Gartner predicts that by 2018, 28% of large organizations will have an explicit strategy to make their corporate computing environment similar to the consumer computing experience associated with everyday applications. And with 72% of professionals already using consumer file sharing applications for work, without authorization from IT, it’s about time safe alternatives for business were provided.

After reading Gartner’s 2014 predictions report, which details how they expect consumerization to impact enterprises’ social and collaboration strategies, I saw striking similarities to what we have also found in our own research on mobility and the changing culture of the workplace. IT departments must act when it comes to setting enterprise-wide policies over employee-owned devices, as mobile technologies will continue to expand. As more people use personal devices for work courtesy of the BYOD trend, lines between personal lives and work are blurring. Professionals will progressively use the devices and file sharing applications they use in their private lives for work, and this poses significant risks. 

Personal vs Enterprise

Gartner’s advice is to “balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.” The applications provided by work must be secure yet simple and easy to use, otherwise employees will simply find their own. I mean, we use applications that are simple and engaging in our personal lives, so why should we expect anything less from our enterprise equivalents?

In light of the blurring of personal and private, the culture of the workplace will change dramatically. In 2014, we will see a definitive shift towards employees themselves becoming the primary decision makers when it comes to technology adoption, and these decisions will then be fed back up to IT. Prompted by this, IT organizations will be driven to implement secure file sharing and collaboration applications built for businesses, which are as easily adopted by employees as their consumer counterparts. This is all ultimately to support collaboration, mitigate risk and embrace the new mobile workplace for 2014 and beyond. Companies that embrace mobility and adopt intuitive and secure alternative applications will start to see the value of having a highly mobile workforce in 2014, as the benefits such as increased productivity and engagement become visible.

Barrie Hadfield