Nowadays everyone admits that traditional corporate IT is not agile enough to react to the users’ demands and to provide all the expected services. Hence users try to find solutions by themselves and often by using their own services without any CIO approval. This phenomenon is called “Shadow IT”.
Shadow IT is not new. It all began with users’ specific developments (for example based on Excel, Access or a RAD solution). But now, with the rise of the cloud, it’s simpler than ever… there is nothing to install, you just have to choose among all the services offered by the providers.
Just like BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”), there’s a growing demand for BYOS: “Bring Your Own Services”. It’s a major step in the ongoing consumerization of IT.
Where does this trend come from?
- Users are no longer ignorant about technology, especially the “Y generation” (see http://labs.sogeti.com/generational-profiles/ )
- Cloud services are more and more capable for business usage
- These services are mobile, social and well known by everyone (kind of de facto standards)
Are you a Shadow IT user?
- Have you ever forwarded a professional email to your personal email account (Gmail or other) in order to read it later because your company doesn’t provide you a corporate device?
- Have you ever exchanged corporate big files with DropBox because your company’s IT is not able to transfer such big files?
- Have you ever used Doodle to organize a meeting with attendees from different companies?
- Have you ever created a community on Google+ for ideas sharing?
If you’ve done any of these things, you’re participating in Shadow IT!
Here are a few common examples:
- Personal web mail (of course)
- File storage/sharing ( DropBox, GoogleDrive, Hightail, … )
- Social network (LinkedIN, Viadeo, Google+, … )
- Micro Blogging (Twitter, … )
- Project and organization ( Trello, Murally, Doodle, … )
- Web site (Google Site, … )
- Services for developers (GitHub, Assembla, Codenvy, CloudBees, … )
- Publishing ( paper.ly, Pinterest, Scoop.it)
- Bookmarks and notes (EverNote, )
- Communication (Skype, …)
- And many more specialized services …
What’s the point of fighting against shadows?
CIOs are aware of Shadow IT, they just can’t stop it! The trend to consumerization is very much connected to the business needs and the users’ culture. It’s unstoppable! So why not just embrace the cloud and try to work efficiently with its services?
Use it. But use it wisely taking into account the implications in terms of security, data retention, integration, cost standardization, legal aspect, support, maintenance, etc. These are elements I will develop in my next post. To be continued…