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The REAL Problems with Shadow IT Explained

 

Longtime Saturday Night Live fans may remember “Nick Burns, The Computer Guy” (Jimmy Fallon), a recurring character who would insult colleagues as he fixed their computer problems. Of course, the idea of IT as the lone gatekeeper of technology is a dated one today, as employees are both more tech savvy and more empowered to make technology choices for themselves. What has happened instead is that more apps are storming the gates of enterprise communications without IT’s awareness, a trend known as shadow IT.

Current data suggests that shadow IT is a growing problem for enterprises. According to one recent report, the average employee uses:

  • 16.8 different cloud services
  • 2.9 different content sharing services
  • 2.8 different collaboration services

That’s a lot of apps operating in the shadows. To shed a little light on why that’s happening, look no further than the current shortcomings of many enterprise collaboration policies:

An outdated definition of “team”

Think about the projects you work on—how many of them involve only internal employees? Maybe 20 percent. The other 80 percent of your projects include partners, contractors, consultants, customers, etc. If your unified communications system isn’t unifying them as well, the same collaboration problems of the past are likely to recur, causing delays and compromising productivity.

An incomplete approach to unification

It’s unrealistic to think that any UC platform will be the end-all of communications for every employee. As the plurality of cloud services suggests, personal choice still drives communications. And even where UC platforms have high adoption rates, they can still present problems as users try to combine different services on different devices—resulting in more delays and frustration.

The absence of a “mobile first” mindset

IT departments need to recognize that mobile is no longer a secondary mode of communication for employees, but the primary mode for millennials and many others. That requires a mobile-first strategy that ensures new applications support and enhance the mobile experience. For example, call forwarding to your mobile phone is a nice feature, but moving a videoconference from a laptop to a smartphone seamlessly is a better one.

Fortunately, IT doesn’t need to become a shadow ninja overnight to fight these challenges. In developing our MiTeam collaboration tool, we’ve baked the mobile-first, cloud-connected experience into its features. The result is a collaboration tool that works the way your employees do: quickly, collaboratively and, yes, sometimes stealthily.

Check out team collaboration tool MiTeam >