Listen to your employees or deal with shadow IT

Data leakage, compliance breaches, business inefficiency and hidden costs are just some of the risks organizations are leaving themselves open to by not meeting the IT demands of their workforce.

Speaking at Cloud Expo Europe in London, Tom Homer, the Head of EMEA and the Americas for Telstra Global Enterprise and Services listed these problems as the potential results of shadow IT, the phrase coined for the increasing trend of employees going against their company’s IT policy to implement their own solutions and platforms.

“The risk of shadow IT is one which UK companies should take very seriously,” said Tom. “Today’s workforce is becoming increasingly tech-savvy and is not going to be content using yesterday’s technology. Organizations that listen and respond to their employees’ needs for the latest collaboration tools will have a clear advantage over those that don’t. These are the organizations we have identified to be Superusers.”

A recent report by Telstra involved interviews with 675 IT decision-makers in private sector multinational organizations with 250-plus employees, across the UK, United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Superuser organizations are defined as having implemented a full range of collaboration technology tools according to the needs of their workforce. This has brought benefits, such as improving organizational efficiency, along with increased productivity and employee satisfaction.

Remote access, mobility, desktop virtualization and video conferencing as just some of the collaboration technology tools which workers expect as standard.

“While hardware and software issues were traditionally the key challenges of introducing and implementing new technologies, our research found that more than three quarters of IT decision makers believe resistance from people is now either equally or more difficult to overcome.

“Our research suggests the consequent risks and cost implications of shadow IT are likely to far exceed the original risks and costs saved by not addressing end user expectations in the first instance.

“Clearly, it is increasingly important for IT departments to ensure that end users are being listened to, in order to retain control of the technology infrastructure and employee usage. Organizations cannot afford to ignore such demands, especially in the current environment where employee expectations are high and they are more aware than ever about the technology available to them,” Tom concluded.