Shadow IT Rowan Manson Cobry Blog 2

Shadow IT, Traditional Tech and the Digital Natives


Is traditional tech limiting collaboration in your organisation?  Do you have the tools that attract the new Digital Native employees? This week, Damson Cloud’s very own Fintan Murphy sits down with Cobry’s Rowan Manson, building upon last week’s fascinating discussion on G Suite, collaboration and digital transformation at London’s Google Cloud NEXT conference. Check out the above video to access the full conversation, and be sure to follow us for more industry-leading insights.

Initial Obstacles

Kicking off the discussion with an awesome balcony view over the conference lobby, we delve into some of those initial challenges posed by onboarding customers with no experience using Google solutions, including G Suite. According to Rowan, the team at Cobry encounter a variety of questions, often starting with the issue of reliability. This is a huge factor for companies – especially those involved in the manufacturing industry, for example. “Whether it’s keeping uptime alive, or they have a system down in their own victory. Security is another big issue,” shares Rowan.

The maturity of Google’s cloud offering has significantly diversified the type of customer availing of Cobry’s services. As a result of the platform’s growing prominence, Shadow IT has been on the rise, with companies and IT departments using Google tools for the simple reason that they are better. Whilst some departments would be eager to adopt new tools and innovate; others, including finance, are often more hesitant. Dependency on Excel, for example, is real and must be addressed, says Rowan.

Hidden Features and Big Hits

In some cases, it may be the head of a certain department that drives their organisation’s migration to Google. Cobry highlights a recent project involving an advanced Google Sheets training session with a finance company, where highlighting the tool’s useful features was crucial. Even those more hidden features, including those around design, have proved to be a big hit. “It’s nothing too complicated, and it can be used for simple things. If you need something quick and looking good, it’s perfect.”

Whilst Microsoft solutions aren’t generally user-friendly, they do have that advantage of familiarity. However, as is pointed out, these two points are often conflated with one another. When dealing with these customers, it is often helpful to ask the question: do you find this user-friendly, or are you simply used to it?

User Experience is Key

For Rowan Manson and the team at Cobry, Jamboard has emerged as a core element of their day-to-day work. “We’ve started using it more and more, simply because of the ease of drawing. Any new process or something you want to map out, or if you have a meeting you’d like to log in the calendar – it’s great,” he says. Jamboard also carries the huge benefits of a trial subscription – perfect for digital newbies testing new waters. Rowan agrees that this is especially useful for those working in creative industries: you can even add people to a call straight from its simple and slick interface.

Rowan’s favourite Jamboard tool is AutoDraw, but finds that he uses text recognition most frequently: “It even picks up terrible handwriting, and I’m the worst for that!”

That wraps up our discussion for this week, and we’re incredibly grateful to Rowan Manson and the team at Cobry for taking part. Stay tuned for our latest discussion on changing the way we work, and as usual – like, follow and share!


As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialise in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including G Suite, Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.

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