The new year is right around the corner, and now is the time of year where we make share predictions about what’s to come in 2017. This, however, is less of a prediction and more of a plea: 2017 needs to be the year that IT embraces shadow IT. The term shadow IT describes employees using their own devices and software in the workplace without obtaining approvals from their firm’s IT department. According to TechTarget, “With the consumerization of IT and cloud computing, the meaning has expanded to include personal technology that employees use at work, or niche technology that meets the unique needs of a particular business division and is supported by a third-party service provider or in-house group, instead of by corporate IT.” Many IT departments grapple with the security issues this use of unapproved hardware and software creates. But the reality of the BYOD (bring your own device) workplace means that the issue isn’t going away. And there are positive aspects to consider. Here’s what shadow IT can do for your business:
Make IT Much Less Intimidating
Employees tend to be most familiar with their own devices, and—especially when a company rolls out new technology through digital disruption—they can be intimidated by new and unfamiliar devices and systems. When companies find ways to incorporate shadow IT and let employees take IT processes to their own devices, employees become more comfortable engaging with IT, and it’s can be a win-win situation for everyone.
Encourage Employee Innovation
By embracing BYOD and shadow IT, businesses encourage workers to innovate with new technology. Employees no longer feel tied to one type of device, platform, or operating system; instead, they may feel empowered to branch out and try different technologies to discover what works best for them. This can bring big benefits back to the company, because an employee can share an IT innovation that makes work easier for everyone on the team.
Why not remove obstacles to employee engagement and productivity? Employees can be resistant to new technology that they don’t understand, leading them to take matters into their own hands and find something that works for them, which is why many IT professionals refer to shadow IT in a negative way, as “rogue IT.” However, when IT gets on board and expands the parameters, it can create an opportunity to educate employees on IT practices – particularly security processes – while still giving them a sense of ownership over their tech and building a sense of buy-in.
It’s a simple concept here – people are more likely to use the technology they understand and with which they are comfortable. Today we all use tech constantly in our personal and professional lives. If a business requires its employees to use a particular type of mobile device, for example, and the employee isn’t comfortable with it, the employee is more likely to set it aside when he gets home from work. Instead, if the IT department can find a way to integrate its systems with employee’s personal devices, there’s a potential for increased productivity, because employees are more likely to engage with the system even when they’re not in the office.
Improve Dialogue Around IT
Often, the IT department seems like it’s speaking a different language than the rest of the company. Embracing shadow IT broadens the conversation and includes other teams and sectors, which helps get everyone on the same page. Managers and employees in other areas start to feel as if they have more of an investment in the company’s technology, and the general dialogue around IT improves.
Strike a Balance
As with any innovation, it’s important to maintain a sense of balance when embracing shadow IT. Your IT department’s security and redundancy concerns are real, and you must take them into account. Still, BYOD and shadow IT are not going away, and 2017 can be the year that businesses bring them both fully into practice.
At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.