Shadow IT introduces risk into the enterprise. Technology decisions made in department silos do not take enterprise architecture, security, and comprehensive business intelligence into account and hinder digital transformation efforts. Importantly, shadow IT can be indicative of the overall perception of IT. In many cases, departments take action on solutions because the perception is that it is easier to do so than it is to engage IT.
IT organization’s response to this challenge has been to implement broad initiatives like Bi-Modal IT or Agile, implementations of which are time-consuming and frequently fail to address underlying problems. CIOs can improve the perception of IT by focusing on the following things.
1. Stabilizing Enterprise Systems. The company’s perception of IT starts with applications and infrastructure. Perception of IT is low when system downtime is high. Resolving application and infrastructure performance issues is critical to establishing a positive perception.
2. Strengthening Business Partnerships. Beyond quarterly strategy meetings and budget sessions which take place at the senior levels of the organization, a collaborative mindset should exist throughout all levels of the organization. IT team members who take a consultative and partnership approach to problem-solving have the ability to uncover business challenges that need to be addressed, or that are already being addressed independently of IT.
3. Executing Projects Flawlessly. Perception of IT is shaped by how well the organization can execute on projects. Projects that fulfill business requirements, are transparent, on-time, and within budget instill confidence that IT can deliver.
4. Demonstrating an Ability to Innovate. IT can be innovative and improve responsiveness without implementing Agile. In fact, wholesale changes to methodologies tend to distract the organization that is already challenged to prove that it can innovate. Responsiveness starts before project intake and can be improved incrementally. Innovation starts with the project portfolio, which represents the organization's future state.
One of the challenges still facing IT organizations today is shadow IT efforts which can put the organization at risk from an architecture, security and business intelligence standpoint. Shadow IT exists in part because organizations deem barriers to implementation to be lower than engaging their IT departments. The increase in popularity of Bi-modal IT and Agile methodology implementations represent an IT response to this challenge. However, CIOs can improve the perception of their department today by focusing on and incrementally improving on the above four items.
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