Consumer technologies are making their way into the workplace, and it has become all-but impossible for executives and IT departments to stop the surge.
While consumerization isn’t without its challenges, there are significant benefits to rolling out and supporting such technologies in the enterprise. For example, if B2B businesses want to find and retain top talent – particularly Millennials – they need to face the challenge head-on and have a plan for integrating the right applications.
Gartner sees consumerization as the key to creating a digital workplace, and a must for competitive organizations. The firm calls it “a business strategy to boost employee agility and engagement through a more consumerized work environment.”
While each workplace is unique, successful ones share certain qualities when it comes to their digital initiatives. For example, employees across all departments are encouraged to voice their opinions around technology needs and stay involved throughout the adoption process. These organizations then continue to grow and develop along with employees’ technology preferences, creating an inherently innovative environment.
Here’s what the C-suite and IT leaders of B2B organizations should be on the lookout for as they consider embracing consumerization in their technology stack:
1. User expectations will continue to rise
As consumer-driven technology spreads into the office, employees’ expectations for how they’ll be able to accomplish their work will change. Simplicity and efficiency are essential for time-pressed employees juggling multiple projects. Tools become more intuitive, saving time and streamlining processes.
2. Universal access to information
With employees working from various locations at all times of day and night, enterprises will need to adjust their technologies to address the need for flexible, always-on access. Collaborative workspaces that enable employees to interact with each other in real-time despite location, along with remote access to tools and files through cloud communications technology, are just some of the ingredients essential to giving this new workforce what it needs to thrive.
3. New device and data policies
Employees will demand the ability to do the same things on work devices that they do on personal devices. This leads to both challenges and threats as employees use personal apps and devices at work, including a higher risk of exposing confidential and sensitive information in an unsecured environment.
To manage this risk appropriately, IT departments need to establish Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and sensitive data and information. They’ll need to balance risk management with the freedom of employees to use the devices and apps that keep them productive.
4. A better employee experience
This last point is quite simple – when employees can use the technologies they’ve come to rely on in the consumer space, they have a better work experience. When the enterprise makes information more accessible and provides intuitive tools and processes that are driven by user needs and expectations, employees are happier. While this may sound obvious, a better employee experience is perhaps the most important reason to embrace B2B consumerization. The impact a positive work experience has on output, productivity and innovation are invaluable.
B2B consumerization and the development of a digital workplace are the new reality for enterprises. Those that view these new technologies as an advantage rather than an obstacle will benefit from a more seamless workflow and a more positive employee experience. As productivity and innovation increase they translate into other benefits, such as improved customer experiences and, ultimately, a stronger bottom line – all good reasons to take a closer and more serious look at consumerization in your workplace.