CIOs, Love your Shadow IT

It used to be that CIOs and IT used to hate and fear Shadow IT.  It wasn’t long time ago they rushed to HR to get employees fired for using unapproved tools. How fast times have changed, eh?.

Its about time that you change your views as well.
Consider the following:

1. Your IT staff may be outdated when it comes to new technology than your employees.
2. Whether you like it or not, your employees are social beings and expect to work outside the corporate network.
3. There are better solutions out there than what you had provisioned for your employees.
4. Your business side is thinking you suck at your job and is ineffective in delivering value.
You are fighting a losing battle. Instead of fighting Shadow IT, why not embrace it. Think of it this way:
1. Shadow IT is innovation
You are expanding your evaluation team to a larger pool of employees. Most innovations results because an employee outside of IT took initiative. For example, back in late 2000, employees used to use Yahoo messenger to IM each other – this was shadow IT and in someways killed your multi-million dollar Intranet projects. Company was better for it, even though your budgets took a hit.
2. Shadow IT is empowerment
Empowered employees are motivated employees. By allowing them to use the best technology available out there, you are empowering them to be productive. Case in point – employees start getting more collaborative by using something like Yammer. There is no need for IT to approve its usage. IT needs to get out of the equation here and stop being a bottleneck. Oh, you want employees to use Lotus Notes instead? Did we had this discussion about how you and your IT team are outdated?.
3. Shadow IT is productivity
Alright, lets get this out of the way. VPN is stupid, and honestly it should be taken to a backroom and shot in the head point blank.  Your employees should not use VPN to use any services you provide. “Requires VPN” is a sign of IT impotence. Get over it. Use Cloud services, and since you can’t get over the fear of fictitious security monsters in the cloud, let your employees sign up. If sales guys didn’t sign up for SFDC back in the early 2000s, you would still be implementing multi million dollar Siebel systems and would be seriously over budget.  In someways, those clueless sales guys that signed up for SFDC saved your bacon.
There are many more reasons to love Shadow IT – I just gave few points to give you gist of whats the reality there. Disagree? Comment below or tweet away. ( Oh, wait, you don’t allow tweeting because it can’t be on your corporate network ).
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