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Competing with Shadow IT

By Daryl Bishop

Daryl Bishop-cropOver the last few years, business units have increasingly been bypassing IT and ordering services directly from external service providers (e.g., SaaS applications and cloud IaaS services). IT has been largely oblivious to this threat, believing that the business will continue to rely on IT for technology services.

We’re now seeing the next stage of shadow IT with business openly bypassing IT, in fact the business model for some external providers is now purposely built around dealing direct with the business rather than IT.

The main reason is that IT is seen by the business as being a roadblock to the agility it requires to deliver products to market quickly.

SHADOW IT 1

IT needs to reinvent itself and demonstrate how it can be a competitive differentiator for the business. Let’s look at some of the areas where IT has a natural advantage over shadow IT:

  • You understand your business
    The bottom line is that the IT department intimately understands the business and an external service does not. Use this knowledge to IT’s advantage, aligning and working closely with your business.
  • IT is not just a cost center
    Following on from the first point, elevate your people to work with the business, demonstrating how technology can be used to benefit the revenue generating side of the business.
  • Become a trusted broker of services
    By being a trusted broker of IT services, IT can both centrally manage the costs of external providers and provide internal services when required.
  • Keep your business safe
    External service providers understand risk in the context of the services they provide; however, they cannot understand the nuances of risk particular to your business. Capitalize on this “home field” advantage.

SHADOW IT 2

As shown in the diagram above, embrace new IT. Rather than being threatened by shadow IT, embrace it and use it as a catalyst to provide a superior level of service to your business. You’re bristling with capability, you just need to engage and demonstrate the ways you can help business thrive.

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Daryl Bishop is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

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