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Casting Light on Employee Communications Preferences: How to Prevent Shadow IT

July 26, 2016 by Amanda Maksymiw

Bring UCaaS to the forefront so IT can regain control of modern work tools

Enterprise communications can oftentimes play second fiddle to more seemingly important IT challenges. As long as the phones are ringing and the conference lines are operating, it may seem like an unnecessary investment, right?

The greater the satisfaction with communications tools, the more collaborative, productive, and performance-driven a team can be. Without this, employees may start to look elsewhere for ways to connect with their colleagues, oftentimes circumventing office policy and adopting tools outside of company-provided solutions – off in the shadows, where IT can’t oversee.

When it comes down to it, you’re fighting a losing battle if you fall prey to rampant shadow IT across your organization, but there are ways to prevent this from getting out of hand:

  • Personal preferences rule. Shadow IT will prevail if you don’t put technology in the hands of employees that mirrors what they’re accustomed to using in their personal lives. Get to know your employees’ technology preferences inside and outside of the office. When you’ve done so, you can rely upon insights rather than assumptions to answer the question: “Are we running communications tools by default because it’s easiest to stick with what we have or because I am confident they are the best options for our business?”
  • Take a leading role. IT teams should approach enterprise technology adoption head on and serve as the tech leaders within their organization. A Bain & Company survey found that nearly one third of technology purchasing power has moved beyond IT toward executives responsible for marketing, customer service, and supply chain functions. As oversight of IT budgets become more diverse on the buyer side, IT has an opportunity to inform the process and guide purchasing decisions given their expertise and understanding of end-user preferences. The savvy CIO will use these moments to make the process more inclusive of decision makers inside the organization to select the best options.
  • Cloudy judgments approved. Cloud-based communication is an absolute necessity today as employees demand seamless access to information and connectivity whether in the office or working remotely. Migrating to cloud-based systems also helps reduce costs. Companies know that it boils down to timing and deciding what exactly should be moved to the cloud. Consolidating communications with a single service provider helps centralize communication and support all the freedoms that come with the cloud.
  • Rethink communication. Given today’s workforce demands, organizations must think about communication and collaboration as one in the same. Gone are the days when you needed multiple tools to move between editing documents, texting with coworkers and discussing projects. The future of work relies upon a new way of thinking about communications; a paradigm shift that should be the priority of any future-thinking CIO.
  • Deliver for experience. With millennials now the largest percentage of the workforce, do yourself a favor and get inside the head of this generation. What supports them to produce their best work? How is social media shaping the work experience in new ways (e.g., influencing navigation, interface, and access to information)? Take note of their communications ecosystem and use that to your advantage. Doing so will help centralize preferred platforms, keep the organization more secure, and prevent alternate tools from lurking in the IT shadows.

Companies with greater control over technology usage across the modern enterprise will benefit from easier audit trails, more secure, reliable systems, and a more consistent, high-quality experience across the board. When IT serves as the “voice of reason” for users, you’ve already taken the right steps to reassert your value in today’s workforce. By recognizing the evolving needs and preferences of workers and harnessing all the possibilities of today’s modern communication, you will also be creating a more credible, respected, and effective IT team.

Download our latest ebook to learn more about how to avoid shadow IT by making communications simple and effective.

Amanda Maksymiw
Amanda Maksymiw

Amanda is responsible for setting and managing the Fuze content marketing strategy including creating, producing and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she's worked with fast-growing tech companies and VCs on developing content marketing, influencer marketing and social media strategies. Amanda received her BBA in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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