IDC recently conducted a survey of IT consumerization trends on behalf Unisys. The survey found that consumerization is well underway – among the findings is the fact that 95% of the workers who responded have used technology they purchased themselves for work. However, there is a disconnect between employees and employers about how consumer technologies are used in the enterprise.

There were 2,820 information worker respondents from ten different countries and 610 employer respondents (C-level executives, vice presidents, director-level IT personnel, and business-unit level executives) from the same countries. You can read a summary of the findings here.

Findings from the study:

  • Employers don’t seem to know how many or what consumer technologies are in use in their workplace. Workers report using consumer devices at twice the rate employers reported.
  • Workers are dissatisfied with the level of support IT provides for consumer technologies.
  • Employees think their employers are more permissive of the use of consumer technologies than the employers actually are. Most workers, 67%, say they can access non-work-related websites, but only 44% of employers say their employees can access non-work-related sites. Meanwhile, 52% of workers say that can store personal data on the company network, but only 37% of employers say this is the case.
  • Although employers want to increase the business use of social networking in the next year, few are integrating those technologies into existing enterprise applications.
  • Many organizations (40%) lack guidelines for social media use in the workplace.
  • Even though 95% of employees use self-purchased technologies for work, 70% employers want to buy standardized technologies for them. Also, 57% employers said they were unlikely to start a stipend program to pay for employee purchases within the next two years.
  • Tech savvy workers want to work for tech-savvy employers, but only about 1/3 of employers recognize this.

Unisys believes the consumerization of IT is leading to a “fourth wave” of corporate productivity. The waves, according to Unisys, are:

  • First wave – Henry Ford’s invention of the assembly line.
  • Second wave – The Japanese model of Kaizen – continuous, incremental improvements in process.
  • Third wave – The Chinese model of mass production, low prices and global domination.
  • Fourth wave – Bottom up productivity enabled by constantly connected workers.

According to the Unisys, the results of the survey prove that workers want to use the devices and technologies they are comfortable with, but have little understanding of “the security risks, management issues, and policy and governance implications that arise from mass introduction of consumer devices and applications into the workplace.”

Meanwhile, IT is stuck in a top-down command and control paradigm.

Unisys recommends IT departments prioritize the following initiatives:

  • Managing and supporting consumer devices.

  • Securing data from criminals, malware and other threats.

  • Offering the sort of technology experience users have come to expect from consumer technologies.

  • Handling a four-fold increase in transaction load that is expected to come with the introduction of new devices and applications.

  • Attracting and retaining the younger generation of workers.