Shadow IT – IT devices, software, and services outside the ownership or control of IT – is growing. Whilst there are obvious disadvantages to this, organisations need to view it as a wakeup call from employees who find their IT provisioning too slow and cumbersome to cope with the realities of their working lives.
From BYOD to new software, IT needs to look long and hard as to why this is happening in the first place before coming up with an answer that meets the needs of both the organisation and end-users.
Before looking at how shadow IT should be embraced, it is probably a good idea to examine the problems it brings.
Probably the main issue surrounds software licensing and compliance. Even with strong SAM procedures in place, shadow IT can introduce software that is unlicensed onto corporate devices. This leaves the organisation at risk of audits and fines.
Further problems are caused because normally, new devices and software are thoroughly tested and piloted before being introduced across the organisation. Shadow IT misses this necessary process out completely and so can have a negative impact on existing infrastructure.
Self-service is the way forward
So, having looked at the negative side of shadow IT, it can seem impossible to see any benefits from it. As I said earlier, organisations really need to understand why shadow IT is happening to ensure they react in in the right way.
In the past the IT department was able to lock down the introduction of new hardware and software. Users had neither the know-how nor hardware/software to connect. Now, all this has changed. App stores like iTunes and Google Play enable your employees to browse, purchase, download, and install software with just a few clicks. Similarly, devices like tablets and smartphones can be connected to your corporate network easily and quickly via wireless.
This flexibility is where the answer lies – self-service. By giving your employees the capability to choose and deploy the software and hardware they need to do their jobs (albeit with the necessary checks and signoffs), you will at a stroke remove the root cause of shadow IT whilst regaining control of what is deployed. What’s more by improving the service levels you give your end users you will be raising the profile and reputation of IT across the organisation – a win-win situation.
Self-service corporate app stores deliver the flexibility and ease-of-use that your employees want whilst at the same time providing the necessary controls and checks you need to ensure licence compliance and infrastructure integration.
Russell Fry at Certero
Image source: Shutterstock/Tinxi