Embracing Shadow IT

Business decision makers will always want IT services faster and cheaper. Cloud services are becoming more attractive because of the cost accounting shift from CAPEX to OPEX (e.g., predictable spend with less governance) and the transfer of delivery risk to another organization (e.g., internal IT teams struggle to keep pace with the business by adopting methodologies like Lean IT, Agile, and DevOps to accelerate their development, change management, testing, and deployment processes).  2nd Watch found that 61 percent of business units bypass the IT function completely, and according to IDC’s quarterly cloud IT infrastructure tracker, by 2021 off-premise cloud deployments will surpass traditional datacenter deployments for the first time. With this continued adoption of cloud deployment models and offerings, we are seeing more business executives making technology decisions without engaging the IT organizational function. Since business leaders can’t afford to wait to meet their business goals and objectives, IT must find a way to embrace shadow IT going forward, even while improving their own processes, if they are going to remain relevant.

Maybe IT functions should start by acknowledging some of these facts and then look at creating a governance framework that seeks to educate business unit leaders, and provide them with a set of best practices to minimize the risk associated with these types of decisions and allow for some form of standardization.

A set of best practices could include the following:

  • a standard set of contract templates to include MSA, SOW, and SLA templates
  • an IT risk assessment questionnaire for potential vendors to populate
  • an updated IT intake process that seeks to prioritize and align IT resources that may be needed for integration efforts (often overlooked by non-IT leaders)
  • a vendor performance management scorecard outlining points to monitor throughout the ongoing relationship
  • a cloud reference architecture outlining integration methods/protocols, connectivity, access requests, etc…
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