Yes, my loyal readers… you guessed right, this IS a hybrid Zoolander + Oscar Wilde reference. A feat so daring, only a Denworth could pull it off. What’s it all about?
Well – as you may have heard, we’re in the middle of prepping the largest product announcement in CTERA history, and while there’s a lot we’re going to talk about, I wanted to prep the announcement with a short discussion on usability. I’m going to try to be succinct here and quickly get to the punchline:
1. Enterprise IT stuff is complex, and people need familiar, simple tools
Security, governance, authentication, encryption… why does an IT user care? The short answer is that an enterprise’s IT priorities will always take a back seat to user experience. If users don’t have simple tools to use, they walk.
Our friends at ESG said it best when they surveyed a number of enterprise IT organizations and found that 60 percent of IT professionals know or suspect rogue online file sharing in their organizations.
Why do employees go this route? Well, the general consensus is that it’s not that people are inherently sinister – but rather that in today’s hyper-competitive markets employees will err on the side of going rogue when an unapproved solution helps them better do their job. Frost & Sullivan released a survey in 2013 that details the reasons employees go rogue:
As seen, the issue largely stems from an innate desire to “get work done”.
2. User Experience does not only mean “Pretty UI”
OK… everyone wants to move to the cloud, but there are a host of considerations that compound the “get work done” imperative. IT organizations can achieve big wins when they provide a MORE productive work experience for their users than what is available to the average consumer.
In this case I’m going to show product announcement cards a bit and suggest that there’s an unrealized amount of benefit to keeping project and user data as close as possible to the edge of the network. In CTERA, we’ll often consider this “warm data”, but there’s no sense in moving 100GBs of project data to the cloud if your WAN access isn’t good enough to keep productive. People want to “get work done”, and that means file access and collaboration needs to work well even when network connectivity is either not fast enough or is offline.
Many of today’s cloud services espouse the elimination of ‘enterprise storage’ for home directories and for collaboration. That said, organizations can’t rip out filers and SharePoint servers from an office without reconciling the significant difference in performance that this new deployment model can create.
3. No adoption = no data. No data = no control
This one is pretty simple… but is not always self-evident as IT organizations go about assessing the level of success they’ve achieved by rolling out a new internal product or service. Fundamentally, a CIO cannot turn to his (or hers) CEO or the Board and say that everything’s under control unless all of a user’s data has been accounted for. The key to governance…? you guessed it: usability & productivity.
As much as organizations aspire to implement the tightest security models, if users fail to adopt the technologies that IT is sanctioning, then there can be no security. Organizations must find the right balance of control and user enablement. This rarely comes from saying “no” to the use of unsanctioned file sharing, storage and protection tools… but rather, “here’s something that is better and will make your job even easier”.
Of course, we know “there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking”. Next week we intend on both turning some heads and giving a glimpse of what’s in store for the future. Stay tuned for CTERA’s “Blue Steel”.