Sam Gross, Vice President of Global IT Outsourcing Solutions, Unisys Corporation
When addressing an audience, I usually ask the question, “Does the technology you use in your personal life help you to be more productive at work, compared to the technology your company provides?” A majority of hands are raised in favor of using personal technologies such as smart phones, iPhones, Netbooks or feature-rich laptops in the workplace. The number of raised hands continues to increase at a rapid pace each time I ask the question.
In the last decade, we’ve witnessed many changes within the enterprise IT organization, and some of these changes have slipped by with little notice. The workforce is no longer dominated only by “baby boomers.” Well represented in today’s workforce are Generation X (Gen X) employees, the generation born between 1961 and 1980, and the newest entrants into the workforce, millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000. At the same time, corporate America has liberated millions of employees from the confines of the office cubicle, and Egghead Software has yielded the crown of geekdom to consumerization, Best Buy, and a technologically literate population that extends all the way from IT to your “average Joe” and his 12 year-old child.
Perhaps the most radical transformation sweeping the technology landscape and enterprise IT is the consumerization of IT. Employee expectations of technology have changed over the years, depending on their generation. Baby boomers that witnessed the gradual and incremental introduction of technology into the workplace – such as the PC, Windows, LAN and WAN, the Internet, cell phones, wireless, the Blackberry, Smart phones, the iPhone and the App Store – have a more traditional expectation of enterprise IT support, including the help desk, the on-site technician, multi-year cyclical technology refreshes, and applications pushed to the user. Gen Xers entered the workforce during the Internet bubble when anything was possible, everything was online and, most important, instant gratification always seemed achievable. Millennials have grown up amidst consumer technology, playing with toys containing embedded computer chips. As they now enter the workforce, they require and expect anytime, anywhere access to information, for both personal and business use. Social media Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, have emerged as the new mission-critical applications, almost displacing SAP, Oracle and the corporate home page.
Are enterprises prepared for this tectonic shift in technology delivery and support? Although there is a basic level of understanding about employee expectations and their need to have access to consumer technologies – particularly for mobile workers – most enterprises continue to embrace a traditional approach to provisioning, support and security.
It’s no surprise that a recently conducted Unisys poll found that a majority of the 500 respondents say they’d prefer to use their personal computers or hosted virtual desktops to access information resources. Inexpensive and effortless access to end-user and communication technology is empowering the mobile/virtual employee like never before. With the introduction of cloud computing, an element of flexibility has been introduced in the delivery of technology services, while the cost of the service has been drastically reduced. With the emergence of small offices, home offices, and mobility solutions, the delivery of technology support to this workforce is redefining traditionally accepted tenets within the enterprise. Every day, new technologies are emerging in this space that enable innovative new models.
Enterprises must evaluate how to give employees access to business technology that helps them do their jobs on a day-to-day basis while containing costs and ensuring the appropriate level of end-user support and security. Unisys End-User Outsourcing and Support Services solutions such as End-User Productivity Services can help address the challenges associated with supporting the multi-generational mix of enterprise workers. End-User Productivity Services enable reliable anytime, anywhere, any device access to the applications and data that end users need to get the job done by leveraging web-based tools, rules-based workflows, and best practices for "last mile" services and on-site support. The Unisys approach is modeled to provide the technology and support preferences of all three generations of workers: baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials. The end result is higher productivity, improved satisfaction levels and lower costs.
End user involvement in enterprise IT is here to stay; there’s no turning back. With these new styles of technology consumption, organizations will be encouraged to leave behind their traditional approach to technology delivery and adopt new governance and acquisition models. As we look to the future, it’s no longer about the enterprise IT one-size-fits-all approach; it’s about empowering end-user productivity.