Love it or hate it, users are bringing cloud based apps on phones, tablets and laptops to their workplaces every day.
When internet banking took off many years ago, employees used to spend time paying bills, etc on their work PCs. Now they are doing a lot more than banking with a ton of apps on their devices.
These apps cover areas such as communications, task management, photo/content editing, news, social media, travel, games, sports, and so on. Cloud apps are utilised by corporate users at work time to be efficient with their transactions.
Most mobile device users have data plans and they can utilise whatever apps they like whenever and where ever, regardless of the network they are connected to. Even if they are on a company provided device and network, they will continue using their favourite apps.
BYOA is the new norm and is now part of the popular work style. CIOs need to embrace it to continue to provide an effective technology environment to enhance productivity of users.
Leaving things in the hands of users is not an effective corporate strategy, so, how do you thrive in this brave new world?
1. Accept the reality
Change is hard when you have to give up any level of control. This is the major concern for IT control towers. When it comes to users, applications cannot be absolutely controlled anymore. Those days are over.
Controlling users like that always give rise to rouge application usage anyway. So, the best way to combat this is to accept the reality and work with it.
Once you accept the reality you become open for creative ideas to combat the problems. Ensure your team is onboard with this change of heart.
2. Setup an Apps registry
Allow users to enter and list their popular apps. Make sure you capture data as to why they like using them. This is the only way to know what apps are actually used by the user population. Not all apps can be detected by technology.
Periodically and Proactively survey your users. Frequently communicate the results of the survey and ensure their top 20 apps are tested and allowed in the network.
3. Setup a management layer
Ensure all devices have a management layer once they enter the corporate network. There are good choices for mobile device management systems in the market, so get one.
Ensure the relevant policies around using applications are understood by users and strictly enforced using technology. Anti-virus and Data Privacy are the top priorities here.
Auto Provisioning of corporate apps and remote wipe capabilities are great to have.
4. Monitor Apps usage
Ensure the apps usage is monitored so that your users are in compliant for licensing requirements. Ensure business editions of cloud apps are used where possible.
Patching and updating apps to latest versions is also a must.
The reason users love cloud apps is the freedom they have to pick and choose and to change their minds half way thorough. There will be new apps popping up and existing apps disappearing all the time.
Changes to mobile operating systems and new device releases do affect the Apps ecosystem. So, keep an ear out for these announcements.
Apps that drop out of popular usage needs to be migrated carefully to the next popular app. This is a dreaded challenge but cannot be ignored.
5. Give users a better way
Allow users to build their own applications. This is actually possible using platforms such as K2. Use the integration capabilities available across the popular cloud solutions to make these apps more appealing. You have full control over the platform and this is one way to give some and take some back.
Building apps and delivering unique capabilities that enhance productivity on the devices your users want to use is still a key responsibility of IT. This can be done in partnership with users and tech experts. Seek out and invest in these platforms.
jEyLaBs is a K2 specialist and we help organisations build and deploy better applications on modern platforms. Contact us at email@example.com for further information.