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cloud computing image“Shadow IT”

refers to IT devices, software and services outside the ownership or control of the company’s IT organisation. In many respects, “DIY IT” should replace the term “Shadow IT" – as it is a much more positive and empowering term. 

Once, it was limited to business users creating their own databases in Access or Excel macros. Now, given the ease in which cloud-based services can be bought using a credit card, a whole range of IT services may exist under the control of different business teams.

Such cloud-based services have made it much easier for non-IT personnel to acquire and create their own solutions. This rapid growth has been driven by the wider consumer technology revolution – where most people have powerful technology capabilities – smartphones, laptops combined with their awareness of the quality and variety of consumer applications in the cloud (e.g. file sharing apps, social media, and collaboration tools). This experience and expectation carry over into their working environment.

In parallel, quality enterprise-class Software as a Service (SaaS) applications have become established and well known.  These, maturing SaaS applications are capable of providing core business functions across the enterprise. As a result for many smaller organisations there is no need to have in-house IT capability – providing the experience and maturity in managing third-party services and suppliers can be managed elsewhere in the organisation.

So is there a problem?

Where adoption of these “DIY” services happens within business-team silos, without effective planning or appropriate business governance, a number of issues may arise (in time if not immediately). Examples include significant security risks, higher costs, and greater, rather than less operational inefficiencies.  A team may have had the best intention to use these applications to get work done or to increase collaboration and productivity, but what is often not be realised are potential wider organisational implications.

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