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Is the Cloud Casting a Shadow on IT?

Posted By ML Admin, August 09, 2012 at 11:07 AM, in Category: The Innovation Enterprise

Today, technology is woven directly into the corporate fabric. Network infrastructure and enterprise applications allow us to easily share data, run reports, and ultimately make quicker, more accurate business decisions. We’ve become so dependent upon the bits and bytes coursing through the company that it’s amusing to think back 20 years when we sat in front of clunky desktops, delivered files via floppy disk, and thought of the Internet as a mysterious government project.

Now, there is such a comfort level with technology that increasingly we, the users, are taking IT matters into our own hands. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is a perfect example. An iPhone-wielding road warrior will use the device to access corporate data, which then must be managed by the security-conscious IT department.

Then there is the cloud. As the CIO meticulously researches the best way to balance cloud computing with the corporate IT infrastructure, power users are already downloading applications onto their tablets and smartphones.

According to a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, between 15% and 30% of IT spending is occurring within business divisions without involving—or even informing—the IT department. It’s a phenomenon called “Shadow IT,” and it’s becoming increasingly popular within large enterprises where a department will bypass IT and buy its own cloud-based CRM or sales application, for example.

Business users, under pressure to reach new customers and markets, are leveraging the ease of access and availability of the cloud. As a result, they are empowering their departments, but in the long run they may be weakening the overall enterprise operation.

"The data is suddenly not in the organization anymore," says Chris Curran, principal for technology strategy and innovation at PricewaterhouseCoopers, in an interview with Network World . And, according to the article, it becomes complicated when the business manager goes to the IT department asking to integrate the rogue app with on-site enterprise data.

Not only does Shadow IT complicate information management, it also creates concern around the security of data that is no longer managed internally. For the IT department and the CIO in particular, Shadow IT introduces a whole new management headache, similar to the aches and pains BYOD brought into the organization.

What is increasingly clear is that the consumerization of IT is forcing the technology team out from behind the data-center doors. They will have to become an integral part of each and every business division. They will have to support—not scold—department managers for their decision to use cloud-based applications, and encourage them to work hand-in-hand with the IT team, which, in the future, will be offering value-added services.

Approached correctly, Shadow IT does not have to be a dark cloud lingering over the CIO’s head. Rather, it could be an opportunity to transform the IT department into a new kind of service organization that influences top-line growth as much as bottom-line savings.

How are you handling Shadow IT?

Written by ML Admin

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