IT Best PracticesIT Governance

Why Shadow IT Is Not Bad for Your Business Today

Shadow IT has been negatively known to put a business at increased risk of data breaches and financial liabilities. This has urged businesses to use better data security governance to sanction business unit IT digital services. However, just as business leaders don’t only do business, technology leaders shouldn’t only control technology. Shadow IT is not a bad thing for a business if you don’t cross the line. Don Tennant, in writing for IT Business Edge, says that, despite all the negative headlines associated with the shadow IT phenomenon, it really isn’t a problem for many CIOs–as long as the right relationships are in place.

Turn the Bad into the Good

One positive thing about shadow IT is that it brings people together to work toward mutual business goals. How? In traditional businesses, IT leaders do IT stuff, and business leaders look at reports and determine the right strategies for the company as a whole. If they need something to be re-coded, they will send a request to their IT department. This is not a bad thing; it’s actually a proper process, but given the fact that Millennials are far more tech-savvy and highly enabled nowadays, they don’t see reasons why they cannot give a hand into the process if it’s within their capability.

With that being said, technology leaders today need to be business knowledgeable, and business leaders need to have technology capability, as well, to cooperate, understand, and appreciate the work of each other. It may not be wise for businesses to try and stop shadow IT, as that may discourage technology capability in various business units and disrupt data security governance. However, business leaders should also put a limitation to how much shadow IT is acceptable and beneficial for the partnership. Tennant quotes a CIO’s view on this:

So when I think about the customer journey — what our members experience, and all of their interactions with HCSC — we need to be mindful of that in a very holistic way. We can’t introduce tangent interactions out of context there. So one of my lines in the sand is, we can build this, but let’s understand it in the context of the journey. And then on the other end of the spectrum, we have established a digital enablement layer, which is basically an API layer, that sits on top of our back-end systems. That lets us develop data security governance at digital speed, rather than at the speed of the back-end systems. When we’re accessing the data, we drive that through the digital enablement layer.

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