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Shadow IT

Managing Shadow IT

Many business units today are purchasing their own technology without any assistance from IT. By the end of the decade, technology spending outside of IT, also known as “Shadow IT,” will become almost 90 percent of total technology spending, according to Gartner.

Today’s employees expect the same level of usability and intuitive design from their office applications that they get from the apps in their personal lives. As individuals become more tech savvy and more innovative mobile, web and cloud technologies become available, Shadow IT will continue to grow within companies.

The Dilemma

Employees are becoming less dependent on IT to purchase work technology solutions because they can do it on their own and it’s much faster. This tends to leave IT out of the loop and unaware of the various technologies being used by employees. As a result, CIOs are grossly underestimating how many cloud apps their employees are really using. This can potentially lead to issues in security and reliability, as well as support.  It also creates the risk of potentially duplicating apps IT has already purchased.

Turning a Problem into a Solution

Although Shadow IT may pose some risks, it may actually help solve some of IT’s problems. CIOs are constantly trying to figure out how to operate under tight budget constraints. Through Shadow IT, they may now have access to extra money through other departments.

It might also take some pressure off of IT departments. It’s difficult for one department to fully understand the technology needs of every single department within a company, especially because needs change so rapidly. Shadow IT puts the users in control and allows each department to find the technologies that best fits their needs. Shadow IT allows companies to eliminate the ‘one size fits all’ mentality. Also, many of the cloud apps on the market come with support, making it one less thing IT has to worry about. However, it is very important to keep in mind that IT team members should still be be looped into the agreement as internal support will need to understand where users should be directed for support.

Shadow IT can and should be viewed as a healthy innovation that can create beneficial opportunities for IT to work with internal business partners and develop newer and more efficient workflows.

Every company, industry and team is unique. In order to find the right software solutions, IT teams must remain diligent and continue to evaluate their company’s Shadow IT for new ways to introduce improved innovations or technologies that will help support their existing internal customers.

How has your company approached the “Shadow IT” phenomenon? Has it affected your workplace technology? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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