Access and Feeds

Enterprise Collaboration: Organizations Slow to Match the Collaboration Capabilities of Consumer-Grade Tools

By Dick Weisinger

Formal collaboration tools should be an essential part of every company’s infrastructure, said 89 percent of respondents on a recent survey by AIIM.  But most companies haven’t yet implemented them.  40 percent say that either the tools aren’t there or what tools exist are poor options.  The result is that consumer-oriented products like DropBox and Box are routinely used by employees in many organizations, whether or not these tools are sanctioned or not.

In fact, only 23 percent of organizations have been able to come up with an enterprise-grade alternative to these tools.  56 percent of organizations have banned consumer-grade file sharing and sync tools altogether, and 27 percent of organizations restrict access to them.

Users identified the most collaboration important use cases as follows:

  • File Sharing (74 percent)
  • Workflows for review and approval (49 percent)
  • Access to content from Mobile devices (37 percent)

Doug Miles, Director Market Intelligence of AIIM, said that “the convenience and ease-of-use of consumer file-share and sync services make them very attractive for collaboration.  But such tools have security implications and organisations must look to provide flexible and easy-to-use collaboration functionality across the business if they really want to discourage use of consumer tools…  Most organizations now have a large ecosystem of collaborators, including external partners and third parties as well as internal staff.  But managing the tools required for such collaboration can be a challenge. While IT support for collaboration beyond the firewall has made great advances, organizations appear to be lacking in the support required to really reap the benefits of collaboration.”

Piers Linney, co-CEO of Outsourcery, said that “as cloud solutions become a part of everyday life, it’s inevitable that employees will begin to use the consumer-grade file-share tools that they recognise to ease business processes if there aren’t suitable alternatives available, even if they aren’t the most effective or secure for business use…  This trend towards the adoption of ‘less secure’ collaboration technologies in the workplace is likely to keep growing unless business grade alternatives are developed and implemented by IT teams…  Shadow IT is slowly but surely becoming an issue within businesses and people are now increasingly self-provisioning in the workplace… 80 per cent of respondents admitted to using non-approved SaaS applications in their jobs, and we predict that this number will increase in coming years. This risk can be mitigated if IT departments stay one step ahead, providing secure tools before workers look for them themselves.”




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