When IT purchasers and business leaders look to procure a new software solution for their business, the goals are simple: enabling employees to work better, faster, more efficiently and more cost-effectively. However, in recent years, the roles of both IT departments and business executives in IT purchasing have changed considerably. The Consumerization of IT and BYOD movements coupled with the increasing tech savviness of employees in general mean that these solutions have to align with individual team and department needs or there’s a risk of teams splintering and taking matters into their own hands. The increasing availability and ease-of-use of cloud-based and mobile software solutions for common business needs such as collaboration, file storage, expense management and project management allow for easy deployment throughout a team, often with no installation or software required beyond a simple web browser. This allows teams to seek out solutions on their own if their needs aren’t being met, leading to a phenomenon called “shadow IT,” where renegade IT costs that IT leadership may not even be aware of can crop up across your business.
Luckily, businesses are adaptable creatures. According to a new report from Forrester Research, business leaders and executives are increasing their spend on IT at a greater rate than IT departments themselves. Line of business leaders are now directly influencing the types of software their teams acquire more than ever before, a result of the increased pressure their employees are leveraging as a result of the BYOD movement. Businesses are wise to adapt this approach, as the BYOD model isn’t going away: BYOD reached 40% enterprise penetration in 2011, and tech giants like Samsung are making big pushes into the enterprise space with new BYOD-friendly software and hardware.
In the past, IT departments dictated all software usage, determining a company-wide platform for business applications, and for some industries, departments or functions this method is still perfectly valid. However, each team within a business has unique cultural and business needs when it comes to software that a company-wide solution may not always meet. For example, a team that regularly holds large-scale meetings or trainings that’s looking for a remote collaboration tool should consider GlobalMeet®, with support for up to 125 members and access to feedback tools like Q&A and polling. But a smaller, more nimble team may prefer iMeet®, with its intuitive interface and more personal, video-centric feel for smaller-scale meetings and client demos. While there is often overlap in functionality, increasingly discerning employees may not be willing to settle for an application that simply “does the job.”
And ultimately, that’s the benefit of getting line of business leaders more closely involved in the IT purchasing process. These leaders know their departments’ needs, both from a workflow perspective and a cultural one, and can avoid renegade IT costs by making smarter software acquisitions.
For more on the ever-changing trends of business and collaboration, download PGi’s free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration” today!