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Workstream Collaboration Technology: Bridging The Gap Between IT and End-users

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Collaboration Technology: Boosting Cooperation Between IT and End-Users

business collaboration technology

Shadow IT, or those end-users who use third-party IT systems without approval is costing businesses time and money. Recent surveys suggest that enterprises are spending 30 to 40 percent of IT budgets to control, monitor and manage unsanctioned applications and services.

One of the biggest focus areas for shadow IT is workstream collaboration (WSC) technology — cloud-based workplace productivity and communication solutions that easily integrate with end-user workflows.

Here’s why: With companies already invested in unified communications (UC) platforms and the WSC market growing rapidly, many IT departments are holding off on corporate-wide collaboration tools until the dust settles. End-users, meanwhile, can’t afford to wait. Instead, they’re deploying solutions that meet workflow needs — but may imperil information security.

Hard data confirms the current state of affairs: Research from IDC suggests that spending on shadow IT will overtake traditional IT spending in 2019 as end-users demand workstream collaboration offerings that empower day-to-day business operations.

With IT expectations and tech-savvy users on the rise, how do IT teams embrace the potential of shadow IT without exposing organizations to an increased security risk?

Gathering Shadows

shadow it and collaboration technology

Shadow IT is a natural consequence of a consumer-style mentality for technology at our fingertips and a spread of cloud adoption. As users become more comfortable provisioning and managing their technology, they’re less inclined to accept IT restrictions on what they’re using and how they’re using it. In fact, new data suggests that 38 percent of users don’t want IT dictating which technologies they use for work.

When it comes to workstream collaboration tools for business, 75 percent say they’ve been successful in implementing their preferred workplace collaboration solutions — despite 87 percent of companies providing in-house collaboration technologies.

With a focus on efficiency rather than security, end-users may inadvertently introduce IT security threats by sharing sensitive enterprise data within cloud-based solutions that haven’t been properly vetted by IT professionals.

Increased Duplication

With end-users more confident in their technology choices, even as IT teams look for more control over growing network environments, the result is no surprise: Tension on both sides as they look for common ground.

For IT teams, the impact of seemingly benign apps demands greater control over end-user technology choices. A major concern? Sensitive documents or unprotected chat threats accidentally leaking from unsecured and unmonitored WSC sprawl. End-users, however, view increased IT oversight — especially when IT-provided apps and services don’t offer key workstream functionality — as a stumbling block to productivity.

The result is a kind of technology tug-of-war. Team members don’t want to request new IT solutions for fear of being rejected, even as technology professionals look to limit the spread of new applications and services.

Solving for Shadow IT

collaboration technology solving for shadow it

For technology teams, this shift demands approach adjustments when it comes to shadow IT, including:

  • Front-line communication — Users adopt familiar workstream collaboration technology tools because they streamline key workflows. Best bet for IT? Ask front-line team members what they’re using and why.
  • Best-of-breed offerings — It’s not sufficient for companies to offer collaboration tools that are “good enough.” C-suites must work with IT teams to find best-of-breed bundled offerings that meet end-user expectations to create a win-win scenario.
  • Zero-trust solutions — Overcoming common security challenges of collaboration tools for business require zero-trust authentication and access models that grant key permissions to approved users while limiting the ability of accidental insiders or malicious actors to threaten IT environments.
  • Multi-app comfort – IT must be comfortable with a shakedown period (or perhaps as long as 2-3 years) while employees and IT run and use a series of different WSC apps.

Bridging the Gap

collaboration technology: bridging the gap

Increasing user demand for agile, feature-rich workstream collaboration solutions are driving the uptake of shadow IT across enterprise environments. Bridging the gap between security demands and user workarounds requires effort from both IT and business units to come together and align on the concept of shared value and shared risk. IT will need a new approach that combines improved communication, best-of-breed collaboration services, and zero-trust solutions, and end-users will also need to listen to and understand where IT is coming from. When IT can help business units understand IT’s security concerns and how those risks also apply to the business, it will booster cooperation between IT and end-users. Talk to one of our experts today to find out how to solve for shadow IT. Contact us today.

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