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Employer-supplied tools are no longer the solutions of choice at the workplace; employees are increasingly relying on their own digital tools on the job. This growing trend, commonly known as the “consumerization of IT,” is changing the way people work, and it’s being led by knowledge workers.
Numbering more than 78 million in the United States alone — almost 55 percent of the total employed workforce as of May 2012 — knowledge workers pull information from various sources, and they almost never work alone. Collaboration, both internal and external, drives much of what they do.
According to a March 2012 Harris Interactive survey sponsored by join.me, the instant screen-sharing tool, nearly half of these workers use their own communication tools for work. What’s more, employers are actually embracing the trend. Seventy percent of respondents said their employers strongly encourage or are open to them choosing their own technology, as long as it gets the job done. The phenomenon is as deep as it is widespread: Half of all knowledge workers now use three or more devices for work, and 60 percent of those devices are used for both work and personal purposes.
The Social Business Model
“Employees like being able to choose the technology they use for work,” says Andrew Burton, LogMeIn senior vice president of products. “They are accustomed to using these devices to access their social media networks, which parallels a trend of increased business collaboration via similar platforms. Both trends converge in a third trend, which is remote and mobile work. About two-thirds of the workforce works remotely, at least occasionally.”
Businesses endorse the consumerization of IT because it benefits them. They save money on devices they would otherwise have to purchase for employees and gain access to newer technologies faster. They may end up paying for some bandwidth used by employees for personal purposes, but the savings more than offset the costs.
Personalized Collaboration Anywhere
Collaboration is what the new social business model is all about — connecting people to expertise both inside and outside the company. Social businesses are transparent, nimble, and people centric. They rely on social networks, real-time collaboration, mobility, and integration to create business value. The payoffs are meaningful: deepened customer relationships, greater operational efficiencies, and optimized workforces.
More than 90 percent of knowledge workers collaborate with people at work, and nearly half use their personal technology to do it, according to the join.me survey. While collaboration enables greater speed and efficiency, there are strategic gaps in the ability of these digital tools to maximize their value add. Join.me was created as an easy-to-use tool to address those gaps.
Ad hoc collaboration among employees within an enterprise is the most common but underserved opportunity for Web conferencing tools; 29 percent of employees work on teams with members in different locations, according to Forrester Research. Partner collaboration — employees working with counterparts at external organizations — is a similarly underserved opportunity. Join.me makes it easy to collaborate with a tool that’s as simple as click and share.
“Social business, with its user-centric, self-organizing, self-directing model, is displacing the old top-down model across the business landscape,” Burton says. “Its advantages are inherently obvious in small businesses, and it is a people-driven development in midsize and larger companies. But smart businesses of all sizes are not just tolerating the social business model, they’re embracing it.”
Join.me, powered by LogMeIn, is a simple screen-sharing tool that makes sharing ideas faster and easier than ever.
Unlike traditional meeting and collaboration tools, join.me lets you instantly share your screen with anyone, so it’s great for ad hoc meetings, on-the-fly training, quick demos, presentations, or any time you need to get down to business fast.
Join.me is available for free, or as a pro version, with premium features that make get-togethers even easier from anywhere. To try join.me, just go to https://join.me/ and click on the orange “share” button. You’ll be given a code that lets you share your screen with anyone, anywhere. It’s fast and easy, and there are no downloads required for viewers.