- January 31, 2018
- in Future of Work
- by Amanda Maksymiw
Combatting Shadow IT with Artificial Intelligence
For IT leaders, supporting an increasingly digital-native workforce has become somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, having employees who are naturally comfortable with technology means CIOs have a built-in, informed audience of power users for sourcing feedback on the tools that can power the business. On the other hand, employees are equally comfortable skirting IT entirely if they feel a non-sanctioned application would help them do their job better, faster, or more efficiently. Known as shadow IT, this trend is a direct result of the consumerization of enterprise technology. As the distinction between professional and personal tools fades, employees expect workplace tech to match the consumer experience – and they don’t necessarily have the patience to wait for IT department to catch up.
CIOs are split on how to best approach shadow IT. While some are hesitant to embrace it due to potential security risks, others are seeing an opportunity to leverage this to inform overall IT strategy. While security will always be at the top of the IT leader’s priority list, there’s a lesson to be learned in the appeal of shadow IT and how tech teams can mitigate its effects. Ultimately, it comes down to personalizing the workplace toolkit, which creates new opportunities for the role of AI.
Real Time Updates
In the short term, industry experts are predicting that one of the first major practical applications of AI in the workplace will be the virtual assistant. The idea being, that many of the administrative processes that eat up so much of the day will be replaced by an intelligent platform that will streamline the experience. But in an age of expanding shadow IT, AI can have a much larger role in helping IT understand individual employee preferences so they can take preventative measures before the workforce turns to outside platforms.
The attraction of shadow IT lies in an employees’ perception that their individual workstyle isn’t being supported by the wider IT organization. But a significant challenge for IT leaders is that workstyles aren’t static. As we grow and evolve, as do our preferences for how we want to be productive – so choosing a platform that accounts for this can be difficult. AI, however, is uniquely capable of tracking and analyzing behavior changes in real time. Consider, for example, an organization which offers a voice, video, and messaging platform to employees. Over time, the platform, powered by AI, identifies a significant shift away from the messaging tool – indicating employee dissatisfaction. Armed with this knowledge, IT can proactively source more information as to what is missing from the platform, and how it can be improved across the business.
Hyper-Personalization on an Enterprise Scale
AI enables a more comprehensive window in how employees are working on a day-to-day basis. That understanding is even more important as IT is increasingly challenged with providing tools that simultaneously appeal to a diverse workforce, while also supporting individual preferences. The greater insight IT leaders have in the shifting nature of the workplace, the greater ability they have in offering the technology that meets security standards and employee expectations.