The term "shadow IT" refers to the adoption and use of technology without the formal approval or knowledge of the central IT organization. This is becoming ubiquitous throughout organizations. Today, information technology is pervasive, easy to use, simple to access, and inexpensive. For many business units, it is simply faster to purchase and implement solutions directly themselves.
With the do-it-yourself movement, there are risks. Although not malicious, shadow IT can expose the company to security and data breaches, integration issues, and cost redundancies. Yet in this new world of easy access and openness, IT is quickly seeing its role revolutionized.
Become an Expert in your Industry
The IT team already has extraordinary technical expertise. That may not be enough. Says CIO.com, IT professionals must understand the business in which they work; reading everything they can and talking to industry specialists outside IT. IT really must be an expert in its own industry. IT teams in a manufacturing company, for example, should be familiar with industry trends in information and automation systems such as programmable controls, robotic systems, supervisory controls, data acquisition, and information management systems. This expertise enables the IT team to connect outside their own department with their business peers.
Be a Trusted Advisor
Armed with industry expertise and proficiency in “business-speak,” IT is in a powerful position. The convergence of IT and industry expertise allows IT to really solve problems and be the "go-to" group, instead of the "work-around" group. Another suggestion is to share your budget. Even though an idea may originate in a business group, only IT has the expertise to understand how a new technology project can integrate best into the enterprise technology ecosystem. IT can make a good experience great by helping to fund, enable, possibly redirect, and regain oversight of a shadow IT project.
Be an On-Site Partner & Problem Solver
One further step: be physically present. A growing trend is the physical integration of IT professionals into workgroups. Here, IT can “see and feel” the front-line problems of organizations. IT is in a much better position to understand how the company works and how to improve it, whether it is helping customer service instantly access information needed to remedy a situation, or helping supply chain management coordinate vendors, inventory, and schedules. IT can make meaningful changes and have a real impact on the bottom line. Shadow IT projects do have their upsides, but what happens when there is a problem? Great organizations rely on the expertise and responsiveness of their IT teams, and here IT can shine.