Survey Shows Companies Maximize Revenue and Profit Growth by Allowing Employees to Use the Best Technologies Available
When companies give employees the choice of any technology to get their job done, the company sees a significant boost in efficiency and productivity, according to a new survey from Blue Coat Systems.
In a survey of more than 1,900 business and IT leaders, 84 percent of respondents said that empowering employees resulted in a more efficient environment, Blue Coat said on Wednesday. Giving business units and departments the freedom to make their own decisions about what technology to use or not use was critical, Blue Coat found.
Technology decisions included being allowed to pick their own mobile devices, office applications, cloud storage services, social media apps, and automation tools. Business leaders estimated that empowering employees would increase revenue by 27 percent and profits by 26 percent, Blue Coat found. IT managers were a bit more conservative, but still positive, estimating that revenue would increase by 24 percent and profits by 23 percent.
“Security has traditionally been steeped in fear – of the unknown, of new technology, of loss of control – and that fear has driven a rigidity that stymies growth in the business,” said Greg Clark, Blue Coat’s CEO.
Technology allows businesses to deliver new products and services, improve customer experience and drive greater competitive advantage. However, it is difficult to be nimble and innovative if the employees are constrained by rigid security controls that don’t take into consideration new ways of working, Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist and senior vice president at Blue Coat, said at a customer event on Tuesday.
Traditional security methods make it hard to shift away from company-controlled technology towards a more fluid environment where employees can use their own devices, technology, applications and IT services, Thompson said. About 76 percent of IT managers and 68 percent of business leaders said security is a significant barrier to technology autonomy. IT is still seen as the department that prevents business from getting work done, Thompson said.
“If you make technology painful users will go get something from the consumer space,” Thompson said.
In the survey, 52 percent of business leaders believed IT policies slow innovation while 53 percent believed they slow customer service. Even 54 percent of IT managers agreed that IT policies hamper innovation.
“Users must not mold to technology, but rather technology must mold to the user,” Thompson said.
Companies that view IT as a strategic partner as opposed to a gatekeeper are more likely to be considered a “fast growth” company, Blue Coat found. About 66 percent of the fastest growing companies in the world have used technology to empower their users, Blue Coat said.
About 68 percent of fast growth companies increased profitability by using new technologies. About 77 percent of fast growth companies increased efficiency using new technologies, Thompson said.
“Security must ultimately enable the business, not get in the way,” said Ed Amoroso, CISO of AT&T.
Blue Coat’s new Business Assurance Technology approach is designed to address this gap and help organizations give employees, customers, partners, and suppliers the flexibility to choose whatever applications, devices, data sources and technologies they need to successfully complete their jobs, without exposing the organization to unnecessary risk.
“To empower the business, the security model needs to change to one that makes it possible for employees to individually optimize on the technologies that best allow them to perform their jobs,” Clark said.