Sure, “shadow IT” sounds scary, but what is it really? You can think of it as employees using business applications that aren’t on the corporate menu. For example, using Skype to make business calls when you travel instead of the corporate audioconferencing service. Or storing business documents on your personal Google Drive account instead of Salesforce.
Those examples don’t seem like a big deal, right? Only they’re bigger than you think. In a Cisco study last year, CIOs were asked how many cloud apps their business users were running in the shadows. Their answer: fifty. The real answer? Seven hundred and thirty.
Yes, the average enterprise uses 730 different cloud apps that aren’t part of the corporate infrastructure.
Clearly, shadow IT is a bigger problem than most CIOs realize.
The real costs of shadow IT revealed
But at least these apps aren’t costing the enterprise anything… or are they? Working in the shadows can introduce security risks and lead to data loss. For example, what happens to corporate data stored in a personal Dropbox account when an employee leaves? In the case where regulatory compliance is a requirement (e.g., healthcare, legal and financial services companies), shadow IT can even put enterprises at risk of non-compliance, which can end up costing a lot of money. And then there’s the cost of providing access to all these shadow apps and services, which can result in network congestion, excessive mobile data charges and lost productivity as business users are forced to provide their own technical support.
Uncovering the causes of shadow IT
Given the magnitude of the problem, is there any way to draw employees out of the shadows? Yes, there is. First, you need to understand that shadow IT is really a symptom of dissatisfaction with the corporate tools. When asked about their employer’s cloud services, 65% of enterprise users said they were dissatisfied with what their company offered. At the heart of the problem is the fact that many enterprises are still using first-generation cloud solutions that were designed to reduce costs rather than delight users. Young professionals in particular have moved beyond Cloud 1.0 technology and are looking for a Cloud X.0 experience: one that’s intuitive to use, works seamlessly across different mobile devices and feels like the apps they use every day.
Finding a cure
How do we know this? Because we built our MiCloud Office platform with the your professionals and changing technology habits in mind. We designed the user experience around mobility and simplicity, because more and more workers do most everything on their mobile devices. We didn’t simply enable applications with communications (a Cloud 1.0 hallmark), we embedded communications into everything and added team collaboration to the mix with MiTeam. The result is a cloud communications platform that employees actually use for work—rather than working around it.
So if you’re tired of working in the shadows, there’s a better path: Come into the light with Mitel.