GoCanvas Survey Indicates Growing Comfort with Shadow IT as Mobile Business App Usage Increases

By Jason Peck on February 11, 2016

The ability of mobile apps to rapidly improve organizations' bottom lines and boost top line performance is changing perspectives on Shadow IT – broadly defined as applications and solutions built within an organization that the IT department is either unaware of or has not officially sanctioned.

There is a transformation happening around how organizations are empowering their non-IT employees to create and build mobile business apps tied to cloud-based services to improve performance.

It's awesome seeing GoCanvas lead the way here and help businesses improve the ways they collect, share and learn from their data. 

In case you missed it, we've written previously about how it's time to embrace, not fear Shadow IT.

But how do businesses really view Shadow IT? How are they creating and using mobile business apps to improve productivity and generate cost savings? 

At the end of December, we conducted our 3rd annual survey to better understand this. Check out the slides below for our top takeaways and see below for details. You can also view the press release here

7 Incredible Findings About How Businesses Are Growing More Comfortable With Shadow IT and Mobile Business Apps from Canvas


61% of organizations created a mobile business app in 2015 without any involvement from the IT department, according to our survey of business and IT decision makers – indicating that organizations increasingly view Shadow IT as an opportunity to drive workforce innovation and cost management. The survey also finds mobile business apps improving business productivity, generating cost savings and ensuring compliance. 

The GoCanvas 2015 survey of nearly 400 decision makers from a broad range of company sizes and industries examined how rapidly businesses are shifting from paperwork and outdated processes to cloud-based platforms. 

Key Survey Findings:

Businesses more comfortable with Shadow IT

Employees are creating apps without IT involvement in greater numbers, and businesses are more comfortable with them doing so. The survey finds:

  • 61% of businesses created a new mobile app in 2015 without any IT involvement, and for these businesses that developed apps with no IT support, a whopping one-fifth developed ten or more apps.
  • 81% of businesses are very comfortable or somewhat comfortable building mobile apps without any help from the IT team.
  • The availability of off-the-shelf applications and cloud services are greatly easing the mobile app build process: 76% of those surveyed were able to create a cloud-based app in one day or less.

“Innovation is occurring at such a rapid pace in the enterprise that employees do not want to wait around for overwhelmed IT departments, and plug and play cloud services are in effect transforming everyday employees into Citizen Developers,” said James Robins, CMO at GoCanvas. “The survey suggests that business decision makers and IT departments recognize this evolution, and are shifting their perspective of Shadow IT from a perceived liability to an invaluable tool for rapid innovation and cost management.”

Mobile business apps driving organization-wide benefits

Of those tracking cost savings, 31% said that mobile business apps saved their organization at least $10,000 in 2015. Other key findings:

  • 64% of respondents said that mobile business apps have improved their compliance processes
  • 92% said their organization has become more productive after adopting mobile business apps
  • Two-thirds said mobile business apps saved their organization 5 or more hours of employee time per week

Businesses increasingly mobile

The survey indicates businesses are creating more cloud-based mobile apps, and that greater app usage is also impacting mobile device purchasing decisions:

  • A majority (55%) of businesses said that using mobile business apps have led them to purchase and deploy tablets to their workforce in the past year. 
  • 25% of businesses used at least 10 mobile business apps in 2015, an increase of 5 percentage points from the prior year. Furthermore, 41% used more than 5 mobile business apps in 2015, up from 33% in 2014.
  • When it comes to the forms and processes that businesses most frequently used mobile apps for last year, survey respondents listed inspections (57%), checklists (43%), work/service orders (35%), audits (24%), logs (23%), other (19%), surveys (17%), estimates (10%), invoices (9%) and waivers (3%).

The survey of GoCanvas customers, conducted December 16-23, 2015, included companies from a broad range of industries and sizes. Of the respondents, 24% were from businesses with 500+ employees; 16% were from businesses with 101-499 employees; 19% worked at organizations with 26-100 employees; and 41% hailed from small businesses with 25 employees or less.

Interested in how your organization can automate and streamline work processes to improve bottom and top-line performance? Try GoCanvas Free today!