The enterprise must embrace the consumerisation of IT and social interaction tools in order to attract the next generation of workers, according to AGL head of service management, Glenn Page.
Addressing this year’s CIO Summit in Melbourne, Page said CIOs could no longer discount consumer devices in the enterprise and the benefits that social media tools could bring to the business.
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“It’s not a fad anymore — it’s a reality, this is the world we live in, the world our children grow up in and the world that our future employees are growing up in as we speak, so how do we engage them in this world?” Page said.
“BYO computing is gathering pace inside companies as they realise now … there are some cost benefits to be made by utilising BYOT,” he said. “There’s hardware savings, there’s also the enhanced engagement of our employees and workers as they get to choose devices they connect with in their day-to-day life and there’s also the reduction in ongoing support costs as staff use devices they’re familiar with.”
According to Page, some 95 per cent of employees use some form of personal device at work, with the boundary between work and employees’ personal lives increasingly blurred.
“It’s not just technology that’s changing; it’s people and society itself that’s changing alongside this new online world and how they interact with people and it’s in this context that our new employees are entering the workforce today.
“They expect instant communication and access to all sorts of applications to help them live their personal life as well as be utilised in their work life.”
The challenge for IT departments, Page said, is to provide the end user with services and support over these devices.
At AGL, Page has put in place a strategy to ensure the company takes full advantage of BYOT. The company has kicked of a pilot of Microsoft’s Office 365, using just the Exchange component, rolling it out to 50 people in order to assess the benefits it brings to the organisation before rolling it out across the entire company.
The company is slightly behind, Page said, as it has only just begun to implement a secure wireless technology which, along with Exchange, will improve AGL’s ability to have a BYO device policy.
“We recognise internally the benefits behind BYO device, including stopping the need to continually upgrade our end user computing devices, getting better engagement through the simplicity of letting staff utilise devices they’re familiar with and are comfortable with utilising,” Page said.
The company also flagged plans to open its own Android app store, using SAP applications, which will enable staff to log on to request annual leave or lodge sick leave from the doctor’s surgery.
“These applications are evolving and then we’ll look at the next evolution of developing our own internal apps if we think they’re the right way to go.”
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“We’re also in the process of building and deploying our online IT shop front, like the Amazon.com experience, and we’re utilising ServiceNow to do that.”
Page said that only 30 per cent of IT departments believe consumer technology is an important acquisition and retention tool for new employees.
“IT departments need to recognise the 'new normal'. We have think through the ways consumerisation changes the expectation of our IT department and how that then changes how our business interacts with their customers.”
“Forty three per cent of people use social media to review purchasing decisions now; it is becoming the preferred channel for people to decide whether they want to purchase something or not,” he said. “It is the peer review, not some advertising agency telling them what they should or shouldn’t buy that they’re going to believe.”
In the context of this 'new normal' security should be invested in heavily, Page said, with encryption needed to protect companies’ intellectual data, as well as authentication and malware protection and remote wiping capabilities for lost and stolen devices.
“The bottom line is: We need to embrace consumerisation whether we like it or not, it’s here, our new generation of workers have embraced it and they expect it.
“Let’s not be scared of smartphones or iPads or whatever comes next, let’s work out how we can implement them into the organisation to drive business benefit and productivity for our user base.”