Shadow IT is a trend that is gaining ground rather than disappearing. Some CIOs see it as a threat to the security of the enterprise, others see it as competitive to their authority. Still others are happy to see department level involvement in developing solutions. Here are three diverse perspectives on how shadow IT is finding inroads in the enterprise.
JJ Thompson, managing director and CEO of Rook Security, finds the positive side of shadow IT when he says, "The best thing about the direct accessibility and instant gratification of Shadow IT for business unit teams is that it forces traditional IT to raise the bar - or lose relevance. CIOs need to take better care of your internal customers than a third party does. Internal customers move to the cloud and bypass internal controls because they will do whatever it takes to provide fanatical customer support and turn time to their customers. So do better. As Gallup stated, "first break all the rules", and make sure you provide the best, most adaptive, dynamic, and well secured environment that your customers would never dream of leaving."
Kent Christensen, practice director for cloud and virtual data centers at Datalink offers caution to enterprise departments that see shadow IT as the answer to all their IT problems. He says; "I have witnessed this rise of shadow IT. It comes from pressure to develop apps fast and a myth that the cloud is a Swiss Army knife suited for every application. In reality, not all apps and related data should go on the public cloud. Preventing this abuse of customer data and risk to corporate security requires not merely a change in thinking, but rather the transformation of IT into a true service provider that uses the cloud with the precision of a scalpel."
Jordhy Ledesma, CEO for Information Providers, admonishes CIOs asking them to embrace shadow IT. "The IT department has been holding us back for a while. Contracting ready to use cloud services can save both time and money and let CEOs focus on their companies core competencies. CIOs should be open to adopting shadow IT services and, provided they meet security and performance guidelines, actively recommend them. I welcome CIOs that focus on the bottom line and not on technology. In this day and age, speed is more important than technical achievement."
This widely diverse set of opinions is only a fraction of the views that are present within any single enterprise. The trick for CIOs dealing with the phenomenon is to listen to all of the benefits and drawbacks of Shadow IT and come up with their own conclusions.
Scott Koegler is the community manager for Enterprising CIO. He practiced IT as a CIO for 15 years. He also has more than 20 years experience as a technology journalist covering topics ranging from software and services through business strategy. He has written white papers and directed and published video interviews.