BUSINESS BYTES

Digital dependents rip up the workplace rulebook

  • Posted 2 years ago
  • 2 min read

First there were digital immigrants. Then came digital natives.  Thanks to the exponential growth of digital technology, a generation of people has emerged with much greater expectations than ever before, demanding a consistent experience across the many different devices they own. Now is the era of digital dependents.

Smart businesses are capitalising on this new breed of worker who lives and breathes technology. Their inherent understanding of digital tools and techniques is seen as a help rather than a hindrance. It’s even leading to a fundamental shift in the way that IT decisions are being made. 

Traditionally, IT decision making was the responsibility of CIOs and IT directors, with IT managers communicating the news to the rest of the organisation. However, change is now starting to be driven from the bottom up, by employees. 

Office workers are becoming a lot more proactive and demanding when it comes to their technology in the workplace. It’s understandable as they use it every day and need the right tools to manage the increasing amount of information they are expected to process. 

However, an alarming 25 per cent of organisations have admitted to their employees using ‘unofficial’ cloud computing and information sharing tools to cope with that challenge. The issue is that companies don’t necessarily provide employees with the right solutions, which means they look to find them independently. 

This is a dangerous trend for IT managers who need to stay in control of a business’ technology, infrastructure and information, as it makes it difficult to monitor employees’ usage and ensure that the technology does not put data or corporate security at risk. To manage this, IT decision makers can create systems that make the responsibilities of both parties clear. It can be as simple as educating workers and producing a guide on the risks of sharing and accessing information remotely or creating a policy on BYOD.

Employers can also address the issue of unapproved technology at the start of the buying cycle. Instead of dismissing employees’ requests, IT directors need to speak openly with them to understand their needs and match the right technology. The consequences of getting this dialogue wrong can ultimately impact the bottom line if frustrations hit boiling point.

Employers and decision makers must learn to adapt to this change. Businesses that prioritise formal IT strategies to harness the initiatives of their workers whilst keeping their data secure will gain a competitive edge. The outcome will be a more engaged user base and more agile and productive workforce.