Cloud Monitoring – 3 Ways to Shine a Light on Shadow IT with End User Experience Management

Cloud Monitoring – 3 Ways to Shine a Light on Shadow IT with End User Experience Management

By Mike Marks, Chief Product Evangelist, Aternity Inc.

Enterprises are increasingly relying on public, private, and hosted clouds to speed up application deployment and reduce expenses. As businesses adapt to customer demands and competitive threats, they’ve expanded their use of SaaS for business critical apps, not just productivity apps. The result is that SaaS is the main driver of public cloud IT spend, comprising 70% of last year’s cloud expenditures, according to IDC. In many cases, central IT has failed to keep up with business unit demand, leading to the prevalence of Shadow IT- IT deployment decisions made without central IT’s explicit participation or approval.

Shadow IT can be Good for Organizations

Shadow IT fosters the ability for business units and developers to innovate quickly to solve problems and evaluate ideas with low cost and fast decision making. In many cases, Shadow IT is an innovation driver, as discussed in a Forbes article which cites Dell as an organization that embraces Shadow IT as part of its innovation culture.

Seen in this light, the value of Shadow IT in driving innovation sounds a lot like the benefits of DevOps. In fact, last year, Gartner coined the term “Bimodal IT,” to describe the importance of enterprise IT teams finding balance between Mode 1 “traditional, emphasizing scalability, efficiency, safety and accuracy” and Mode 2, “non-sequential, emphasizing agility and speed.”

With clear benefits to organizations, Shadow IT is here to stay. The question is, “How can central IT manage it?”

3 Ways End User Experience Management Can Shine a Light on Shadow IT

A variety of solutions can help IT evaluate technology requests more quickly, speed up implementation times, and foster better collaboration with business units. End User Experience Management (EUEM) takes a different perspective in illuminating the use of Shadow IT – the perspective of the workforce end user. Here are three ways End User Experience Management can help enterprises shine a light on Shadow IT.

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

The first step in fixing a problem is to recognize that you have it. 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.

EUEM provides an alternative solution where 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.


2. Monitor Every Employee’s Actual Usage

When it comes to monitoring the actual end user experience of cloud-delivered apps, IT teams using traditional Application Performance Management (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.

EUEM 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. More information about this approach is available in this EUEM landscape white paper.

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.

Illuminate Shadow IT

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 leverage EUEM to illuminate Shadow IT, hold cloud vendors accountable, and manage a successful migration of business critical apps to cloud.

About the Author

As Chief Product Evangelist for Aternity, Mike Marks is responsible for planning and executing the go-to market product strategy. Before joining Aternity, Mike held senior roles in marketing, business development, and product marketing in the cloud, managed services, and service assurance teams of CA Technologies. A graduate of Brown University and Stanford Graduate School of Business, Mike also spent eight years as a submarine officer in the United States Navy. He lives outside of Boston, blogs at, and tweets as @MikeIMarks.

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