Dresser & Associates

Consumerization of IT – An HR Roundtable

In a world where some of the more innovative technologies are evolving at the consumer level before trickling up to the enterprise, it comes as no surprise that even entry-level employees have access to powerful tools, applications and networks in their personal lives. What is surprising many organizations is how these same technologies have begun infiltrating the workplace. For human resources professionals, the effects are hard to miss. From employee and manager self-service portals to the growing number of social media elements in performance and learning management, the technology employees expect to find in the workplace is changing.

But how will this shift–the consumerization of IT–impact the way an organization recruits, engages and manages its workforce? What opportunities and challenges does it present to human resources?

I’ve invited a few industry thought leaders to weigh in.

Bob Calamai, Director of HRM & Development at NYU/SCPS

Brandy Fulton, Vice President of HR Operations at Citrix Systems, Inc

Kevin W. Grossman, Chief Strategy Officer at HRMarketer.com

According to a survey conducted by Avanade, 73% of executives consider the consumerization of IT a top priority, and 79% will make new investments in embracing this trend in 2012. What factors are driving this?

Grossman: It’s all about improving efficiencies, reducing redundancies and increasing productivity and revenue. For example, lowering annual equipment expenditures by offering allowances for employees to buy their own devices for both business and personal use. Also providing self-service access to all sorts of internal systems for both employees and managers can make for a more adaptable organization regardless of size. IT itself has struggled with this loss of gatekeeper control, but the sound fiscal results are changing the hearts and minds of the C-suite.

There’s a widely-held view that access to consumer technology (social media, the Internet, mobile apps) will offer too many distractions, and negatively impact productivity. Do you agree or disagree?

Calamai: Though I sometimes share the concerns of my baby boomer cohorts, I’m convinced that those who use and embrace these technologies are equally adept at both determining what’s useful in the workplace, and—as importantly—can navigate between personal and professional use. I don’t think we give the Millennials enough credit for that ability to navigate. They’re not waiting for boards to regulate social networking. They’re using common sense and good business sense to do that—which is pretty encouraging.

Where is the greatest opportunity for Human Resources to embrace the consumerization of IT in their organization? Recruiting? Learning and development? Performance management?

Fulton: We need to make sure that the systems we use to drive recruiting and attraction, talent management and performance management are stepping forward into the modern era. It’s not that they have to look cool. More importantly, if people are able to do talent management tasks in a simple and elegant way, it saves them time and keeps the focus and the substance of the conversation where it should be–on employees relating to each other.

About the Author: Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice—an online resource for software buyers guides and more. For the full roundtable discussion, find the original post on his blog: http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/hr/expert-roundtable-consumerization-of-it-a-call-to-arms-for-hr-1030712/

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