerings and capabilities in outsourcing services, systems integration and consulting services, infrastructure services, maintenance services, and high-end server technology. With approximately 22,500 employees, Unisys serves commercial organisations and government agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit www.unisys.com.

About Unisys Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, Unisys delivers services and solutions through subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan  and through distributors or resellers in other countries in the region.  For more information visit www.unisys.com.au.  Follow us on www.twitter.com/UnisysAPAC.

Unisys is a registered trademark of Unisys Corporation. All other brands and products referenced herein are acknowledged to be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

Contacts Australia :

Claire Hosegood, Unisys, +61 411 253 663
claire.hosegood@au.unisys.com

Victoria Rooney, IMPACT Communications, +61 2 9519 5411
victoria@impactcommunications.com.au