For decades now, two IT components have dominated daily business: email and the PC. Although they each present challenges and frustrations, both have shown remarkable resilience against alternatives. But as two recent surveys reveal, office workers’ use of them is evolving. Here’s some food for thought as you look at your own IT.
Out with the Old?
As you plan future IT investments, you should always consider adopting new approaches. Staying with the tried-and-true simply because that’s how you’ve always done it can quickly lead to organizations falling behind current trends and missing productivity gains that competitors reap. But implementing innovative IT comes with risks, too—and not only cost. Human behavior always lags technology; it’s often easier to purchase new tech than get employees to actually adopt it.
Leaders who keep an eye on shifting attitudes and preferences will more likely find the sweet spot that exists between technology, communication norms, and productivity.
In the case of both PCs and email, organizations and individuals increasingly use them for more narrowly defined purposes, limiting the role they play in IT.
The Future of Email
Adobe’s third annual consumer email survey asked more than 1,000 white-collar workers in the U.S. about what’s happening with them and their inboxes. The survey supports Adobe’s email marketing platform, so a good portion of it focuses on brand-related email offers, but there are more general insights as well.
For example, workers are setting more boundaries for when they check email. The survey found that respondents now check their email less, as compared to last year, with fewer checking their email while still in bed, and more now waiting until they get to the office.
- Respondents spent less time checking emails in 2017 compared to 2016 — 40 percent say 1 hour or less per weekday
- Fewer respondents than in 2016 reported preferring to use a smartphone to check work emails
- More respondents checked their emails on computers in 2017
For 52 percent of those surveyed, email remains their primary workplace communication tool, and in terms of what tools are used regularly, email is still on top at 80 percent of responses. However, the preference for face-to-face conversations with colleagues has increased over the past year: 34 percent of respondents now like to chat in person, while still second to email at 36 percent.
Overall, most respondents expect the amount they use work email to remain the same over the next two years, but the proportion of respondents who say their email use is increasing has dropped.
What to consider
- How do these trends reflect emails usage and communications styles in your organization?
- What expectations do managers set for various forms of communication?
- How are weekly email volumes changing — are they rising at a steady rate, beginning to plateau, or even falling?
- What alternative forms of file sharing and messaging could be introduced to reduce email usage?
- How to Use Team Chat Tools to Improve Collaboration
- How to Collaborate on Office 365
- Top Five Office 365 Features To Make Communication And Sharing Easier
The Future of the PC
Will companies continue to invest in PCs or switch gears and spend more on mobile devices? This was the central question behind a survey by Spiceworks of nearly 1,000 IT pros in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom who help influence tech hardware purchase decisions.
In general, it seems that mobile devices will not supplant desktops and laptops anytime soon. IT pros believe mobile devices are more limited than PCs for tasks like inputting data into online forms, or creating, editing, and storing documents. As Spiceworks put it, “until a mobile device allows you to do almost everything you can do on a PC, smartphones and tablets will likely continue to be complementary devices used in conjunction with PCs instead of replacing them.”
However, desktops as a category of PCs might be on their way out. The survey found:
- Over the next year, 24 percent of organizations surveyed plan to increase PC investment, but 17 percent plan a decrease — the largest decrease among all end-user devices.
- Laptops will likely see the most growth among end user devices in the workplace: 43 percent of organizations plan to increase their investments in laptops over the next year
What to consider
- How could mobile devices complement desktop or laptops for specific types of usage?
- How do laptops factor into your IT investment planning?
- What additional security or data backup measures need to be in place for laptops or mobile devices?
- Could alternative types of desktop devices, like thin clients, reduce desktop management?
- How Strategic Is Your IT Plan?
- Real-World Lessons from Adopting a Thin Client IT Environment
- How to Ease IT Management Headaches with Remote Desktop Services
Plan IT Strategically
Investments in new IT devices, servers or communication platforms, requires strategic foresight into how your employees will work, and how you can best enable them to meet your business goals. We can help develop a cost-conscious plan for the future of your IT. Get in touch to have a conversation.