Shadow IT (unauthorized IT systems) can be incredibly frustrating to IT managers and other executives. It can be equally frustrating to employees. Generally speaking, people look for better ways to do their job. Humans are wired to be efficient. So when we go out of our way to research a better solution, find that solution, implement it, and even have success with it, it is frustrating to say the least when IT walks in and rips it out from under us. I know this from personal experience.
Today, as the owner of an IT/cybersecurity firm, I also champion the cause of strict control of what gets installed on a network. It is crucial for protecting against cybercrime.
The key to preventing the inevitable battle between employees and IT/executives is proper education and communication. It starts with an adequate and up to date AUP (Acceptable Use Policy). All employees should read, understand, and agree to this policy before they are ever given access to company owned technology.
It continues with regularly updating the AUP as technology evolves. With each update comes proper education and communication with all staff members affected by the policy. It is all too common, when I ask to see a client’s or prospect’s AUP, to have them dust off a document that was written nearly a decade ago. Bad form! (See what I did there?)
As important as the above information is, I believe it is far more important to LISTEN than it is to command. If your employees have good ideas, and good reasons for wanting a change or improvement on the technology they use, listen to them. And listen closely! Payroll is usually the most significant expense on an organization. Giving them the proper tools to help them feel empowered and be productive is probably the most important investment a company can make.