A 2012 Thomson Reuters study has revealed how professional services* in Australia are using mobile devices. However, with practitioners adopting Tablets as status symbols with little IT strategy in place to cope with the technology, there could be a raft of problems on the horizon.
Of 300+** senior legal and tax practitioners surveyed in February 2012, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) emerged as a key trend. 60% of practitioners use their own Tablets in a professional capacity. However, it appears this is not without its problems – more than half (51%) admitted having had technical problems as a result of this; 43% suffering security issues, 51% had network and connectivity issues, 46% internet access problems and 30% experienced issues around integrating with existing IT support infrastructure.
An alarmingly low proportion of firms have an IT strategy in place to cover Tablet usage – just 10% – at the same time that 63% of professionals recognise a compelling need for one in their own firm.
Rick Ness, Chief Technology Officer of Thomson Reuters Legal, Tax & Accounting ANZ, comments: “The trend for BYOD combined with a lack of strategy from an IT perspective could cause some real issues in the future. Tablet and mobile device usage will not go away and it’s key that professional services tackle this head on and recognise that a specific strategy is required to manage this. The risks of not doing this are far reaching; not only IT problems, but more importantly frustrated staff, wasted work hours and depressed productivity – exactly the issues technology should be solving. We expect tablet usage to rise across all industry sectors but in particularly amongst the professional services, based on a number of factors including the ability to display eBooks, replacing the need to transport vast quantities of legal texts around from meeting to meeting.”
Despite their reputation as slow adopters, managing partners and senior managers emerge as the dominant group (61%) with IT and tech staff accounting for just 5% of Tablet users. When asked about the reasons for using a Tablet, a surprising 11% admit they use it purely as a status symbol, 14% have one, but never use it, while the majority (62%) say they use Tablets to work on the move, with 23% using them for eBooks.
*Study questioned 324 senior staff/partners across medium-large legal and accountancy firms in Australia