LoBs are increasingly controlling deployment of collaborative technologies: Study

Being able to communicate outside emerges as a top reason for choosing consumer grade applications by LoBs

Selecting, purchasing, and implementing collaboration technology is increasingly being taken up by Line of Business (LoB), according to the Connected Enterprise Report 2016, released by Dimension Data recently. The research is based on survey of 580 IT managers, IT directors, CIOs, and others responsible for information systems at their organizations as well as 320 LoB managers.

The study found that

  • Nearly six out of 10 LoBs have their own budget—independent of IT—to purchase collaboration technology.
  • More than half of LoBs have staff within the department to both implement and support collaboration technology.
  • At nearly half of enterprises, general managers, regional vice presidents, and other executives without a role in IT take a leading role in formulating their company’s collaboration strategy. And at a third of enterprises, the influence these executives have is increasing.

However, not many Los are authorized to purchase collaboration technology without IT’s “knowledge and consent.” About 24% of enterprises say LoBs can purchase and implement collaboration technology without IT’s approval or involvement, says the report.

Like any other trend, the impact of this change of shifting control is mixed. On one hand, LoBs who use this have a better handle on the actual usage and can take the decision based on actual requirement; on the other, IT being out of decision making removes a powerful central influencer, which could mean the LoBs end up buying multiple technologies, making the integration complex.

The report also talks of the penetration of shadow IT in the organizations. But the real new perspective is that the study has co-related that with this shift of control to LoB.

“There are many reasons why the use of consumer-grade collaboration applications is so widespread within the enterprise,” says the report. “Often delivered in a software-as-a-service model, they tend to be easy for either IT or end users to adopt. Often sold in a freemium model, they tend to be less expensive than business applications. The top reasons LoBs say they use them, according to the report are

  • Employees are more familiar with how to use consumer-grade collaboration apps than business apps.
  • Employees want to use the same applications for personal and business use.
  • Employees need to communicate and collaborate with customers, partners, and collaborators outside the company, and collaboration applications provided by IT are for internal employees only


The report stresses the last point. “IT may not realize the importance of this last point. Many business-grade messaging, enterprise social, and other types of collaboration applications that IT has deployed allow for interactions with others inside the company, but not with people outside the organization. Sending instant messages to colleagues is certainly useful, but there will be occasions when the end users will want to send messages to external participants. If the business messaging application doesn’t allow for this, the end user will turn to the consumer-grade equivalent,” notes the report.

In fact, being able to interact with the people outside the enterprise is one of the top (No 2) reasons given by LoBs to go for consumer grade applications.

Well, the Shadow IT could actually well be Open IT.

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