What Questions Should We Ask in Forrester’s Upcoming Workforce Survey?

Tech Populism is a major force that's changing the way we work. Behind the walls of SMBs and enterprises are empowered employees who increasingly make individual choices about the technologies that they use to get their jobs done. With the growing ubiquity of technology in the workplace (smartphones, other mobile devices, and PCs) individual workers are often making decisions for themselves. The opportunity for tech strategists lies in addressing portfolio strategy as well as go-to-market strategy to address this rising tide of new buyers.

To explore Tech Populism, Forrester is currently designing its upcoming Workforce Forrsights Survey to be fielded to 5,000 employees in the US, Canada, France, the UK, and Germany who work at businesses across a range of industries and company sizes. Our target respondents use a smartphone or computer at least 1 hour per day at work.

The Workforce Forrsights Survey will answer questions about how employees:

  • Leverage personal devices and software/services in their jobs.
  • Utilize other tools such as social networking to collaborate with coworkers, clients, and prospects.
  • Adopt applications and online tools to do their jobs (such as add on applications, wikis, and mobile applications).
  • View their IT departments — are they a resource or only an impediment?
  • Influence the adoption of new technologies by their company.
  • Learn about new technologies to adopt for work — not sure if this will covered or not, but this sort of gets at the marketing piece.. where are people learning about these technologies?

Some of them are “home” devices, but others may come from work-related blogs, coworkers, or even tech-savvy IT friends.As part of the design process, we are looking for your input on the questions that are most important to you. As technology industry strategists, what do you need to know about these empowered employees?


  • What topic areas are we missing?
  • What are the most important demographics to capture in order to create actionable data segmentations for you?
  • What are the most important game-changing technologies to ask about?

 Which of the following potential insights is most important to uncover?

  • Where employees fall on a tech optimism scale
  • Why employees are leapfrogging over IT
  • How much an employee’s consumer life influences their use of technology at work
  • How employees influence IT

We’re excited to hear your suggested improvements, new topic areas, and even specific questions right here in the blog comments. We'll be locking down themes by June 25, 2010 and expect final data in late August. I will share selected results of the Workforce research through this blog. If you would like more information about becoming a charter client of Workforce Forrsights, please contact myself or businessdatarequest@forrester.com.


Tech Populism

I would be very interested to see how tech populism manifests itself across different sizes of businesses - SMBs versus large enterprises and multinationals - in the US and around the world. And by industry, if you've got it.

Also, any sense of how governments are dealing with this?

What are the most prevalent smartphones that consumers are adopting (iPhone, Android) and bringing to work? What is the breakdown of enterprises that capitulate to their workers and start supporting these mobile devices?

How are enterprises dealing with applications? As smartphones proliferate, enterprise applications will follow. Will they design all their apps in-house, or go to an outsourcer to ensure they have standardized apps across all their devices?

How is Google playing in all of this? It seems like mostly a consumer play, but with the rollout of Google Voice, that has significant FMC capabilities that could manifest themselves across the enterprise (eventually). Of course, it's a hosted service, so the question becomes, how will hosted services change the game for tech populism and open the market for more competitors?

Hi Garrett--Thanks so much

Hi Garrett--Thanks so much for sharing your interests. I certainly hope the new data provides a starting point for analysis, and recommend you pose these excellent questions to our analysts over Inquiry calls. We are definitely asking about smartphone brands that consumers bring to work, and will continue the line of questioning around how employees acquire their devices, which operating systems are officially supported by IT etc.

Focus on Expertise & Onboarding to Support Empowerment Wave

I am very excited to see the initiative and direction these studies are taking. I have been researching myself some if these aspects for a while now. I feel there are many areas I would want to add or expand but will up-front propose the following.

How do they prefer building on their 'expertise' of the tools available is one question to explore. Do they feel knowledgeable on how best to utilize a set of tools versus another depending on the professional situation they face regularly? Arming these employees with the right information sources to make the best comprehensive choices in terms of collaboration tools is key as well as understanding their preferences in terms of content, format and means for self-education would be very helpful.

Furthermore, what on-boarding (not so much formal training) programs would best fit their busy schedules and real-time needs. This particular topic would shed some light on some of the gaps that exists between employee's intent or high level interest in using tools in professional settings and their actual adoption levels.

I really appreciate the opportunity to share some ideas and would love to be alerted on next related opportunities.
Thank you.