IT Pros Willing To Buy Their Own Tech

Nearly 75% say they will fund at least part of the cost of job-related hardware -- if they can choose what they use, finds Unisys.

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In a clear indication of just how integral technology is to all aspects of their everyday lives, almost three-quarters of IT workers said they are willing to pick up part of the tab for workflow-related technology -- if they could select it themselves, according to the findings of a new online survey by Unisys.

The survey asked what percentage of the cost of IT tools employees would be willing to fund to perform their jobs if they had the freedom to choose what they could use. Of 141 respondents, nearly one-third (32%) of information worker (iworker) respondents said they would pay the entire cost, 21% said they would pay up to half of the cost, and another 21% said they would pick up 30% of the cost.

The survey also found that 26% of respondents would not pay anything toward the purchase of their technology, stating that their employers are responsible for those costs.

The findings show a significant blurring of the lines between using technology for personal use and for work, said Sam Gross, VP of global IT outsourcing solutions, at Unisys, an IT services and solutions company based in Blue Bell, Pa.

"The consumerization of IT is being driven by iworkers who are the ones going out and voluntarily purchasing equipment with their own dollars for business and personal use,'' said Gross. "It should become very clear to corporations that this is a trend they are not driving but the employees; the iworkers are driving this from the bottom up." As a result, Gross said, corporate IT needs to start figuring out how to deal with the changes rather than resist them.

The variety of devices, form factors, and platforms employees are using to do their work is very wide and very diverse, he said. By introducing consumer technologies into the workplace, iworkers "are going to drive the requirements for corporate IT to understand how to adapt to that new reality."

The online survey, conducted in late July, reinforces the findings of a recent Unisys-sponsored study by research firm IDC, which revealed that an overwhelming 95% of 2,820 iworkers in 10 countries use at least one device at work they purchased themselves, Unisys said.

Although the online survey did not ask what specific types of technologies iworkers would be willing to pay for, Gross said that right now the hot ones appear to be iPads and netbooks, although the devices used are somewhat fluid. "The reality is this is enabled because we now have applications living in the cloud, living on the web, and we no longer have all of these heavyweight applications installed on devices,'' he said.

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