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By Jon Evans
In the article Shadow IT: Friend or Foe, I examined the light and shade of this topical issue. Like a number of experts on the matter, I concluded that while Shadow IT can be an extremely destructive force, it can also move your organisation forward into the age of digital transformation.
So what next? We tackle the question, how do we best harness Shadow IT?
As we know, Shadow IT arises most often because IT Departments are viewed as a barricade to enabling technology and existing IT infrastructure cannot support the business’s needs. The core ingredient in solving the Shadow IT puzzle is building a robust and scalable data platform. Once in place, this platform will future proof your business by providing a strong foundation on which to build systems and applications.
Enablis’ 4 point approach covers the fundamentals of harnessing Shadow IT objectives to support business priorities and boost performance.
Run workshops with the “rogue” company departments. During the course of these workshops understand the cause of this behaviour. What business issue does the unauthorised application address? What problem does it solve?
It is advantageous to extend workshops to complying departments. It is important to question all departments on the technology capabilities they looking for and what the key inefficiencies or productivity barriers in their department are. By understanding these key issues, you can better understand business needs and gaps in the company’s IT infrastructure.
Consolidate feedback from departments and determine those requirements that will generate the greatest productivity wins. This process is best executed with involvement and engagement of C-Level executives across the business. A project steering committee comprising of IT decision makers and key stakeholders in the organisation is a good way to ensure that the project gets the business support it needs to be executed successfully.
In order to implement process improvement, the IT department will need to first understand whether their current infrastructure can support business requirements.This is where engaging a technology expert will help. Often organisations will consult their incumbent provider(s). However, it is important to consider that good quality IT providers will proactively undertake this process. If existing providers have been invisible in the process so far, it may be a good idea to consult an independent IT expert.
Technology experts will review your existing technology in light of business needs and implement a solution to improving the efficiency of existing systems by removing duplication and wastage, consolidating resources and replacing ageing or obsolete assets.
To effectively harness Shadow IT, organisations will need to move from Transition to Transformation fairly quickly. In this stage, organisations will often implement entirely new IT infrastructure and systems including a solid data network, communications systems including voice, cloud connectivity, internet and WiFi. It is through the implementation of new technology and systems that smarter applications and devices can be activated. This will drive productivity gains and other operational benefits by better enabling departments and employees.