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Mobility and the rise of Shadow IT

By David Barclay, National Practice Manager – Mobility, Data#3

Shadow IT. To the uninitiated, it sounds more like a James Bond villain or an underground hacking movement. Supporters of Shadow IT point to more productive end users and better access to apps and data as users find ways around the walls built by traditional IT departments. Detractors paint a picture of increased risk and security breaches.

What isn’t in dispute though is that the rise in enterprise mobility has added fuel to the Shadow IT fire – particularly at the consumer level with apps such as Dropbox and Evernote.

Shadow IT has now gathered enough momentum to become almost impossible to stop, but the real question is whether IT departments should be trying to stop it?

To understand Shadow IT, we first need to look back at the changing workforce. If we go back 10-20 years, work was (for the most part) about 9-5 and when you finished work, you left it at the office.

Mobility

Now in our constantly connected world, work is 24/7. Can’t finish that report this afternoon? That’s ok – take it home and finish it. Going on holiday? No need to worry – you can check your emails in case something urgent comes up. Work has become part of our lifestyle.

With more choice over when work gets done, we thought we could make work fit our busy lives and personal schedules however, in reality we all have a tendency to work more hours not less. The resulting irony is we now have an increased focus on work/life balance to try to urge us to switch off.

Despite all of this, businesses are still wrestling with traditional challenges – increase revenue, decrease costs, increase employee satisfaction, increase compliance and reduce risk; but ultimately it’s all about increasing productivity.

Therefore, in an effort to be more productive, or perhaps simplify their work environments, tech savvy employees now more than ever look towards the tools and devices they use in their personal lives for use in their business life as well.

With the rise of enterprise mobility, this is now easier than ever. Users can go to an app store, purchase an app and within minutes start using it to deliver a function or capability they need. Almost instant gratification compared to the rounds of approvals, delays and bureaucracy inherent in many IT departments. It’s no wonder then that users have stopped asking for permission and just find ways around the IT department – even if that means paying for apps themselves. Cost isn’t the issue, it’s about making their working lives easier, so Shadow IT continues to grow. In fact, research indicates that more than 80% of employees use non-approved applications in their day-to-day job*.

However there is a positive side. While mobility and Shadow IT may be opening businesses up to unacceptable risks, it is now forcing IT departments (and the rest of the business) to think about alternatives. How can they work with this demand instead of against it? How can they deliver a consumer like experience whilst still working within the compliance and regulatory constraints they are tasked with protecting? Does it really make everyone more productive?

The early answers have been a resounding yes! Embracing enterprise mobility and having access to your workspace anywhere, anytime opens up productivity options and business models that simply couldn’t exist before. It’s also no longer just about the device – it’s about what you can do with whatever device you have, wherever you happen to be – and it turns out that you can do a lot.

As a result, enterprise mobility continues to evolve at an incredibly rapid rate and promises to deliver the biggest shift in the workplace since the Internet. But it’s not something you can just buy. You need a plan and Data#3 can help.

Mobility – it’s bigger than you think.

To learn more about Mobility, visit https://data3.com/theanywhereworkplace/

* http://www.frost.com/reg/blog-display.do?id=3211184

Tags: Mobility, Shadow IT

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