The lines at the Apple Store the day of a launch prove it: first-adopters are hardcore. And others who share the thirst for being ahead of the tech curve don’t understand why they’re buying and using new tech but their employer isn’t. A surprising 36% of the 1,000 workers polled in a new survey by Zensar said they very often adopt new technology before their company purchases it.

Keeping up on the latest in tech is an excellent practice, but demonstrate caution when actually bringing it into the office. If an employee brings new tech without the company IT department’s approval or knowledge, it can put the company at risk. Zensar’s Living Digital survey warns that shadow IT is a business reality, and is omnipresent. Shadow IT, also called stealth IT, or client IT refers to when that tech is used in- house, but without explicit official approval.

SEE: BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Whether the powers-that-be are overly cautious, or the process of bringing new tech into the office is administratively arduous, the most eager and tech savvy of employees dub their companies laggards when it comes to adopting new tech.

And when the company is finally ready to bring in that tech, it’s done either “very slowly” or “somewhat slowly,” according to 16% of white-and gold-collar workers; the latter refers to multi-disciplinarians, which are highly skilled workers who can boast white-collar intellectual labor with the manual labor of conventionally blue-collar positions.

The polled employees want their companies to adopt new tech ASAP, and 45.2% saying it should be “before anyone else does,” while 45.8% said “at the same time as everyone else,” and only 8.9% said “after everyone else has tested it.”

Despite this, 88% said, yes, they have the digital tools to succeed, while only 12% felt they did not. The reasons why they might feel they don’t have all those digital tools range from “my company is too concerned with incremental expenses to invest in new tech” (43.8%, the most popular response) to “my company has a wait-and-see approach to new tech” (31.4%) to “my CIO/CTO is slow to adopt new tech” (22.3%), to “my boss does not know what technological needs I have” (12.4%). The final two categories were “they haven’t been developed yet” (9.9%), and “other” (14.9%).

A very large percentage of those surveyed said it is critical they have the digital tools they need to succeed at work to feel motivated (87%), loyal (88%), and important (87%).

The majority (85.8%) of those polled describe themselves as white-collar workers, “a professional typically referring to general office workers and management,” e.g. teachers and sales reps; and 14.2% say they are gold-collar workers, which can be lawyers, doctors, engineers, corporate executives and the like.

Nearly half of employees are aware of their company’s digital transformation (48%), but another 37.6% said they do not know, and another 14.4% couldn’t say, and responded “I don’t know.”

Of the polled, 31.7% work for companies with 1,000 or more employees (enterprise), 33.3% for companies with 100 to 999 employees (medium-sized businesses), 21.1% for companies with 10 to 99 employees (small businesses), and 13.9% with 10 or less than employees (micro).

Those surveyed fall into the following age groups:

  • 25- to 34-year olds: 24.9%
  • 45- to 54-year olds: 22.5%
  • 35- to 44-year olds: 20.8%
  • 18- to 24-year olds: 14.2%
  • 55- to 64-year olds: 9.4%
  • 65- to 74-year olds: 7.3%
  • 75-years-of-age or older: 1%

Of the 1,000 polled, 50.5% surveyed were men, and 47.7% were female, and a large group of them (76.7%) work a full-time (40-hours) job, with 13.6% working less than 40-hours-per-week, 7% self-employed full-time, and, finally, 2.7% were self-employed part-time. Industries were vast and varied, and the largest percentage (29%) were “all others” (meaning careers not in accounting/finance/banking (12%), administration/clerical/reception (4%), construction (3%), customer service (4.3%), education (10.9%), healthcare (physical and mental) (9.7%), sales (7.8%), and science/technology/programming (8.8%). Yet another category was “others” (9.9%).

“It makes me feel included” noted 84.1% of how their current selection of digital tools make them feel, with only 15.9% responding “it makes me feel lonely.”

When asked if they “feel that technology has enabled your personal life to be better, more organized, and more productive, 67.6% said “yes, very much so,” with 27.9% said “somewhat,” 3.2% said “not very much,” and 1.3% ventured to respond “not at all.”

People have a lot of faith in companies, that the company’s digital transformation with be empowering, with positive outcomes.

If an employee brings new tech without the company IT department’s approval or knowledge, it can put the company at risk. Zensar’s Living Digital survey warns that shadow IT is a business reality and is omnipresent.
Image: iStockphoto/IndypendenZ