Shadow IT

We've seen 'Shadow IT' brought out into the open.

So what exactly is it?

From my perspective, the business users go out and hire their own people, typically contractors, to write some application which IT was not able to deliver.

Sometimes those shadow IT contractors build applications in languages not suppored by the IT infrastructure.

And they are not limited to the change management processes.

Or naming conventions.  Or documentation rules if any.

And sometimes the rougue contractors leave and IT is left to support the applications.

And to their surprise, they've just inherited a pile of interconnected crap held together by duck tape.

Other times, the business will have one of their own people maintain their printers, add users, hardware, software, a sub-IT department.

And other times I've seen these rogue developers create intricate interconnected Access applications that utilize corporate data and then add more data to their micro databases.  Then you'll be in a meeting and someone whips out a report, and nobody knows the source of the data.

Then you do some digging and find out there's 20 interconnected Access databases that are running entire deparmtments, under the radar, with little or no support.

And it would take years to convert to real packages.

And sometimes these apps are suppored by a lone wolf who has built his job security into this mess and there's no way to get rid of them.  Because only they know how it works and if you fire them and something goes wrong, disaster.

So everyone talks of Shadow IT as a good thing, I say take with grain of salt.

The business can really put you into some hot water if you're not careful.

And there you have it!


Jonathan Sapir said...

There is no stopping Shadow IT. It is exploding with changing demographics in the workplace and the enabling power of cloud computing. It is up to IT to empower these citizen developers in a way that allows IT to provide some control.

Lots more on this at unleashforce.com.

Jonathan Bloom said...

Good poin Jonathan, Shadow IT will always be with us. However, "authorizied" vs. "unauthorized" is the preferred method. From Business Intelligence perspective, IT should provide "sandbox" for end users to "Self Serve". What I'm againt are the rouge developers that hijack processes to ensure job security, going outside the proposed IT standards of software and best practices.

I wrote a blog describing the shift in Customer's with an anology of Limos, Taxis and Cars --> http://www.bloomconsultingbi.com/2012/05/limos-taxis-and-cars.html

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