There’s No Such Thing as Shadow IT

In a world that is becoming entirely driven by technology and transformed by digital endeavors, it seems only logical to have the CIO as the master of all technological decisions. But with all of the shadow IT floating around, should the role of CIO really be “gatekeeper”? In an article for CIO UK, Ian Cox proposes that the CIO should become more of a technology broker.

Lengthening the Leash

Shadow IT is a difficult thing to measure, even within each individual organization. However, one thing that is very evident is that the technology budgets for departments outside of IT are increasing. The idea of shadow IT is not new, and in fact ever since the beginning of the IT department there has been technology activities occurring without IT knowledge. According to Cox, “More often that not, however, this was done with good intentions and was usually borne out of a need that was not being met by the central IT function.”

Previously, if there was a need for a new database, or a new, better database was discovered, the CIO was the “gatekeeper” in deciding whether or not to integrate it into the organization. The CIO could decide to reject the request because of cost or even because of the operating system. Other departments could not get around this fact because the CIO held all of the technology control and power to order new systems.

In recent years, shadow IT has become an entirely new beast. With the popularity of mobile and cloud technologies, non-IT departments can easily gain access to whatever systems they like. This instantaneous gratification by other departments is entirely unknown to IT.

Technology is becoming the heart of what organizations do, which means that shadow IT is going to be a reality. CIOs are finally starting to accept this. Cox proposes a five-stage process that the average CIO undergoes when handling shadow IT:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Acceptance
  4. Learning
  5. Embracing and encouraging

Ultimately, Cox proposes that CIOs should be moving towards embracing and encouraging other people to be involved in technology decisions. CIOs should focus on influencing intelligent technology decisions, rather than trying to control everything.

You can read the original article here:

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