The mention of “shadow IT’ will strike a chord
differently with different people based on previous (or current) experiences.
The truth is that Shadow IT exists. The question you need to ask yourself is
how it exists in your organization.
The reason which the term shadow IT gets IT
teams concerned is that they see this as limiting the amount of control over
something that they dominated in the past. How did we lose that control you
might ask? In its simplest form it is can be broken down into a few components.
IT was once the “all knowing” regarding technology, business relied on them as
a trusted advisor in matters as it pertained to technology. There came a point
however where the business community had caught up in the tech skillset and became
more savvy with the way that they conducted business as it pertains to the
technology they were using and didn’t have the same levels of dependencies to
IT that they once needed.
things aside, people want to have the same functionality at work as they do at
home. They are comfortable in making decisions based on personal research and
are using a wide variety of tools at home so they wonder “why not at work too?”
final straw which ties the first two together is that while our business base
changed, we may not have made parallel advancements. Because of this our once
valued ability to provide service now starts to appear as a roadblock on the
radar for the business. This is a problem for them especially in tight economic
times where your business is looking for any competitive advantage.
So what do we do? Well, to start with we really
need to understand the extent of the shadow IT within the organization and what
that looks like. Once we do that we can better determine what is working and
what may require some assistance. After all we want to ensure our business
interests are protected and security concerns are dealt with if any exist.
It is possible that a business unit bought an
off the shelf application but there may be services that their vendor has also
outsourced, adding layers of shadow to the shadows. In other instances we may
have a formal shadow IT. It is possible that as part of an application
deployment some IT people moved with the project into the business unit as part
of a sustainment team. Technically they are performing IT functions outside of
IT to a degree as well.
At the end of the day we are looking to ensure
that the business achieves its goals. Whether there is or isn’t shadow IT
shouldn’t be the concern. We need to work with the business to ensure that
where IT can we enable the business to achieve its goals.
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Labels: ITIL, ITSM, Service Delivery, shadow IT