Let's talk about Shadow IT. It's a phrase those of us in the IT Industry have been throwing around for over four years as a way to blame users for implementing their own technology to solve real business problems. The problem isn't that those folks didn't know the rules; they didn't see IT as a team there to help them accomplish their business goals. They saw IT as a team there to enforce controls and squeeze every penny they can out of IT budgets and replace their keyboard when it fails. We aren't keeping up. We owe the businesses we work for better.
The future of IT Teams means learning that we can't be subject-matter experts in all areas of the business. We need to have open and honest dialogue with the various stakeholders in the company, and we need to take the insight we learn from that dialogue, along with our perspective and big-picture thinking to build a cohesive vision about where the business is going and what technology can not only support that, but that can be a catalyst or differentiator.
That means IT teams will need to venture outside of their comfort zone and work with products, services and systems they aren't familiar with, possibly in a subject area they have no knowledge of. We also have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to solutions to problems. For every use-case there are dozens or hundreds of services that may meet our initial requirements. We need to take the time to understand the user's needs, take their input on possible solutions and align that with our long-term plans and vision to see if it's something that's already included in a bigger initiative (or something that should be added to that), if it's something already covered by our current solution stack, or if it's something we truly do need to add as a point solution.
But, we can no longer hold back the organizations we support. That's a sure fire way to be left behind.
CSO Online: Shadow IT - It's Not What You Think
CIO: 7 Ways to Embrace Shadow IT and Win
5 Shadow IT Statistics to Make You Reconsider Your Life
Cisco: What Is Shadow IT?