Shadow IT: Insurrection or Innovation?

Shadow IT: Insurrection or Innovation?

Is Shadow IT really something scary, or just the unknown and the uncontrolled? Are IT leaders reluctant to support new, and potentially better, systems that they neither designed nor approved?

Shadow IT is a term typically used to describe IT solutions built and used inside organizations without the IT department’s explicit approval, giving it a largely negative connotation.

Regardless of its potential negative perceptions, Shadow IT has certainly become an elephant in the room for many corporations. In fact, a recent Gartner briefing, “The Use of Information and Analytics to Bridge a New Digital Ecosystem”, noted the fact that 100% of organizations interviewed deal with Shadow IT as more and more data is being diverted elsewhere. Whether it’s Dropbox, Google Docs, Gmail, Whatsapp or any of the other cloud-based tools on the market, it seems that change is in the air and that it’s time for firms to evolve and make the necessary changes to support the new IT ecosystem.

Making the Most of Shadow IT

In our experience, corporate information technology culture often needs to be pushed to the next level. Corporate citizens choose to bypass the current IT infrastructure and enter the world of the “shadows” specifically because those shadow services are so much easier to use.

While Knowmail could be looked at as a Shadow IT service, it’s important to understand how we work to balance the company’s and the employee’s needs. We’ve worked hard to develop a corporate application that is intuitive, easy to use, and requires almost no setup. Our system adeptly combines a consumer-level user experience with the highest corporate security standards and works within the standard corporate email client, Microsoft Outlook.

IT innovators need to understand the core value of shadow solutions and find the right alternative that can guarantee both employee and corporate interests. IT departments should create an ecosystem that is friendly to employee innovation and new ideas/external solutions. By creating this environment, IT can get the exposure it needs to properly vet external solutions while employees can feel secure that their innovative ideas are being taken and evaluated seriously.

By dynamically evolving for the future, IT departments can rest assured corporate regulations will be maintained, data will be secure, and that employees will remain relevant as they begin to introduce consumer grade systems and platforms. It’s time for IT to make the transition as external vendors step into the market and create high quality, high value solutions that can ultimately best serve corporate needs.

Special thanks to Frank Buytendijk and Ian Bertram for the inspiration of this post.

Oded Avital
Oded Avital

Oded Avital is Knowmail's co-founder and COO with over 20 years experience in sales, Biz Dev, product and operation management in corporate and startups.

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