Out of the Shadows: A Wake-Up Call for IT Departments
In a recent report, Vanson Bourne discussed the impact of shadow IT – the commissioning and sourcing of core IT products and services by departments other than IT. It has been used across organisations for some time, but it is only now that IT decision makers are beginning to fully appreciate the extent of this practice.
IT departments must now adapt if they want to retain some elements of control over the way technology is utilised within their organisations.
They surveyed 200 IT decision makers (ITDMs) and 200 business decision makers (BDMs) in organisations with more than 1,000 employees, in both the UK and the US, to find out more about shadow IT.
Emerging from the Shadows
It is clear from the research that shadow IT is not in its infancy. More than a quarter of ITDMs admit that departments in their organisation are engaging in shadow IT.
More than half of respondents believe that the prevalence of shadow IT is only going to increase in coming years.
The products and services being commissioned through shadow IT include application software, IT Security and application development.
Top Down or Bottom Up?
Shadow IT is often the well-planned implementation of specific solutions and it is mainly being managed from the top down. 76% of BDMs whose departments are engaging in this practice say that heads of department or other senior members of staff are leading the way when it comes to shadow IT.
With senior members of staff steering it, it is not going to be easy for ITDMs to question – or indeed tackle – the engagement with shadow IT.
What You Want Isn’t Always What you Need
Almost 60% of BDMs in departments that utilise shadow IT say that they do it because it is quicker, while 41% believe they know their needs better than the IT department and so get what they really want when they source it themselves.
But departments do not always see the bigger picture that ITDMs do, and sourcing technologies outside of the internal IT department could have a detrimental effect on the whole organisational digital estate.
The biggest risk of shadow IT is that IT departments are losing control of the products and services used across their organisations.
As well as a potential duplication of capability between departments and a loss of economies of scale, shadow IT also represents a fundamental shift in power between IT departments and the rest of the organisation.
The full report from Vanson Bourne can be seen here . Should you be interested in discussing this research please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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