Shine a light on “Shadow IT” by standardizing productivity applications

From establishing rules and policies to monitoring the corporate network for BYOD, IT departments are constantly searching for better ways to combat shadow IT—the employees and teams acquiring and using their own devices and solutions inside organizations without explicit organizational approval. While the motivation may seem trivial enough, the consequences can have a significant negative impact to an organization.

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Risky business

For almost every organization, falling into the trap of purchasing and maintaining multiple applications from various vendors that accomplish the same task is all too easy. Perhaps there’s a lack of communication within the purchasing group. What often happens is that applications purchased at the department or team level simply go unnoticed.

There’s also the common scenario where organizations have embraced a multi-operating system environment to accommodate the working preferences of their employees. Unfortunately, this often necessitates purchasing software from multiple sources when the preferred vendor doesn’t support the required platforms.

The result is disorganized, sub-optimal ad-hoc workflows that negatively impact productivity, security, and the bottom line. It’s relatively easy to make the case for standardization when considering these four benefits:

Standardization Benefits

1. Reduced burden on IT

If multiple applications designed for the same task proliferate throughout an organization, the IT department is stuck with the unpleasant task of maintenance, including:

  • Bug fixes
  • Software patch tracking and management
  • System integrations
  • Support tickets

One popular PDF application, for example, has on average over 200 security vulnerabilities reported against it every year. This results in almost daily updates for IT to manage and endless disruption for end users. Magnify this problem with potentially a half-dozen other PDF applications and readers, and it quickly becomes an untenable situation.

Standardizing on a PDF productivity solution like Nuance® Power PDF allows IT teams to focus their efforts. With focus, they can monitor and maintain applications and processes in a more organized, effective manner. This frees up support staff to produce helpful resources and enhance user training, which can help accelerate user adoption, promote smarter workflows, and decrease helpdesk tickets.

2. Reduced risk of non-compliance

A “hard cost” of disorganized IT infrastructure comes in the form of financial penalties associated with license audits. Maintaining compliance with each application can be a difficult task—and a pricey one. Non-compliance fees are expensive endeavors that can quickly drain savings. As a result, many IT organizations have resigned themselves to the fact that it’s an unavoidable cost of doing business by including it as a line item on the annual budget.

Instead, lower your cost structure and make licensing affordable with software from a vendor like Nuance that offers volume discounts for multiple users and policies that don’t threaten surprise audits.

3. Enhanced user productivity and collaboration

When only a limited number of employees have access to software, workflow bottlenecks become real productivity killers. Consider, for example, an employee that needs to edit a PDF contract. Without a PDF productivity tool, they must rely on a small group of employees that have the necessary software to convert the document and send it back before changes can be made. When you consider the cost in expensive people hours from lost time due to disruption and waiting, the return on investment (ROI) of equipping all knowledge workers with PDF productivity software like Nuance Power PDF is quite clear.

Dutch firm Fugro, the world’s leading geo-intelligence and asset integrity solutions provider, is an example of the benefits that can be achieved from standardizing on a PDF tool. By giving each knowledge worker the Power PDF application, workflows that used to take hours or days to complete (due to waiting) could now be completed in minutes. After Fugro standardized its PDF solution, the global enterprise realized immediate productivity gains and streamlined workflows for over 2,300 employees worldwide.

Another universal activity that stands to be improved is the document review and revision process. Every department in an organization needs to collaborate – whether it be on contracts, financial statements, marketing brochures or other important documents. Varying applications or different versions of the same application may prevent colleagues from easily sharing and reviewing each other’s work. Standardizing on a PDF productivity solution opens up new opportunities for collaboration by ensuring everyone is working from the same compatible software. Now every worker has access to the same tools, so that teams can readily share, edit, and annotate documents in a common format.

4. Enhanced security and regulatory compliance

Standardizing on a PDF productivity solution protects your documents from being the cause of the next big data breach. Too often we hear that security policies are getting in the way of user productivity. A recent study was conducted by security solutions provider Bromium where they surveyed 500 CISOs from large enterprises across the US, UK and Germany. It shows that 74% of CISOs say that employees have expressed frustration that security policies are hampering productivity.

When users feel confident that they can use all the features of a standardized PDF tool, security is no longer at odds with productivity. This makes your organization more secure, which translates into fewer vulnerabilities. Nuance Power PDF Advanced includes tools to help users and IT departments consistently protect a single PDF, and large volumes of PDF documents, with:

  • FileOpen DRM compatibility
  • Microsoft Rights Management Services (RMS)
  • Dynamic watermarks, redaction and metadata scrubbing (which can also be automated with Power PDF)
  • eSignature workflows with DocuSign®
  • Password encryption with up to 256-bit AES to protect documents and metadata
Standardize on the best PDF productivity application for users and for IT

Standardization benefits the entire organization and delivers a quick ROI. By standardizing on a powerful PDF productivity tool like Nuance Power PDF, now available for the Windows and Mac OS operating system, organizations will reap the benefits of more secure, productive, and cost effective document workflows.

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Michael Vincent

About Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Nuance Document Imaging's Power PDF and OmniPage OCR products. As the product expert, his goal is to articulate to customers how the capabilities of these products can solve their business problems, while keeping a close eye on the market to ensure Nuance’s products continue to be positioned for success. Before joining Nuance, Michael held various marketing and product management positions with Lexmark and was also a software developer and consultant early in his career. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Management Science from Georgia Tech and an MBA in Marketing and Leadership from Emory University. He grew up an “Army brat” in Germany, and enjoys traveling, a good EPL or Bundesliga soccer match, and coaching his four sons in a variety of sports and other extracurricular activities.