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Information Workers Are Going DIY, Survey Finds




Forget about "This Old House" and weekend do-it-yourselfers (DIY) wielding hammers and saws. The DIY movement has now reached information workers.  Nearly one in five of them has built or customized a Web app or software for work purposes without support from IT, a new survey reveals.

The result of this DIY push is faster help for customers, improved productivity and better collaboration among employees, a survey of more than 900 information workers sponsored by software provider Intuit showed.

The survey found that 50 percent of information workers now turn to online databases and Web-based productivity apps, instant messaging platforms, video chat services and social networks to solve their own business problems.

Although many businesses recognize the productivity benefits of empowering staff to choose their own technologies to help customers and rethink business processes , there are still pockets of resistance: 35 percent of businesses still do not enable or encourage employees to create solutions independently.

"There’s a fast-growing population of do-it-yourself app creators in every organization," said Allison Mnookin, vice president and general manager of Intuit QuickBase. "These motivated employees are taking advantage of easy-to-use, Web-based platforms to respond to the accelerating pace and increasing complexity of business demands. With intimate knowledge of customer and workgroup needs and easy-to-use cloud tools, information workers solve their own problems faster than IT can accommodate them. IT departments that embrace and empower these employees can drive competitiveness for their businesses."

Businesses that empower employees to create their own solutions are quickly finding lasting value. It took less than a week to complete building or customizing an app for 68 percent of information workers who worked on their own, while 72 percent of those using an internal development team to build a solution reported it took more than a month to complete.

Not only are they creating their solutions faster, the solutions are sticking: 82 percent reported that their do-it-yourself solution is still being used within their organization or team.

Businesses that don’t enable employees to act independently run the risk of losing their talent. Half of “rogues” responding to the survey said they’d consider switching jobs to have a more technologically free work environment. Among people that feel empowered, that percentage open to switching jobs drops to 26 percent.


Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.



Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.