Who makes the final decision on which tech tools end up in the workplace?
Managers (including the company’s CTO) might insist that such decisions rest with them. But employees are determined to bring in technology that makes their jobs easier, whether or not their higher-ups (or IT) give the sign-off.
That’s the conclusion reached by NextPlane, which surveyed some 750 business professionals in August 2018. Some 53 percent of respondents said that “they or another team have pushed back on IT or management when they tried to dictate the technology they use.”
Those efforts often succeeded, with 46 percent reporting that their IT department had made an exception for the new technology. That’s slightly higher than the 42 percent who reported strict compliance with the mandates of IT.
Despite that conflict over outside tech, some 87 percent of professionals told NextPlane that their companies provided them with the technology tools they needed to work and collaborate. That’s unsurprising, as most employees need little more than a phone and a PC to get their jobs done; it’s only when there’s a significant paradigm shift (such as the introduction of smartphones more than a decade ago) that we see industries struggling to give employees what they really need.
For IT staffers, including sysadmins and those who maintain the company help desk, employees bringing in technology from “outside” can quickly escalate into a security nightmare. Although employees enjoy the flexibility of these tools and devices, they’re potentially introducing a host of new vulnerabilities and access points into the office network.
Faced with this sort of challenge, most sysadmins have embraced some degree of end-to-end management, from monitoring all devices with network access to adjusting the permissions on all enterprise applications to each user. But even the tightest security can develop a hole; for example, a user might unilaterally decide to rely on Google Docs (with a sharable-with-everyone link) instead of a secure, cloud-based document portal.
The complexity of the issue may only increase as tech giants such as Microsoft introduce low-code (and “no code”) app builders into the enterprise. For example, employees could use a platform such as Microsoft’s PowerApps to quickly build apps that streamline workflows—great for them, but a potential nightmare for IT staffers trying to keep tabs on what’s actually present on the network. The sudden appearance of a dozen new mobile apps, all of which leverage company data, can make things really interesting, let us say.
In other words, that tension between employees and IT over tools may only increase. If you’re a tech pro in charge of policing employees’ tech usage, that means you’re going to need all your soft skills in order to succeed in your role: You’re going to have to convince your colleagues to follow what you say with regard to the company’s tech stack.