Can IT remain relevant in the era of BYOA? New research reveals 7 key findings

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Two megatrends — the rise of cloud applications and the consumerization of IT — are conspiring to change IT as we know it.  And in turn, they are calling  into question the value and very relevance of the role of IT, itself.   Today we released the first in a series of  studies designed to explore the state of IT management in today’s “BYO” workplace.  Featuring input from nearly 1400 IT professionals and business professionals, the  report  focuses on the rapid rise of employee introduced apps, or the bring-your-own-app (BYOA) trend, and explores how consumerized cloud apps have become both a challenge and a blind spot for many IT professionals.

A full copy of the BYOA report, Managing applications in the age of BYOA: Reclaiming IT’s strategic role, is available for download.  We’ll delve into the key findings, including key steps IT pros can take to embrace and manage this new reality in future posts, but here’s quick look at some of the highlights and takeaways.

Key findings:

1. BYOA is here to stay.

70% of organizations have some presence of BYOA and it’s a trend that is only going to increase.

2. IT significantly underestimates the scale of BYOA.

IT professionals in this global survey estimated they have, on average, 2.8 applications that were brought into the organization by employees. But LogMeIn data based on companies analyzed in the past 6 months shows the average to be closer to 21 apps–more than 7x what IT estimates.

3. Consumerization of Apps is accelerating.

Employees are bringing in their own applications in the first place because they’re unhappy with solutions provided by IT. More than 64% of the time, applications are brought in by employees when a solution already exists.

4. IT is out of the loop.

More importantly, employees are consulting IT less than half the time when choosing these applications. Then, even after IT endorses these employee-introduced applications, IT is rarely involved in provisioning or managing them.

5. Security risks are inconsistently managed-if at all.

IT professionals acknowledge that BYOA poses huge security risks, and takes some of the control for technology out of their hands, but many are not actively working to address the problem; only 38% currently have a policy in place.

6. Active employee engagement can help.

There are many positive things that can come out of allowing employees to introduce applications if managed properly. Apps brought in by employees tend to be more user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and better suited for collaboration.

7. IT has the ability to choose its role.

IT professionals can decide what role they want to play. They can act as gatekeepers and restrict app adoption, act as passive observers, and let the adoption happen without their involvement–or IT can act as strategic facilitators, managing and shaping the adoption and direction of the growing BYOA trend.

         

Introducing Cubby Enterprise

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Built with the simplicity employees love and the power IT needs.

We’re excited to share that a new business version of Cubby is now available to help businesses finally bridge the divide between IT demands and employee preference when it comes to cloud file sync and share apps.  Before we get into what you’ll see, it’s worth taking a look at why we did this, and why we believe this will help IT pros regain some control on the type app that personifies the bring-your-own-app (BYOA) trend and the inherent management challenges it brings to the table.

If you’re an IT pro, you’ve got personal and often consumer-grade tech walking into the workplace in every form.  And many of you have faced the binary choice when it comes to file sync and share: bring in an IT-friendly solution and try to get employees to adopt it or look for a consumer-grade solution and pray that you can manage and control it.  Unfortunately, we continually hear from our customers that pretty much every business-grade solution on the market fails the employee test – you have a managed solution, but no one uses it.  Worse, they bring in their own personal solutions.  Then there are the consumer offerings that talk the management game but have yet to deliver and, frankly, scare IT to death.

We believe we’re in a unique position to tackle this problem and give our customers some much needed piece of mind.  Cubby Enterprise brings together LogMeIn’s deep expertise with SMB IT management and its experience building intuitive, popular apps used by millions of business professionals.  As a result, SMB IT professionals are empowered to manage and secure company data shared between people and across devices, while providing employees with the ease-of-use they crave in their personal applications.

Here’s a closer look at how Cubby Enterprise gives businesses the user experience needed to quickly win over employees, while empowering IT to control how sensitive data is shared:

Features for employees:

Flexible and intuitive access:

  • Intuitive user experience: Cubby features a drop-dead simple experience designed by the same team behind the wildly popular LogMeIn, Ignition and join.me apps
  • The ability to make any existing folder a ‘cubby’: Turn any folder into a ‘cubby’ with the freedom to make as many cubbies as desired
  • Access to files anywhere from virtually any device: Native iOS, Android, Windows and Mac apps, as well as access from any browser make it possible to work from anywhere across a blend of work and personal devices
  • 1 TB of cloud storage for every 5 users. Cubby Enterprise provides users with 1 TB to be shared per 5 users and can simply add users and additional space as desired (new users only)

Public and Private Sharing

  • Multiple ways to share files and collaborate with others:  Content can be shared with others by inviting them into a cubby, which lets both parties see, work with, and sync content; or it can be shared through simple read-only links to files and cubbies, an option that provides quick sharing even with people who don’t have a Cubby account

Features for IT management include:

User and Identity Management

  • ADFS Integration: Enable single sign-on (SSO) via Active Directory.
  • Domain-based administration: Automatically own and manage all employee Cubby accounts within a given domain, while providing the option for employees to merge and upgrade individual accounts with Cubby Enterprise
  • Desktop app deployment: Remotely install Cubby on employee computers to provide easy access to Cubby Enterprise while encouraging corporate use

Data Security

  • Device wipe:  Remove stored passwords and wipe locally synced content from employee devices, including PCs, Macs and tablets and smartphones
  • Policy settings: Enforce user policies to control how data is stored and shared, including the ability to constrain sharing within a corporate domain
  • Mobile passcodes: Protect mobile access by requiring a 4-digit pin before accessing Cubby files on your mobile device

Monitoring Activity

  • Activity log:  Monitor activity in real-time to know what content is being shared, how and with whom
  • Filtered activity search: Filter activity for easy monitoring by employee, event type or date

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This is the first in a series of new offerings from LogMeIn aimed at helping IT professionals manage devices, data and apps in today’s SMB. Cubby Enterprise yearly subscriptions start at $39.99/month per groups of five users, prepaid annually ($479.88/year). Please visit cubby.com to learn more about why Cubby Enterprise is right for your business!

         

[SLIDECAST] Bring Your Own App: The Secret Weapon for Sales and Marketing Success

BYOA SlideCast - LogMeIn - Lou Orfanos - join.me

Recently, I attended the 2013 salesforce.com Dreamforce event.  I had the excellent opportunity to talk about how to best understand and leverage the Bring Your Own App trend in your organization.  It’s an interesting topic because it affects sales, marketing, and IT, albeit in vastly different ways.  The trick is using it to your advantage!  Here’s a description of the presentation, right from my abstract:

Bring Your Own App:  The Secret Weapon for Sales and Marketing Success

CIOs and their counterparts in Sales and Marketing have learned the hard way that saying “no” to user-chosen productivity applications is a non-starter.   Learn how leading enterprises are embracing these best of breed applications to achieve transformative improvements in overall collaboration and sales and marketing productivity.  This slidecast will help sales and IT leaders alike better understand and align around an ever-changing sales persona, driving better productivity and sales as a result.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend, I’m sharing it with you below.  You can pace yourself through the slides and my audio with the SlideShare commands.

What about you?  Does your workplace embrace a BYOA phenomenon?  Are you a millennial ‘Joe’ sales person?  Let us know in the comments.

         

Can Dropbox win the battle for IT and end-user harmony?

When Netflix embarked on its goal to pivot from the world’s best known DVD and streaming provider to original content provider they offered a money quote of all money quotes – a simple phrase that summed up its ambitions and challenges in a nice neat sound byte: “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” software as a service

It is the first thing I thought of when reading this week’s news from Dropbox about their latest updates to the business offering. Dropbox may be among the best personifications of today’s shifting IT landscape and latest aspect of BYO trend, BYOA.

Today, the consumerization of IT is being pushed by a younger, more mobile workforce who are less inclined to draw a line between corporate and personal technology. Employees have good technology at home and they expect to be able to use it at work too. Consumerized services like Dropbox have quickly won over users – 200 million if you take the VC darlings report at face value. Consequently, IT departments are faced with deciding how to protect their networks and manage technology that they perhaps did not procure or provision.

According to what one Gartner analyst described to us as “at least 70+ contenders are looking to capitalize on IT fears by offering an enterprise – i.e. safe, IT friendly, secure, controlled – version of cloud file sync and share,” it’s a tough market for a company to differentiate itself in.  If you paid close enough attention, you’d notice that Dropbox was not on this list.

The problem for those vendors and for IT professionals is that users continue to bring in services like Dropbox in droves, and frankly they do not care what IT thinks. Users are not just looking for a “cloud storage solution”, they want one that is easy to use, addresses their work and life needs, and, most importantly, that is emotive.

To react, the “enterprise guys” talk a big game about winning over users too (see Box and their freemium offering). Trust us, Mr. IT guy, your users will love to use us.  Meanwhile the “consumer guys” are busy building out IT friendly features.

This sets up a battle for hearts and minds that, frankly, feel and think from completely different perspectives. Thus far, there are no clear winners – users bring in what they want while IT buys solutions they hope will stem the tide.

The question becomes, to paraphrase Netflix, “Can Dropbox become Box before Box becomes them?” 

Read more in the IT Guru category

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Supporting employee-introduced apps: 4 steps to consider

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Employees don’t want to work at a company where the first word out of the IT guy or gal’s mouth is always “No.”  And, correspondingly, there’s not a single IT person in the world who wants to be the “yes man” (or woman)–  the three-letter word that causes IT policies to be thrown out the window.

Today, you’d expect a lot more No’s than Yes’ as the BYOA (bring-your-own app) trend continues. It’s especially true when you consider  70 percent of IT professionals believe the use of unauthorized programs resulted in half of their companies’ data loss incidents.

Before you go one way or another–  yes or no — to employee requests for app support, be proactive with your strategy and consider taking these steps:

1. Survey:  Using a free tool like surveymonkey.com, ask your employees what apps they’re using at work and at home to stay productive.  Knowing is half the battle. As long as their answers are kept anonymous, they’re likely to be honest with you.

2. Discuss:  Once you know the top apps being used, find out why. Be prepared: it may be your fault. Are they adopting cloud storage solutions because you’ve failed to provision a mobile VPN? Could be. Sit down and talk with your employees to figure out what’s caused them to go rogue.

3. Learn: Maybe that collaboration app your marketing team is using isn’t the worst thing to happen to your company’s data security. Heck, it could be protecting you. Get on the web, read the documentation and learn about the apps.

4. Make a plan: There’s no silver bullet to making a strategic IT decision about employee desires and requests, but remember: there’s a balance. Create a Plus/Minus/Interesting or “PMI” chart (invented by Edward DeBono). In the “Interesting” column write down anything that may not be obviously positive or negative, but could lead you to some new territory. At the end, you may have your answer.

The use of the collaboration app I discovered being used in Marketing last week…

Plus Minus Interesting
Employees happy (+4) Can’t manage it (-2) Positions me as an early-adopter (+4)
Increases productivity (+3) Doesn’t integrate with AD (-3)  CEO is on our Advisory Board (+3)
Encrypts files not usually encrypted  (+5) Requires company-wide training (-1)
May increase bandwidth usage (-2)
+12
-8
+7

When all is said it done, it’s IT’s choice and no one else’s. So, who do you want to be? The “yes (wo)man” or the “no (wo)man”?  What’s your approach for getting there?