Call it shadow IT or rogue IT, the increasing use of unsanctioned cloud apps by employees is a symptom, not an illness. It happens primarily because employees want something that their IT department isn’t providing. Plain and simple.
In a recent article published on IT Business Net, author Sarah Lahav argues that IT needs to realize that its end users (employees) are customers, and then seek to fulfill customer needs before they take matters in their own hands. By looking at shadow IT as a symptom of a larger problem, the IT department can identify huge opportunities to satisfy employees and add value to their business.
Here’s a 3-step process to use shadow IT as an opportunity for IT to reposition itself as a value-add towards other departments:
1. Understand what employees are getting that you’re not providing
Rather than shutting down unapproved systems or apps, take a different approach. Watch. Listen. Figure out why employees are circumventing sanctioned systems. Is it because a department thinks IT will be too slow to deliver the solution they need? Or because a team needs to collaborate and share files with external partners but can’t with current systems? Or maybe it’s a team of mobile workers who needs a reliable way to access corporate content?
Talk to line of business (LOB) managers and employees and let them know that you’re there to support them and ensure that they get the most out of their systems.
2. Over deliver
In addition to reviewing SLA’s, compliance issues and data security considerations, go a few steps further to exceed your customers’ expectations. Demonstrate to end users that you can provide much higher value technology than they can on their own. For example, if the shadow implementation was Salesforce, get the integrations and plugins that the sales team wants. Consult them during the process and train departments to get the most out of the system.
Or, if the marketing team started using Dropbox to distribute brochures to field sales instead of SharePoint because it’s faster and easier, give them a mobility app for SharePoint and bring them back into the corporate fold with more functionality than they ever thought possible.
3. Anticipate business needs before others
Designate a Business Relationship Manager (BRM) whose job will be to liaise with departments to better understand their evolving needs. This role can be extremely useful to help IT find and implement applications that departments need before they even know they need them. The BRM can develop a strategic understanding of what will make each department more productive, efficient and profitable.
The idea behind this customer-centric approach is that if IT is proactive at driving the business and providing value to its customers, employees will seek out IT for help and guidance. Change takes time but shadow IT can be used as an opportunity for IT rather than a threat to extinguish.
Want to find out about a SharePoint mobility solution that your internal customers will love? Read more here.
Source: IT Business Net, June 2014