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Parenting is hard. You always have a lot on your mind; you constantly have about a million tasks to do every day, not to mention planning (and fretting) over your child’s future. Other aspects of your life pile up and add to a never-ending ‘to-do’ list. You love your children, but let’s face it: parenting is a daily grind. It’s high-cost/low-reward work. And this is before you try and decide what kind of parent you want to be. In psychology there are four recognised styles of parenting: authoritative, permissive, neglectful, and authoritarian. Each one is made up of different characteristics and your children will react differently to each of the styles. Of course, the key here would be to strike a good balance between being strict and relaxed – because isn’t balance the key to life?

There’s more of a connection between parenting and IT management than you might think. As a CIO, you also have a lot on your mind. And just like when it comes to parents disciplining their children, you can be too rigid or too relaxed with your company’s IT. Perhaps you allow too many apps into your mix and risk shadow IT, or you’re too unyielding and breed discontent and rebellion – which also risks shadow IT. Finding the middle ground is hard. Your job is to develop a competitive IT strategy to align with the needs of your business – which are changing faster than ever – that keeps up with the rate of innovation in technology.

Too many apps spoil the broth

It’s a cliché, but when it comes to your IT tools it really is about quality over quantity. If you are too lenient when it comes to the apps you allow in your company, your employees will use just about anything they get their hands on that will assist them in their working. The problem is that some of these apps will be ‘flavour of the month’ and will be discontinued (by users) after a certain amount of time for the next flashy tool. With that comes the problem of different pieces of work held on different apps; half-finished projects done with one app are finished on another try here. Plus, you will have some team members working on certain tools and other team members on others which will lead to mix-ups, duplicate and canalised work, and eventually your permissive management style (which may have been popular to begin with) will result in frustrated users, potentially poor morale and increasing breakdowns in productivity.

Risking shadow IT

While you want your employees to feel like they are working productively and efficiently, a laissez-faire attitude here could result in a high percentage of Shadow IT use. That means an enhanced compliance risk for software asset management, the risk of failing a company-wide audit, non-compliance with governance and standards, a lack of testing which could be a risk to your entire IT system and overall an IT service and capacity that is reduced.

Uniting the family

A unified hub where your employees can find each other, share work, collaborate and take advantage of all the important tools they need to get their most effective work done is what you need to join your teams together across your organisation. Office 365 is the flexible cloud-based SaaS that ensures your company has everything it needs to work together, all in one place and can be accessed from anywhere, at any time on any device.

The business landscape is in a state of transformation and the cloud is both affecting (and providing solutions for) our business needs within this new environment. To remain competitive, organisations have to be on the constant lookout for better ways of doing things, both internally and for their customers. Your organisation’s IT capabilities are central to that.

Office 365 incorporates an entire collaboration platform in SharePoint Online, a powerful, enterprise grade file storage and sync solution with OneDrive for Business, plus the full suite of Office apps that everyone is at home with. With the Office Store you can also add many third party apps as your work dictates. That means everyone can work with the same tools, from the same hub, without having to turn to shadow IT.

Trust your team

The plethora of apps and the volume of personal devices carried into the workplace today means the possibility of entirely eliminating shadow IT is relatively unlikely. However, by providing an IT environment that becomes a central hub for every tool and solution that your users need, you will be able to change the culture in your organisation. Perhaps the best way forward in both parenting and IT management is trust. Provide your end users with better tools, provide training and good adoption techniques and trust that they will appreciate that you are trying to do what’s best for them…or you could be the authoritative type and shout a lot!
For more advice on how you can strike the right balance within your IT environment, contact Consortium here .