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3 ways to arm central IT with the ability to manage shadow IT

Aternity November 10, 2015


Shadow IT is not going away. It’s a fact of life in most organizations. Contrary to all of the fear-mongering, Shadow IT benefits enterprises, to the extent that it drives innovation and fast decision making. A recent Network World article on Shadow IT in the Cloud nicely summarized five key risks, including compliance to data security and protection standards, concern about where enterprise data gets shared in the cloud, the robustness of consumer-grade applications used in the enterprise, the inability to leverage volume-pricing, and IT’s responsibility for the performance of apps that they don’t control. So, the question becomes how to arm Central IT with the ability to manage Shadow IT.

End User Experience Management Can Help Address the Financial and Management Challenges

End User Experience Management (EUEM) products like Aternity play a role in helping organizations monitor and manage their cloud applications, whether authorized or not. By monitoring the actual usage and performance of cloud-delivered applications, from the perspective of the end user’s device, Aternity can help enterprises tackle the financial and IT management challenges of Shadow IT. Here’s how.

1. Identify Actual Usage of Shadow IT (without Expense Reports)

The Network World article poses an interesting point. Rather than individual employees buying software on their own, if the enterprise could aggregate demand across all interested employees, they could extract volume pricing discounts from their providers. That’s a good point. The larger issue at hand though, is that with Shadow IT, the finance teams have no ability to plan for software purchases. Enterprises only discover the prevalence of Shadow IT when employees seek reimbursement for their purchases. Clearly understanding actual usage is key to both predicting software expenses, and minimizing them by aggregating demand.

A shockingly high percentage of executives don’t have a handle on the pervasiveness of Shadow IT in their organizations. According to a 2014 Cloud Security Alliance survey of 212 IT executives, close to 72% of executives don’t know how many Shadow IT applications are used in their companies, whereas only 8% said they do.

The solution? Expense reports! One suggestion from a Rackspace whitepaper on tracking shadow IT usage is to sit with your finance team and review employees’ expense reports to identify the specific cloud services they used for work purposes. This is certainly one way to do it, but probably not the most efficient or thorough. In fairness, the Rackspace paper also suggests using network scanning and detection tools, and reviewing network traffic reports.

End User Experience Management provides a better solution. With Aternity, the Line of Business and IT Operations teams get continuous, enterprise-wide visibility into actual usage of every application, whether authorized or not, on any employee’s device. They can analyze app usage across departments and geographies to validate appropriate cloud license expenditures.

Monitor the usage and performance of every app across the enterprise

2. Monitor Every Employee’s Actual Usage

The Network World article addressed the challenge that IT has when dealing with Shadow IT. CIOs are held responsible for security, governance, and compliance for the full portfolio of applications used in the enterprise, whether they are authorized or not. This responsibility extends to performance as well. When users experience slow applications, they call IT, whether the applications are authorized or not. So IT needs a way to monitor the performance of these apps, to troubleshoot end user issues quickly, and to proactively identify and resolve problems.

When it comes to monitoring the actual end user experience of cloud-delivered apps, IT teams using traditional APM products face challenges because they don’t have access to the infrastructure on which the applications run. Traditional APM products using JavaScript injection for user experience require access to the application code, or the use of load balancers or proxy servers. Synthetic monitoring products don’t measure actual end user experience; they only emulate it. Neither of these approaches help you track an employee’s actual usage of a cloud-delivered app.

Aternity monitors the actual end user experience for any cloud-delivered application as it renders on the user’s device, providing a user-centric vantage point that provides a real-time and historical view of the actual usage of any app on any device. Learn more about Aternity’s approach with this EUEM Landscape Whitepaper.

Get a real-time and historical view of every user’s experience of any application on any device

3. Hold Cloud Vendors Accountable with SLAs Based on Business Processes

If your team relies on SaaS vendors for business critical apps, then EUEM can help you hold your vendor accountable to SLAs that are based on the business processes your workforce executes with the apps. Although cloud providers’ SLAs cover infrastructure uptime, incident response time commitments, and penalties, these are insufficient to guarantee excellent end user experience. Aternity enables IT to monitor the user’s interactions with applications, in the context of a workflow, like ‘look up patient’ in an EHR, ‘process a claim’ in a CRM, or ‘look up inventory’ in a POS.

IT can define SLAs based on user interactions with applications in the context of a business workflow


Balancing ongoing operations and maintenance while fostering innovation is tough enough. With many budgets allocating up to 80-90% on the former, the ideal allocation is more like 50/50, according to a ComputerWorld article on balancing maintenance and innovation. Central IT can use Aternity to illuminate Shadow IT, hold cloud vendors accountable, and manage a successful migration of business critical apps to cloud.

Named a ‘Cool Vendor’ in Gartner’s 2015 Cool Vendors in Vendor Management Report, Aternity can be used by enterprises to hold their cloud vendors accountable to SLAs based on business processes.

You can also learn more about Aternity’s latest innovations in these areas in an upcoming webinar introducing Aternity Version 9. Register here.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.


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