The secret systems that can deliver efficiency to your business

Do you know all the tools and solutions your employees are using while they’re on the job for you? Are you sure?

The rise of mobile technology has provided consumers with a bewildering smorgasbord of devices and apps to choose from on the home front.

The average Australian had close to 100 apps installed on their phone and used 36 of them each month, according to App Annie’s Spotlight on Consumer App Usage Report. And that was two years ago!

It’s natural enough for individuals to want to take the same pick-n-mix approach to technology in the office as they do at home, rather than being satisfied with the devices and solutions you or your IT department have mandated for their use.

It’s especially likely they will want to do so if the latter are outdated, clunky or unsuited to the tasks that employees are required to perform.

Risky business?

There are undisputed cyber-security risks associated with the use of undocumented solutions and systems in a workplace. They can provide an easy “in” for hackers and cyber-criminals looking to make mischief or money from the unauthorised access to company systems, and corporate and customer data.

Stamping out the undocumented solutions and giving the “culprits” a slap over the wrist is likely to be the instinctive response of many business and IT leaders and, in a climate of real and rising risks, it’s not an unreasonable one.

Hacking and cyber crime are on the rise, in Australia and around the world. Barely a week goes by without news of another local business or organisation falling victim to an attack or serious data breach and the financial fall-out can be considerable.

It was for local property valuation firm LandMark White, which put the damages bill at $7 million after 140,000 records were stolen from one of its valuation platforms in early 2019.

Turning the self-selection of solutions into a win-win

No business owner or IT leader would care to star in such a cautionary tale. Nor should they have to. Empowering employees to choose some of their own tools, and putting security measures in place to manage them, can result in a win-win for both the business and the team.

How is this best done?

Start by spending some time with employees on the ground, with the object of getting an up-to-date picture of the processes and functions they perform. Once you’ve done so, you’ll have an idea for the sorts of tools and technologies that could help them operate more efficiently and productively. And you’ll be able to identify the systems currently in place that may be hampering their efforts to do so.

You’ll also be sending a message to your workforce that you value their input and won’t be mandating systems and solutions which don’t solve their problems or are not suited to the operational needs of the enterprise.

Revising your application management process to enable employees to propose new solutions and have them evaluated on usefulness and security grounds, rather than introducing them by stealth, is a good next step.

What’s most important is that you and your fellow decision-makers adjust your focus. It’s time to abandon the notion that processes need to be prescriptively managed from above, and embrace the idea that employees can and should be involved in selecting solutions to help them carry out their duties more effectively.

Doing so can benefit the business and your team – and help you put paid to the security risk unsanctioned tools and applications continue to pose.

Christian Lucarelli, Vice President Sales – APAC, Nintex

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