Technology Empowered Users Produce Better Business Outcomes: Survey

According to a survey of more than 1,900 business and IT leaders, written by the Economist Intelligence Unit and conducted by Vanson Bourne, 84 percent of business and IT leaders worldwide agree that empowering employees drives greater efficiency in the business. Business and IT leaders at the fastest growing companies in the world also believe that providing technology choice to employees can increase revenue and profits by more than 35 percent.


Business leaders and independent-minded users are driving a shift away from IT-controlled technology to at-will consumption of the best technology, devices, applications and IT services available in the marketplace. Securing this technology while empowering the business requires a new approach to security that is not just about what IT prevents but also what it makes possible.


“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, CEO at Blue Coat Systems. “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.”


Businesses are trying to harness the power of technology to deliver new products and services, improve customer experience and drive greater competitive advantage, but traditional security methods are too rigid and outdated to match the pace of innovation adoption. According to the survey, 52 percent of business leaders believe IT policies slow innovation while 53 percent believe they slow customer service.


The fastest growing companies in the world understand how to drive greater profitability, efficiency and innovation with technology. Worldwide, 68 percent of the fastest growing companies increased profitability by using new technologies compared to only 39 percent of slow growing companies. Likewise, 66 percent of the fastest growing companies in the world have used technology to empower their users, compared with only 48 percent of slow growing companies.


“CIOs need to be business enablers who can align IT with strategic corporate initiatives,” said Phil Hochmuth, program manager, security at IDC. “When the partnership between IT and business leaders is successful, the organization can innovate and deliver new products and services, reduce costs through greater efficiency and ultimately drive revenue growth.”


CIOs understand they need to embrace technology changes to realize strategic business goals, but they do not have the infrastructure or methods to empower people to safely use these new technologies. Globally, 76 percent of IT leaders believe that security is the biggest obstacle to enabling employees to choose the best technology in the world at-will. 


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