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Embracing shadow IT: Provide IT expertise to the business

While centralized IT departments are keen to minimize the use of shadow IT technologies, in some scenarios -- such as strategic uses of critical business applications that run in the cloud -- trying to convince lines of business to eliminate those applications is a fruitless pursuit. In those cases, it's wise to make the best of things and provide IT expertise to help the business with its use of technology. So says Derek Lonsdale, IT transformation leader and Lean expert for PA Consulting, in this webcast presentation. And, he says, there are four main ways in which centralized IT can do this.

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of the fourth of five parts of Lonsdale's webcast presentation on coping with and accepting shadow IT.

Derek LonsdaleDerek Lonsdale

Derek Lonsdale: We want to minimize renegade IT. We know it's going to be there, but if we can make IT better, then there's going to be less and less [renegade IT]. If there's some strategic renegade IT that's going on with a [implementation] or something similar, what can we do in IT to help the business with that relationship? So we have sourcing expertise. We have relationships with vendors. We have subject matter expertise and supply contracts and methods for managing value out of sourcing contracts. We know how to document contract milestones and make sure that our vendors or suppliers are sharing knowledge with us. So let's share that with the business. Ideally we will have been involved at the outset of the business discussion so that we can take advantage of our existing relationships with vendors.

See the rest of this webcast presentation on shadow technology

Part 1: What brought us to renegade IT

Part 2: Earn the right to deliver services

Part 3: Understanding the business better

Part 5: Governance and supporting services

And is a great example. How do we help the whole organization use that service? If we understand the business product, we should be able to join the dots with other IT services to provide wider access to the data. And this all starts with our enterprise architecture, so if we design in a conceptual solution architecture and logical data models, so that we know all of the customers of the data being generated, we know that some of this data will be used by organizations outside of sales, but why can't we help to design the data so that we can provide wider access to the rest of the organization? Make sure everybody benefits from using this service.

I know in some of my discussions with clients we have the odd business desktop IT guys, and I think this is less popular with IT because it's more people that are being used to supplement IT. But the firms that I've worked with that do this well treat those renegade desktop IT guys as power users. So they embrace their existence, they get them involved in IT meetings and communication, basically treat them as part of the wider team, whilst locking down access as appropriate. We have IT policies. Security is one of those policies. PA Consulting has a really strict lockdown on our laptops, which is part of our policy. So how can you lock down access as appropriate when you have some of the business desktop IT guys?

And then we talk about [whether IT policies] can … drive the right behaviors. And this came from Ray Noonan, this CEO of Cogent [Ltd. of New Zealand]. He says we really need to make sure that the IT policy is right, so let's improve the business result and if the IT policy is not doing that, how can we change the policy? Let's make sure that we're doing the right thing and not just making things harder for the business.

Questions about this webcast presentation on embracing shadow IT and providing IT expertise to lines of business? Email [email protected].

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