Five Ways to Turn Rogue IT Projects to Your Favor

Five Ways to Turn Rogue IT Projects to Your Favor

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December 18, 2013
Tim Elkins CIO

by Tim Elkins, Chief Information Officer, PrimeLending

I’ve seen some new research with CIOs where 41 percent report that stealth IT projects occur fairly frequently. That doesn’t surprise me at all. So what should a CIO do when they stumble across a rogue IT effort undertaken by one of the businesses?

  1. Don’t freak out. The first thing I try to do is stay calm, because we all know rogue IT happens. What I’ve come to see is that no one is pursuing his or her own technology project for a bad reason. They’re trying to solve a business problem almost every time.
  2. If a solution already exists, connect them with it. When I talk to the team behind the project I say, “What are you trying to solve that we can’t solve with what we’re delivering today?” The funny thing is, often we can solve their problem with technology we already have but they weren’t aware of.
  3. Shut down anything non-compliant. We have a lot of regulation in the financial services space, so we have to handle any non-compliant activity from a Corporate perspective. If the IT project is not compliant, we shut it down. But even if it’s not compliant, we share the details with Marketing or Compliance. We tell them what they’re doing and why they’re trying to do it. And we always ask, “What can we do to accommodate it?”
  4. Work with the team, not against them. We’re a sales organization. Half our employees are salespeople. Sometimes “rogue IT” is simply a group that has a level of access they shouldn’t or a Salesforce.com platform they’re working on. Usually I find that they are trying to do something innovative and trying to beat their competitors, so I try to work with them as a partner.
  5. If they’re solving a new problem, run with it. I’ve seen many cases where a rogue IT effort is hitting on something others in our company would use or need. In our case that’s common because a lot of where I find rogue IT is with our sales folks. So we’ve actually had several rogue IT efforts become real projects. They may in fact be solving a problem that could give us a leg up.


Tim Elkins is EVP and CIO of PrimeLending. Tim joined Primelending in 2008 and serves today as EVP and Chief Information Officer. He is responsible for information security, IT operations, and technology initiatives.  Tim has more than 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry and is chair of the Residential Technology Forum (RESTECH) for the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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