The Dangers that Lurk Behind Shadow IT: Page 2

While IT managers may worry about what's going on in the IT department, when you move that work outside of the building, it's enough to give most managers fits. Our Datamation columnist looks at what's lurking behind Shadow IT.
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What Lurks in the Shadows

It is naive to think that an official edict can stop Shadow IT work.

As soon as budgets are cut or resources constrained forcing executives to look at in-house IT alternatives, then the environment is fertile for Shadow IT groups to appear.

To address this, what is needed is a close relationship with the business units. IT must sit down with them and spend the time to learn about their troubles and what direction they want to take the business in. Addressing pain gets you in the door and helping them with strategic direction keeps you there.

The intent is to use this information to develop IT plans, budgets and resourcing strategies necessary to achieve these goals. This alignment is essential for senior management to understand how monies invested in IT relate to the financial performance of the organization. However, don't stop with the planning. Be sure to regularly communicate with the business owners about what is going on, as well as communicating achievements, risks and opportunities to senior management.

The existence of Shadow IT within an organization is symptomatic of a lack of alignment between business units and IT and, possibly, even senior management and IT. Shadow IT is, at best, a shortsighted strategy that may work well for a given business unit, but be detrimental for the organization overall.

It is vital that IT continuously work with the business units and senior management to ensure that the formal IT team is capable of supporting business requirements and that there be clear understanding of the risks associated with bypassing the formal IT organization. While the phrase ''Align IT with business'' may well be almost to the point of overuse and clichi in the management literature realm, the concepts that underlie it are timeless and IT must ensure that alignment exists.

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