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The consumerisation of technology is revolutionising the world of
work. This was the view from prominent industry experts from Cisco
Systems and CCS Insight speaking at the Work +TECHNOLOGY event jointly
hosted by Olswang LLP and Lloyds Bank.
Trevor Williams, Chief Economist at Lloyds Bank, opened the debate with
an overview of the macro-economic landscape, explaining the “huge
economic effect” technology and media are having and that they “play a
fundamental part in the fast growth of the world economy”. He
highlighted that Media and Telecommunications services are forecast to
be two of the Top 10 growth sectors for the UK at 5.5% and 2.0%
respectively during 2012. He went on to explain the importance of
technology in creating efficient economies as they allow the diffusion
of knowledge at reduced costs to businesses and users alike.
Additionally, the fast growth of developing economies and expansion of
the worldwide middle classes have also resulted in an increased demand
for connected devices.
Olswang LLP Partner, Anthony Waller also spoke of a “revolution in
business” being driven by the ever increasing use of consumer technology
in the workplace, “In a very short space of time these devices have
become an essential part of what we do whether we are at home or at
work. Today, being able to use a consumer device at work has become a
board-level issue but this dramatic shift in the use of technology
brings with it significant challenges that cannot be ignored. Companies
now need to establish clear policies and guidelines to address the
impact these devices are having on the business environment”.
Consumer demand for BYOD is challenging businesses, but also represents
an opportunity for certain industries. Martin Garner, Senior Vice
President at CCS Insight said, “Smartphones and tablets are both mega
trends that are encouraging the most consumerisation in enterprise”.
Worldwide shipments of smartphones in 2011 reached 488m and phone
shipments reached 1,800m. Additionally, many organisations have begun to
use tablets as a device of choice in their everyday operations
including doctors, waiters and engineers.
There are challenges to this too, particularly in terms of data
consumption by users on mobile which has seen a 60% year-on-year growth
of mobile data users and a 300% growth in traffic by smartphone users in
2011. This growth has led to networks being “criticised for not
investing enough to support basic communications even in some heavily
populated areas” and one anticipated effect of 4G on usage being “that
people will just use more data”. While Martin saw 4G as part of the
solution to data capacity issues, he noted the need for investment and
time to build the network fully; “it won’t be an instant fix”.
Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK & Ireland, also highlighted the demand
for user access and spoke of the need for “technology delivery to match
the technology expectation”. He added that the “mobility model” of users
wanting to access their office networks ‘on the go’ has been “rapidly
changing in recent times”. Now, more than ever, people expect to use
their devices and mobiles to connect effortlessly to corporate networks
which is why he views technology as being “key to the success of today’s
organisations. Businesses that don’t view IT as a boardroom priority
run the risk of being labelled laggards in this dynamic environment and
losing competitive advantage in talent attraction”.
The experts concluded that organisations need to understand the
cultural, security, reputational and policy aspects of BYOD models. If
enterprises and boards manage the growing consumerisation of technology
effectively the ramifications for productivity, growth and market pull
could be significant.
This is Lloyds Bank’s second annual, TMT-focused, thought leadership
event. The aim of these events is to bring sector players together to
meet and explore relevant issues. Lloyds Bank’s TMT team are dedicated
to the needs of the sector and support TMT businesses through their deep
understanding of the issues.