Bringing Shadow IT Back Into the Light

  • Bringing Shadow IT Back Into the Light

Bringing Shadow IT Back Into the Light

Jeff Ashcroft

First post in our new Shadow IT Strategy Series sharing ideas, methods, and strategies to help CEOs, CIOs and most importantly users, to find greater success with Shadow IT!

Shadow IT has gotten a bad rap. Over the last several years mainstream IT leaders and minions alike, have decried Shadow IT as a blight upon the IT world to be purged from the body of the corporation like some fatal viral infection. For those unfamiliar with the evil and dark voodoo of Shadow IT, here’s how Wikipedia defines it:
ShadowIT is a term often used to describe information-technology systems and solutions built and used inside organizations without explicit organizational approval. It is also used, along with the term “Stealth IT", to describe solutions specified and deployed by departments other than the IT department.

.In my early corporate days at HBC we called these projects skunkworks and we truly got some amazing things accomplished with no budget assigned to support and I even have the letter to prove it! But somehow over the years through the growth of an IT culture of control, Shadow IT has now become something to root out and extinguish like a small brush fire under the shadow of the IT castle walls. Well, I say it’s time to bring Shadow IT back into the light and here’s why!

Improve Relationships – When behavior in organizations turns to rebellion, and users resort to buying new systems and services using their corporate cards, there’s usually a reason. Current budgeting, decision, and procurement processes are slow to the point of being broken and cannot keep up with the need for new types of systems in a variety of areas. Reactions simply to fight this phenomenon will only further fray fractured relationships. Better to see this as your chance to more closely bond with your business users harnessing their initiative to drive innovation.

 Innovation Driver – Having worked inside billion dollar corporations and witnessed first hand the inertia of bureaucracy crushing the life out of rapid innovation, perhaps Shadow IT can become an innovation facilitator. An initiative is needed to kick start innovation and if users feel strongly enough about needed IT system to go out and buy it there’s true motivation and initiative. So by developing your own Shadow IT strategy, you can then more effectively work with users to tap into this wellspring of innovation.

Cloud Migration – As the future of IT is in the cloud, the sooner you can overcome doubts, fears and negative perceptions of migrating to the cloud the better. As by their very nature, most if not all Shadow IT implementations are cloud-based, by developing a program strategy for how best to roll out Shadow IT projects you can effectively frame positive perceptions and also successfully facilitate the process of cloud migration.

Safe Shadow IT – Just like there are recommendations for industrial safety to prevent accidents when it comes to Shadow IT there’s definitely a set of prerequisites and steps which can be put in place to help users avoid pitfalls and maintain systems integrity. Safeguarding Your Success with Shadow IT can be done through taking some initial review steps on key factors as well as bringing in verified partners to assist users in configuration, training, and rollout of their Shadow IT projects. Look out for upcoming Shadow IT strategy posts for the CEO, CIO, and of course users, as we try and do what we can to further fuel innovation by bringing Shadow IT out of the shadows and back into the light!

 

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