The survey of 200 CIOs and senior IT decision makers reveals that cost (48%), security and compliance concerns (47%), and legacy technology (44%) are the biggest barrier towards creating the agile workspaces that today’s organisations strive for.

The overwhelming majority (93%) of organisations say that younger employees are driving demand for more flexible technology and ways of working. Furthermore, 91% believed the IT user experience was important in attracting and retaining new talent, with 55% of mid-size organisations stating it was ‘very important’ – underlining the value of retaining talented employees for smaller enterprises.  However, despite demand from employees, 88% of organisations also admitted that dated capex budgeting models were making it more difficult for them to create agile workspaces.

Commenting on the findings, James Bunce, Director, Capita IT Services said;

“The digital revolution has had a substantial impact on how we work and what our expectations of our working environments are. As organisations look to move away from a traditional desktop IT environment to a more flexible one that caters for mobile, remote, and more digital-savvy employees, the appeal of an agile workspace has grown.

“The nirvana for many organisations is creating an agile workspace that puts users first – giving them everything they need, to work productively, in one single place – from applications, to shared data and documents, to self-service support. However, stitching these facets together is not an easy task, particularly as IT environments have grown in complexity. As the research shows, an agile workspace is not just a luxury for organisations but is fundamental to their success and ability to compete.”

Bring your own device or bring your own problem?

As organisations look to create a more user-centric workspace, increasing numbers are turning toward a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) approach:

  • 46% of the organisations surveyed say they have introduced BYOD; a further 35% say they are considering it. 
  • Of those organisations that have adopted BYOD, 92% believe it has increased employees’ productivity.
  • However, those organisations who have adopted BYOD admit it has increased security risks (87%), the burden on IT support (89%), and IT management challenges (88%).

On average, respondents to the survey think the number of IT support requests due to remote and mobile working has increased by a quarter (25%). Further, as ‘shadow IT’ has continued its rise, 83% of organisations admitted it is a challenge to keep their remote and mobile working policy up to date.

Is help at hand?

A key factor in user-centricity is assessing how employees feel about their working environment. The research reveals that more than three-quarters (79%) of organisations are currently measuring the IT user experience. On average, organisations measure the IT user experience six times a year, but more than a quarter (28%) say they are only monitoring it once or twice a year.

In recent years, the ability to ‘self-serve’ has played a central role in improving the user experience, and IT support is no exception.

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of organisations have implemented IT self-service tools; a further 30% said they will be doing so in the next 12 months.
  • Of those organisations offering self-service, 86% feel support tickets have been reduced to some extent.
  • Most organisations (82%) that have implemented IT self-service are currently measuring employees’ usage; this figure is even higher for mid-size organisations at 95%.
  • Most respondents (87%) that have implemented IT self-service are also gathering user feedback to improve usability.

However, the survey reveals there is still work to be done in ensuring that self-service technology upgrades the user experience, as the majority of organisations (83%) say they still typically find out about users’ experience of IT through calls to the helpdesk.

“The findings show that while many organisations have adopted BYOD the full benefits are yet to be realised, as security and support concerns remain. A reluctance to give staff access to their preferred technologies holds back enterprises from becoming truly user-centric, therefore organisations must seek out solutions the enable BYOD in a secure manner while minimising the support burden,” added Bunce. “A truly agile workspace should allow IT teams to continually monitor user experience, yet for many it remains a reactive rather than a proactive function, with the onus on users to report issues. Without tools in place to monitor environments in real-time and enable IT teams to rectify issues more quickly, organisations risk creating a dispersed workforce of unhappy employees.”

The legacy problem

From a technology perspective, the majority of organisations (87%) say legacy applications are slowing their journey to creating an agile workspace, with the cost of re-architecting or transforming applications (68%), disruption to the user experience (43%), and a lack of in-house skills to modernise applications (36%) cited as the main causes.

Evolving alongside this application challenge has been the shift towards cloud computing, with organisations looking to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications to increase workspace agility. Yet only a quarter (25%) of organisations think SaaS applications meet their requirements, with this figure dropping to 17% in mid-size organisations.

Justin Sutton-Parker, Director, Partners, Northern Europe at Citrix said;

“An agile workspace is one in which employees can access all the applications and data they need, empowering them to collaborate with colleagues over any connection. This is easier said than done for most organisations because migrating from legacy remains a challenge,”

“Ultimately, businesses are looking for cost-conscious, scalable and flexible solutions to enable productivity and deliver efficiency, often combined with a cloud-first approach – to help tackle legacy issues and embrace the digital workspace.”

Commenting on the findings Professor João Baptista, Director of MSc Business Consulting at Warwick Business School, said:

"The digital revolution in organisations has mostly been visible in words and intentions, very few studies have captured the real effects on the ground and the challenges faced by those pushing these ideas into practice from within organisations. This report by Capita and Citrix is a useful examination of where organisations are today on this journey and a good diagnosis of the real challenges hindering progression.

Some of these challenges such as costs and the weight of legacy systems and processes are more intuitive but what the report also highlights is the lack of focus on employees to create a user-centric platform of work, one that responds to new practices and patterns of work in modern organisations today. The report provides useful ideas for moving forward towards a more employee-centric organisation."   

The Capita CIO Research:  Delivering Digital Transformation Demands Agile Workspaces – Where are Organisations Today? is available for download at www.workspaceagility.uk/cio-research .

*The research was undertaken in July 2018 by independent market research company, Vanson Bourne. The total sample size of 200 consists of 100 CIOs and senior IT decision makers from enterprises with over 1,000 employees, and 100 from enterprises with 500 – 1,000 employees.