APAC Employees Not Impressed with Digital Empowerment Initiatives

Asia Pacific CIOs are not listening to their employees closely.

According to The Impact of the Digital Workforce: The New Equilibrium of the Digitally Transformed Enterprise, employees believe that not enough is done to make business apps more accessible at the workplace. This growing disconnect between CIOs business app strategies and actual employee needs comes despite growing deployment of business apps.

The research, conducted by VMware with Forbes Insights studied 2,150 global CIOs and frontline employees from Australia, China, Japan, and India. After examining the use of business apps, their availability and access, it noted a strong correlation between business app access and faster decision making, increased productivity, better collaboration and higher staff satisfaction.

Disconnect on User Needs Grow

Regarding business app deployments, the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) firms fared well among global peers. The research noted that they were ahead of European peers and on par with North American firms.

However, APJ CIOs are not delivering what their employees want. The research showed that 39% of APJ CIOs believed that they are deploying the apps their employees need, while only 24% of APJ end-users indicated that they have access to the apps they need.

One primary example of this disconnect was on business app availability across devices. Only less than one-third of APJ end-users believed that the business apps are readily accessible on all devices.

"CIOs must, therefore, consider how they can orchestrate the adoption of employee technologies, not simply for the sake of it, but for real and effective use. If employees can take decisive and effective action and enhance their personal performances, it will no doubt benefit the companies where they work," Sanjay Deshmukh, vice president, End-User Computing, APJ, VMware said.

Re-calibrating Workforce for DX

The research noted that digital transformation, especially when deploying business apps and productivity suites, was driving a shift in management and culture. Firms are no longer relying on traditional command and control approaches, and are beginning to trust and empower their employees more.

The shift was especially significant in emerging economies, such as China and India. In these countries, the adoption of highly-automated, user-friendly business apps is disrupting the old ways of work and enabling employees to leap ahead in productivity and efficiency.

However, this shift is driving up costs. According to the research, providing frontline employees with the tools and the freedom to innovate and execute requires significant investment in technology and mindset change.

Digital App Link to Morale, Efficiency

Business apps impacted workforce morale, the research highlighted. APJ employees said that apps were improving their job satisfaction and making their company a better place to work. When looking forward to the role of business apps, four in five respondents believed apps would be either ‘important' or ‘very important' in the future. Respondents in India and China reported the most dramatic improvements, with 42% and 26% strongly agreeing that apps have improved their work life respectively, followed by Australia at 15%.

Business apps and productivity solutions are raising workplace efficiency. Respondents in India reported the highest rate of workplace efficiency improvement (16%), followed by China and Japan at 13%.

"Employees are taking control of their own performance and, in turn, improving their companies' bottom lines. They are adopting whichever business apps they need and starting a quiet revolution from within. The downside is the emergence of silos of innovation. CIOs must respond in kind by implementing effective collaboration, device management, and enterprise security," Deshmukh said.