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How do you keep employees from deploying UC end-user applications?

A successful business collaboration strategy needs employee buy-in. UC expert Jon Arnold explains how to keep employees from deploying their own business collaboration tools.

No matter how clear your business collaboration strategy is, employees will choose their own applications. It's just another symptom of the consumerization of IT. The cloud truly levels the playing field between IT and end users, which may have its benefits -- along with unintended consequences for the enterprise.

With the cloud, employees have the means to choose their own end-user applications independently from IT. You can't overlook the possibility that employees are deploying their own apps out of necessity, because IT either has a poor history of properly supporting applications or an adversarial relationship with end users.

Presuming you have a business collaboration strategy in place and some semblance of a unified communications (UC) platform, all that's missing is employee buy-in to realize the expected benefits. Even when you have business collaboration tools available, however, employees will make their own choices for a multitude of reasons. But IT won't know the full extent of employees' activity. To mitigate the risk of employees deploying their own UC end-user applications, here are two things you can do.

First, emphasize the importance of collaboration for driving productivity -- not just for each employee, but for the teams with which they work. While the corporate strategy may not resonate with them, the UC concept should. Namely, that collaboration works best when everyone uses the same business collaboration tools in an integrated manner that offers the same user experience.

Second, IT needs to explain the downsides of using consumer-grade end-user applications. Specifically, they generally lack the feature set found in UC apps, don't scale well and often don't perform at an enterprise-grade level. Professional features are especially important when collaborating with outside parties that include suppliers, partners and customers. Unsanctioned, employee-deployed end-user applications also pose data security risks, which IT has limited resources to address.

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