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The fall and rise of shadow IT

Years ago, as far back as the mid-1980s if memory serves, IT managers were worried about a phenomenon they called “shadow IT.” The term refers to cases when business managers implement their own departmental IT solutions in response to poor support from their internal IT departments. The phenomenon raised alarms in the minds of IT management. They were losing “control.” Others were treading on “their” territory. Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!

I was reminded of this when I saw an announcement of an upcoming webcast entitled, “What’s a CIO to do About the Rise of Shadow IT?” This suggests that many IT managers still don’t get it. So-called “shadow” IT is not a “problem.” It is not an intrusion on anyone’s sacred territory. It is an indicator that something about the status quo is causing people’s needs to go unmet.

The question should not be, “How dare they try to take over our territory?” The question should be, “What are people trying to tell us about their needs?”

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