Have you taken an employee cloud services survey?

Integrator GlassHouse Technologies encourages IT teams to begin cloud migrations by better understanding what employees have already brought in the door.

The various bloggers — and commenters — here on the ZDNet blog network debate often talk vigorously about the influence of the bring your own device (BYOD) movement. What they are really arguing about, mostly, are the applications and services being brought into organizations under the radar without the direct knowledge of the IT organization.

You can choose to squash or forbid those services, or you can use that knowledge to help transform business processes within your company more quickly, said Ken Copas, cloud services director at GlassHouse Technologies, an integrator that manages both on-premise and cloud infrastructure solutions.

"Most companies are not aware of the ubiquitous way that employees are using consumer available services, and they certainly haven't dreamed of all the ways that they might benefit from them," Copas said.

There have been some rather enlightening surveys about the bring your own cloud (BYOC) or bring your own application (BYOA) movement

For example, some data published by LogMeIn notes that approximately 69 percent of all social software deployments (such as Yammer) were originally introduced by employees. Another 40 percent of collaboration and document sharing resources (like Google Docs, EverNote or Skype) were adopted first by employees. 

The reality is that the days when an IT team could spend months selecting and testing "appropriate" applications and services for their companies are pretty much gone. So, why not get better acquainted with what some of the early adopters are using to get a better grip on what might be appropriate for the rest of the organization?

If you don't, they will find workaround that might cause security risks, Copas said, relating the story of one employee who used to take photos of his meeting schedule with his smartphone because he wasn't able to connect with his corporate calendar. "These things will happen more and more because [employees] are used to doing things in certain ways and that is what they have come to expect," he said.

There are two big reasons that it serves IT teams' strategic agenda to be on top of what cloud services employees are using, Copas noted.

First, because it might provide them with a chance to approach employees and convince them to use services that are more acceptable or that are company-endorsed. Second, because the entire organization might benefit from some of the applications they have uncovered and tested in the real world.