An exploding "culture of connectivity" is forcing enterprises around the world to change the way they do business faster than ever before or risk the opportunities of hyperconnectivity passing them by.
A global IDC study sponsored by Nortel found that not only is the speed of technology adoption accelerating, impacting business policy and IT investment, but the global workforce is increasingly expecting employers to provide similar levels of “everywhere, all the time” connectivity.
The IDC study of close to 2 400 people across 17 countries found that 16%t of workers surveyed are already “hyperconnected”, fully embracing a world of multiple devices and intense use of new communications applications.
The hyperconnected worker uses a minimum of seven devices for work and personal access plus at least nine applications like IM, text messaging, web conferencing and social networks.
More significantly, the hyperconnected are closely followed by a large second group of 36% designated as “increasingly connected” who use a minimum of four devices for work and personal access to six or more applications.
As the increasingly connected advance in capabilities, and changing demographics of the workforce are factored in, the study predicts that hyperconnected business users will likely rise to 40% within five years.
“The results of this study send a clear message to today’s business, the hyperconnected workforce is coming and you’d better be ready,” says John Gantz, chief research officer and senior vice president at IDC. “The study found that 16% of the global workforce is hyperconnected today, and will grow to 40% in just a few years.
"This means that the surveyed workforce isn't just migrating towards hyperconnectivity, it is stampeding to it. Businesses that embrace this have an opportunity to increase productivity and ability to compete in the global marketplace.”
John Roese, chief technology officer at Nortel, adds: "For more than a year, Nortel has been emphasising the profound global implications of hyperconnectivity – on the enterprise and its IT strategy. For some, these IDC study findings are a final wake-up call that they risk losing productivity and profitability if they ignore this exploding culture of connectivity.
"For others, it confirms that hyperconnectivity can represent huge opportunities if they choose to embrace this megatrend. These organisations can lead with critical changes to technology and business process that help them thrive as progressive enterprises.”
The study surveyed men and women of various age groups in North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America, who work across various industries and company sizes.
It found the desire for personal connectivity has no national boundaries and that hyperconnectivity is happening today. In fact, the countries with the highest percentage of hyperconnected respondents in the study were China and the US. The country with the highest percentage of increased hyperconnectivity was Russia.
Key findings of the study include:
* 16% of business users are already hyperconnected – The hyperconnected have a much higher adoption of communication devices and applications than those in other clusters, they are reasonably happy with their work/life balance, even though they use almost all devices and applications for both, and are willing to communicate with work on vacation, in restaurants, from bed and even in their place of worship.
* Asia Pacific is leading the way – The largest percentage of hyperconnected are in the Asia Pacific region. And, while hyperconnected workers can be found in all countries, they are higher than average in the US and China, lowest in Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
* Latin America is emerging fast with the largest percentage of hyper /increasingly connected – 64% of the workforce in Latin America is either hyperconnected or increasingly connected, compared to 59% in Asia Pacific, 50% in Europe, and 44% in North America.
* Europe and the Middle East rely heavily on instant and text messaging in business – More than 50% of EMEA respondents – more than twice the number of North American respondents – said they use instant and text messaging for business.
* 40% of business users will be hyperconnected within five years -With an aging workforce retiring, younger employees entering, a current majority of increasingly connected users, 40 % of the workforce may be hyperconnected within next few years.
* Enterprises will compete for talent – As baby boomers retire, corporations will find themselves increasingly competing for talent. Hyperconnected individuals expect to work in a rich communications environment and consider the newer solutions a condition of their employment. They don’t want just anywhere, anytime communications – they demand it “everywhere, all the time".
* Phones are more important than wallets and keys – When asked which item people would take if they had to leave the house for 24 hours more than 38% of global respondents chose their mobile phone over their wallet, keys, laptop and MP3 player. Less than 30% chose their wallet first. In Latin America, more than 50% chose their mobile phone over any other item. The hyperconnecteds preferred their laptops.
* Social network adoption growing in the enterprise – More than one in three people use social networks and online communities such as blogs, wikis, and online forums for business communication – with CALA workers leading the world. Personal postings to social networks and online communities are nearly three times as common as business postings.
* Enterprises struggling with disparate communications – Nearly one in five respondents found it hard to manage multiple disparate sources of communication. Users in the finance and high tech segments are the most dissatisfied with the way their companies manage multiple communications sources. More than 25% said their corporate systems are slow and unreliable.
* Different industries, different stories – Hyperconnectivity varies by industry, from 9% of respondents in healthcare to 25% in high tech and 21% in finance industries.
* Multiple devices are the global norm – 70% of respondents connect to the Internet at home with more than one device. In Asia Pacific that number jumps to 80% . Nearly 80% of 18 to 34 year olds connect to the Internet at home with more than one device.